Book Review: “The Forager’s Harvest” by Samuel Thayer

Yesterday I received my copy of “The Forager’s Harvest” by Samuel Thayer, subtitled “A Guide To Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants.” I spent most of the evening reading it and examining the many photos. My opinion is that it is as good or better than the best books on wild edible plants. The literature on edible plants usually follows one of two different formats. The first, used by such authors as Steve Brill and Euell Gibbons, is to give a lot of detail about the plants they list, but usually not a significant amount of detail on identifying them. The second, characterized by the Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, gives very little information on the uses of the plant, but usually has enough detail to make a positive identification. Thayer’s book crosses this chasm by providing significant detail on identification, both in the form of glossy photographs and written descriptions. He covers only 32 plants, but they’re covered in great detail. Unlike books in the format of the Peterson’s guide, Thayer writes from his own experience. As such, the reader isn’t left to determine on his own those plants which are palatable versus those that are edible. This also thankfully precludes the reader from encountering the same tired descriptions of certain plants and their uses that have graced the pages of countless lesser books on the subject.

I see this book becoming well used by our students as part of their field botany and edible plants studies.

The author has a website at if you’re interested in getting a copy.

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