Spring Wild Foods

Apprenticeship Program

TWP Spring 2023 is open for registration!

The spring session embraces the best wild foods our Southern California environment offers. During March through May, students explore and understand the harvesting and processing of local wild foods and how they play an important part in a balanced, holistic diet for vibrant living for themselves, the community and the environment.
Harvesting, processing, preservation, culinary skills, techniques and recipes will be shared and practiced with hands-on activities. Topics of ethical harvesting and regenerative practices are emphasized. The session will end with a potluck celebration dinner to put to use all the skills you have learned throughout the season.

Session Begins: February 15, 2023

New for 2023!! Tiered Class Options
Four exclusive spots to work directly with Jess, one-on-one for three months with bi-weekly interpretive walks and hands-on processing sessions and preparation of wild foods. This includes the weekly virtual lectures and discussion, recipe books, field trips and final celebration.

In Person/Virtual GROUP CLASS:
Weekly virtual lectures with discussion, three digital recipe books of Jess’ best recipes, three field trips into different regions of Southern California and a final wild food celebration.

Join us weekly for the live virtual lectures, or watch the recordings at your convenience.

Regions Covered: While based in Southern California, this class focuses on plants that can be found in most regions across the United States. Culinary skills and the nutritional information shared can be applicable from anywhere in the world.

Class Materials: Students will receive a total of three Wild Path Mini-Recipe Books, one each month, with corresponding recipes, articles and suggested reading. Class recordings will also be available for students to download for review or those that could not attend live. Students who enroll before the early registration deadline receive a complimentary copy of Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying, and Using More than 25 Wild Fungi by Jess Starwood

Community Building: Community is an important part of wild foods and foraging. Classes encourage participation and connecting with other students in the class. We begin as strangers but leave as family.

All students receive a 12% TWP student discount to any other class, workshop, wild food dinner, or multi-day foraging adventure I offer within 12 months of the start of the program enrolled. Some exceptions apply. See my schedule at jstarwood.com for upcoming offerings.


Live virtual classes, held once a week (except for field trip weeks) on Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30pm PST via Zoom platform. Participation is highly encouraged, but sessions will be recorded for later viewing until the course end-date.

February 12: Chaparral (please note this date is BEFORE our first virtual meeting on Feb 15)
March 12: Desert
April 29-30: Forest

*Apprenticeship Dates & Locations
Every other week in Thousand Oaks, details will be arranged to fit YOUR schedule. Contact Jess for questions.

Course Topics:

Into The Wild: The Abundance Around Us

  • Identification of plants and basic botany
  • Identification of mushrooms and their phenology
  • Focus is on Spring & Summer foods found in Southern California (for Fall and Winter, please join me for the Fall Session, Wild Foods II for advanced students)

A Vibrant Life: Eating Locally, Seasonally and with Intention

  • Urban and garden foraging and the many uses of common weeds
  • Healing power of food, medicinal properties of wild herbs & mushrooms
  • How wild foods affect our gut health & immunity

The Forager’s Dilemma: The Hunt for Food in a Modern World

  • Food issues in the modern world
  • Ethical foraging and regenerative practices
  • Foraging for invasive plants
  • Sustainability and regenerative practices

Skills for the Wild Kitchen

  • Fermentation & Pickling
  • Introductory culinary skills applicable to wild foods
  • Cooking with wild mushrooms
  • Recipes for common wild edibles
  • Wild Food Preservation
  • Creativity in the Wild Kitchen
  • Processing techniques to properly remove toxins and increase palatability
  • Utilizing “The Five Tastes” in creating recipes with unusual ingredients
  • Wild food and traveling

The Forest Table: The Lost Art of Community

  • The connection of food, community and emotional well-being
  • Plating a dish for a visual feast and the joy of eating beautiful food
  • Celebrations and eating with the seasons
  • The ‘taste of place’

Field Trips

  • Explore, in the field, the range of edible plants in each local bio-region (mountains, forest, chaparral, coastal, riparian, desert)
  • All take place in Southern/Central California
  • Wild Food Dinner & Herbal Happy Hour


All participants of The Wild Path must submit an application before payment is accepted and a spot reserved in the class. To submit an application, please go to the Application page.

Group Class size strictly limited to 20 students, only 4 apprenticeships available per year. Attendance and participation to live virtual classes is highly encouraged, but not required.

Class Fees & Registration:

*Limited to 4 students*



Once your application is received, you will receive payment information. All payments must be made via Venmo, Zelle or check unless arranged otherwise. No refunds after 7 days prior to first class start date. Payment plans are available by prior arrangement but must be paid in full by course start date.

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