Foraging and Feasting in Virginia’s Northern Neck
Join forager and food writer April Thompson, and chef Iulian Fortu of Arcadia Venture for a one-day workshop in Virginia’s Northern Neck. This small group intensive features hands-on lectures, demonstrations, forays and workshops learning about, working with and tasting wild foods.
- foraging hikes and instruction on private forest land
- wild food processing and preservation workshop
- local farm and forage dinner prepared by instructors to include some special wild food tastings.
Why we love this tour
Get to know the wild foods of Virginia’s Northern Neck with locals and experts. Enjoy the world of foraging while exploring the rural river realm of the Northern Neck, the area between the Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers that has been enjoyed by indigenous peoples, colonists, and other immigrants for its water views, wildlife, and plentiful harvests from land and sea.
- Day 1Saturday, September 24:Meet at A-Ibañez Art Design at 10am. We'll explore the woods on the property in the morning, where we'll dive into key identifying features of some of the most common and sought after edibles of the season and the coming one, including discussion of poisonous lookalikes.
For lunch we'll visit a local winery or cidery.
In the afternoon, we’ll have a wild food processing and preservation workshop and demo to go over some quick, easy ways you can conserve the bounty of your foraging finds and garden harvest, including tincturing, infusions, dehydrating, syrups, etc. You'll take home at least one food item from the workshop, depending on what we find in the woods.
Dinner will be a local farm and forage dinner prepared by the instructors. The meal will feature foraged finds from our time together, accompanied by special wild food tastings. The meal will be prepared in an open kitchen where you can watch the magic and learn some tricks of the trade from the wild food pros.
Packing List for Foraging and Feasting in Virginia’s Northern Neck (recommended)
Weather in Virginia in summer can be hot and steamy. Dress accordingly.
- Reusable water bottles to refill as needed.
- Comfortable footwear for hiking
- Insect repellant
Accommodation is not included in the cost of the weekend, but we can help you find nearby Airbnbs, or campgrounds or hotels a short drive away.
The transportation during this trip will be by passenger van.
About your Hosts, Chefs & Instructors:
April Thompson (foraging instructor and foray leader): April is a Washington, DC-based writer, gardener, foodie, and forager. Working as a freelance writer for more than 20 years, April has covered food, travel, sustainability, gardening, foraging, and other subjects for dozens of publications, including her ongoing column in Natural Awakenings magazine. She has taught workshops on foraging, fighting food waste, and related topics for Knowledge Commons DC, Rooting DC, AirBNB Experiences and other organizations. She is a founding member of the Bruce Monroe Community Garden, a board member of the Mycological Association of Washington, and an alum of the UDC Master Gardener program. She is licensed to sell wild foraged mushrooms in several states via a wild mushroom certification overseen by Mushroom Mountain.
Paige Conner Totaro (host): Paige is a freelance writer focusing on food, culture, and family experiential travel. Her website, All Over the Map, began as a travel journal when she took an 11-month trip around the world with her husband and twin daughters, visiting 28 countries along the way. She now helps others plan great vacations as a travel planner at All Over the Map Travel, and tour organizer at Unquote Travel. Paige grew up exploring the Northern Neck region with her family; Paige, her mother and her sister all now have homes in the region, where Paige has now made her full-time home.
Iulian Fortu (chef for optional group dinner): Iulian is a chef and owner of foraging company Arcadia Venture, with a focus on wild mushrooms and plants of the Mid-Atlantic. Iulian has a degree in Food Business Management from the Culinary Institute of America. While a student he worked at the world acclaimed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he acquired an in-depth knowledge of indigenous ingredients and unique methods of food preparation. Concurrent with the last four months of his culinary degree, he spent time at the Puglia Culinary Centre in southern Italy learning and preparing foods from every Italian region, while undertook various educational trips throughout the Mediterranean to strengthen his culinary and foraging skills and worked at Ristorante Peppe Zullo, a biodynamic farm and restaurant in the mountains of Puglia.
Our trip provider: This exclusive Unquote Travel tour is brought to you in conjunction with local tour guide April Thompson.