Infrequently Asked Questions

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I have a gift certificate. How do I use it?
I'm having trouble registering!


Tours

What is No Taste Like Home?
What makes No Taste Like Home special?
How do I sign up?
How many people attend?

city Do you just focus on mushrooms?
Do you guarantee that we'll find mushrooms?
Will what I learn in Asheville be applicable wherever I live?
Will you come and show me what's growing on my property?
Will I learn everything I need to know in one outing?
Do you offer tours in the winter?
Isn't foraging dangerous?
Will you make sure I won't get hurt?
What if it rains?
What should I wear?
What do you recommend bringing?
Do you take photos?

salad
Transitional Gastronomy
Meals

Do you offer a wild food cooking class?
What are your special events like?
Are meals totally made from whatever we find?
Are we actually going to hunt animals together?
Is there a vegetarian option?
Do you offer wild food-themed catering?
Several of your featured edibles are not native. Isn't this about native foods?


Registration

How much do your tours cost?
How do I sign up?
What is the difference between buying several gift certificates and buying a season pass?
I have a gift certificate. How do I use it?
How do I use my season pass?
Do you offer group discounts or package deals?
Do you offer scholarships, sliding scale pricing, or work trade?
Are dogs allowed?
Do you take reservations?
Do you have a wait list for sold-out events?
I'm having trouble paying online. Can I call you with a credit card number, mail you a check, or pay when I get there?
What is your refund policy?
What is your privacy policy?

Laughing Frog
Travel and Accommodations

How do I get there?
Is lodging available?
How can I find out more about Asheville?
What are the typical high and low temperatures each month?
What airports are nearby?
Do you offer shuttle service from and to any airports?


More Info

What are your retreats like?
I love what you're doing with children. How can I get involved?
Do you have an internship/apprenticeship program?
How do I order wild edibles, medicinals, or introductory booklet?
Can I grow this stuff at home?
Can I make a living foraging?
What books, apps, or websites on foraging do you recommend?
How do I find an expert in my area?
Aren't you damaging the environment?



What is No Taste Like Home?

See here.


What makes No Taste Like Home special?

  • we are one of the largest foraging tour companies in the world
  • we are based in Asheville, an acclaimed destination
  • we operate in the most biodiverse temperate region on the planet
  • we are the only tour company in North America specializing in forage-to-table adventures
  • we work with some of the only u-pick forage-to-table restaurants in the world

outingThere are many farm-to-table restaurants featuring local farmed food. Many restaurants also incorporate wild food. However, except for a number of seafood establishments, very few restaurants are u-pick (a.k.a., BYOB: Bring Your Own Booty). In other words, guests don't gather any of the ingredients themselves. As far as we know, we offer the only opportunity in North America to gather and enjoy, year-round, your very own "catch of the day."

The only similar programs in North America that we're aware of are a restaurant in British Columbia and a B&B in northwestern Virginia that offer a foraging and cooking class, a resort in northwestern Pennsylvania and one in upstate New York that offer foraging (the former also offers a 'forage and prepare your own spa' experience, and a forager in Chicago that offers a u-pick forage-to-table experience. These are all by request, not regular offerings. We'd love to help others get started!

There are a handful of "forage & feast" programs elsewhere, including Catalonia, Spain. A Michelin-starred restaurant in the Pyrenees offers mushroom 'hunt, cook, and eat' tours by arrangement (see also here). That's not surprising, seeing as one of the top TV shows in Catalonia is "Mushroom Hunters." Here's a fun review of another such offering in Bavaria. There's another in Wales, and an occasional such event, at least as of 2013, in Scotland. There's a seafood one in Australia. There's ones in England, South Africa, and Thailand (see here). And here's a few others.

Hopefully, as we rediscover true sustainability, we'll see more forage-to-table, or rather, permaculture offerings around the world. After all, it's only natural!


How do I sign up?

See here.


How many people attend?

Our tours range from one to fifteen participants.


Do you just focus on mushrooms?

It depends on what is actually out at the time (see "When is the best time of year to participate?") and what the group asks for. When you register, we ask you to indicate your preferred focus (whether mushrooms, plants, or both) and we plan the tour accordingly. On a public tour, however, the group is mixed, so we usually cover both mushrooms and wild plant edibles.


Do you guarantee that we'll find mushrooms?

Generally, no. First, although there's always at least a handful of mushrooms in season, even in winter, the main mushroom season runs July through September.

Second, even in season foraging tours are like whale-watching tours: we can't guarantee that mushrooms will make an appearance. Mushrooms, like the rain they rely on, are unpredictable, especially in the Appalachians. They are literally an underground dinner: they don't announce their location in advance. Remember, these jokers are wild.

For this reason, we usually bring at least one example of the top mushrooms currently in season to show if not to cook up. Overall, remember, foragers can't be choosers. Fortunately, there are over 125 common edibles to "chew" from. Prepare to be surprised!


turtle “Mushrooms!” exclaimed Kamba the Tortoise, joyfully. “Do I see mushrooms? REAL mushrooms?”

Yes, they were real mushrooms, little, white mushrooms that had pushed all night at the dark brown earth above them, and had struggled through its hard crust just in time to see the sunrise, just in time to make a fine breakfast for a hungry Tortoise.

Malawi folk tale in G. Elliot,
The Long Grass Whispers


Will what I learn in Asheville be applicable wherever I live?

Since our tours are usually geared toward beginners and the edibles we focus on are the most common wild foods across the country (see the top ten wild foods here), 95% of what you learn will be applicable wherever you are. See also here.


Will you come and show me what's growing on my property?

Yes; see here.


Do you offer tours in the winter?

woodsWe lead mini-tours year-round at The Omni Grove Park Inn and full-length tours year-round by request. In the colder months, we usually spend most of our time in sunny areas where most of the wild foods are. On full-length private tours, we can visit a waterfall, gather birch or sassafrass for root beer, and maybe even find chaga along the way. Either way, we always meet at least half a dozen edibles on our mini-tour and a dozen edibles on our full-length tours. For images from some of our winter tours, see here.


Will I learn everything I need to know in one outing?

No. First off, not everything is out at the same time (see here). Second, we usually only cover 12-15 wild edibles in a three-hour tour. That's because our time and energy together is limited, there are some basic general things to cover, we need time to just enjoy being outside, and you can't really learn more than a handful of wild edibles in one day anyway.

If you want a "wild foods intensive," you can schedule a custom tour. But even then, don't expect to learn how to safely forage on your own in a single outing. That would be like expecting to learn a new language in a day. The best way to learn a foreign language is by immersion, that is, by simply spending time in that country. It takes time to learn any skill. Only practice makes perfect.

For these reasons, we recommend that people attend at least three tours across the season, and we offer a discounted season pass. We also have a 300-hour immersion program.


Isn't foraging dangerous?

"Wild" means untamed. You don't expect to be able to pet a wild animal, and you can't just go into the woods and eat whatever you find. Then again, you don't go around petting strangers either, and if you ate anything you found in a supermarket you could end up drinking bleach.

kids

Driving isn't exactly "safe," yet most of us do it every day. People in hunter-gatherer societies eat wild food daily, much of it gathered by children. And they have been doing so, with very few mishaps, for thousands of years. They can do this, just as we manage to drive relatively safely, because they first learn how. That's what we're here to teach you.

Our guides are all highly skilled and experienced in wild food identification and processing. Many are professional wildcrafters. Still, that doesn't mean accidents don't happen (see next question).


Will you make sure I won't get hurt?

We'll do our best, but see previous question, and if you are bringing children with you, see here.

In registering, you are stating that you understand that foraging has its risks. People routinely have allergic reactions to foods they are not used to, particularly wild foods. People cut themselves preparing food. They twist their ankles or fall and break bones. They have severe reactions to poison ivy or other wild plants. They get stung or bitten by animals. That's why these plants and animals are called "wild."

In attending our program, you are choosing to participate at your own discretion and therefore at your own risk. You are also consenting to emergency medical treatment in the event of an injury.

If you are unsure about your physical capabilities or possible allergies, please consult your doctor prior to participation in one of our events. If you are allergic to any type of bee, wasp, hornet, etc. please bring your injectable prescription medicine if required.

Participation in our programs also means agreeing to be photographed; see here.


What if it rains?

rainTours are generally rain or shine. Check the forecast and dress appropriately. For last minute concerns, see our Contact Page.


What should I wear?

For the foraging component, we recommend long pants, socks, and sturdy shoes. Dinner dress is casual. See also next question.


What else do you recommend bringing?

Bring a rain jacket if the forecast calls for rain. For morning outings, snacks and a bag lunch are recommended. A collecting basket, knife, water bottle, and camera are optional. We take a few pictures for you.


Do you take photos?

crouchOn our full-length tours, the guide's assistant takes a few pictures which we will email to you. This frees participants to focus on learning and enjoying their experience while still having an easy way to share it with their friends afterward.

Some of our tour photos will be posted to our Facebook page. If you're not comfortable with us posting photos of you, just let us know.


What are your retreats like?

Our retreats are multi-day events. You'll meet fifteen to thirty wild foods each day and experience the life of a modern hunter-gather firsthand.

Our public retreats include our Promised Land and Three Seasons to Eden programs. Our private retreats include our Rewilding Weekend and our weekend campout. If you're not up for camping, you can either arrange your own lodging or stay at any of our favorite accommodations.

Private retreat prices vary with group size; for more information, contact us.


Do you have an internship/apprenticeship program?

See our teacher training program.


I love what you're doing with children. How can I get involved?

rainbowYou support The Afikomen Project whenever you register for a public or private tour or buy one or more gift certificates. The proceeds fund our youth program. Or you can simply make a donation here (choose any date and just skip the tour-related questions).

If you have more time to spare than money, you can help by spending time in nature — foraging for us! You can also enroll in our immersion program, assist with tours and maybe even, the following season, become one of our youth program instructors.

For more info, contact us.


Do you offer a wild food cooking class?

For cooking as part of a foraging tour, see here.

Full-length tour participants have two additional options, both featuring your own catch of the day:

Both options run about 2.5 hours and the cost is $75 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under.

Note that if your tour is in the afternoon, we usually run from 2 to 5 pm. You will need plenty of time to travel back to town, shower, change, etc. as well as about 30 minutes flex time since we sometimes run over. That means that if you are on an afternoon tour, you will probably not be able to start your dinner class until 7 pm.

Your class need not be the same day as the tour. The Hickory Nut Gap class & dinner is available Tuesday through Friday at 5:30 or 6 pm, with reservations required one week in advance. Cottage Cooking is available any day of the week, usually at 6 pm, with no advance reservation requirement but is subject to availability.

After booking your tour, contact Hickory Nut Gap or Cottage Cooking to register. If you have any food allergies, restrictions, or preferences, let them know, even if you indicated these with us when you registered.

At the outing, your guide will set you up with labeled bags of three wild ingredients (here's a gallery of what they might be). You will not need not drop your ingredients off beforehand; you can just bring them with you. If possible, however, do keep them refrigerated.

Please send us pictures, and bon appetit!

wild man
My name is Alan Muskat.
You come on my tour,
prepare to DINE!


What are your special events like?

See here.


Are meals made totally from whatever we find?

If our program includes a meal together, whether a picnic or a five-course dinner, the meal will not be purely made from what we manage to find — unless you want it that way!


Are we actually going to fish and hunt wild animals together?

toadOur public programs do not normally include hunting or fishing, but private programs can include either one. We also offer vegetarian meals on request.


Is there a vegetarian option?

Although we are critical of vegetarianism, our partner restaurants and special events all accommodate vegetarians by request.


Do you offer wild food-themed catering?

Yes, see here.


Several of your featured edibles
are not native. Isn't this about native foods?

No Taste Like Home is about wild, i.e., natural food: food that thrives in an area on its own (see here). We don't subscribe to distinctions like "native" or "indigenous" vs. "exotic" or "invasive."

The concept of being "native" — or "invasive," for that matter — is highly suspect. One can argue that white people are not native to North America and that they are highly invasive: they take over and destroy natural habitat. Does that mean they don't belong here and should be exterminated? Nazi Germany had a native plants program, and many native plant societies are funded by petrochemical companies.

Besides, it's not as simple as pulling out the invasives and planting natives. The same thing will probably just happen again. For more info, see Beyond the War on Invasive Species or Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience).

At No Taste Like Home, we harvest anything in abundance, whether "native" or "exotic," including so-called "invasives." If you can't beat it, eat it!


How much do your tours cost?

For public tours, see here. For private tours, see here.


How do I sign up?

See here.


What is the difference between buying several gift certificates and buying a season pass?

See here.


I have a gift certificate. How do I use it?

You can register for a public tour here. For more info, see here. The tour you attend must take place within a year of the certificate date of purchase.

When you register, click on “Apply a gift card” and enter your gift card number. If you don’t have a number, contact us.


How do I use my season pass?

You can register for a public tour here. If you need to change or cancel a date and want to keep your credit, please let us know no less than 24 hours before the tour. Passes must be used within 18 months of purchase.

When you register, click on “Apply a gift card” and enter your gift card number. If you don’t have a number, contact us.


Do you offer group discounts or other package deals?

Yes. We offer:

  • packages with a variety of accommodations
  • 20% off for groups of 5 or more on public tours
  • 20% off when you buy 5 or more gift certificates
  • multiple-visit and season passes

For group or bulk discounts, contact us.


Do you offer scholarships, sliding scale pricing, or work trade?

Yes. Who says there’s no free lunch? At No Taste Like Home, we believe that food and housing are our birthright and should be guaranteed to all. We strive for a gift economy, i.e., where people don't charge each other for things. After all, Nature doesn't charge us!

hens

For this reason, no one is turned away for lack of funds. We invite you to "give what you can; take what you need." Keep in mind that our tours fund our youth program and that learning to forage quickly pays for itself. We've heard from many people whom, like this woman, just a week or two after taking an introductory class, had already picked over $300 worth of wild mushrooms.

If you have the time to work trade, you can simply gather wild foods for us in exchange for classes. For more more information, contact us. May we all share in nature's abundance.

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "you owe me." Look what happens with a love like that: it lights up the world.

Hafiz


Are dogs allowed?

Dogs are not permitted on public tours. At private events, it's up to the organizer. If we are providing the venue, make sure the organizer checks with us. Some of our events are in private locations with resident dogs and it will depend in part on how well your dog gets along with other dogs.


Do you take reservations?

No, we do not hold unpaid spaces.


Do you have a wait list for sold-out public events?

Yes.


I'm having trouble registering. Can I call you with a credit card number, mail you a check, or just pay when I arrive?

If you entered a discount code and did not receive a discount, click "Back" and make sure you hit "APPLY."

If payment won't work, we do take credit cards over the phone; just call 828-209-8599. You can also mail in a check or money order. However, you must pay beforehand. We do not take payment on site, we do not hold spaces until payment is received, and if you do not preregister, you will not receive important information, including where to meet.

If the system is still not working for you, please call or email us and tell us exactly where the problem is so we can fix it. We will register you over the phone.

To mail in your payment, contact us.

Include your contact information and we will let you know how to complete registration.


What is your refund policy?

possumIf you cancel no later than 30 days before the event, your ticket will be refunded minus a 25% cancellation fee.

If you cancel between 3 and 29 days before the event, you will receive a 50% refund.

If you cancel within 3 days of the event, your ticket is non-refundable unless we can replace you. If we can replace you, you will receive a 50% refund.

If you give your space to someone else, they must register themselves in order to attend. Have them contact us and we will provide a coupon code for them to use.


What is your privacy policy?

When you register or contact us, we add you to our mailing list. You may unsubscribe anytime. We do not share your information without your consent.


How do I get there?

Directions are e-mailed upon registration.


Is there lodging available?

Yes. See our Accommodations and Packages page.


How can I find out more about Asheville?

See here.


What are typical high and low temperatures around Asheville each month?

See here.


What airports are nearby?

From Asheville,

Asheville Regional (AVL) is twenty minutes south,

Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) is one hour and ten minutes south,

Tri-Cities (TRI) is one hour and twenty minutes  north,

Charlotte (CLT) is two hours southeast, and

Knoxville (TYS) two hours and twenty minutes west.


Do you offer shuttle service from and to any airports? 

We don't but we know people who can assist you.


How do I order wild edibles, medicinals, or introductory booklet?

For edibles and medicinals, see here. For our introductory booklet, see here.


How do I find an expert in my area?

See here. If you can't find a club or educator near you, look for restaurants in your area that use wild foods. You can simply look up the most expensive ones on Open Table. Call and ask the chef to tell whoever is foraging for them that you want to apprentice with them and to give them your number. If you still can't find anyone, hopefully you can come study with us, otherwise we may be able to coach you by phone.


Can I grow this stuff at home?

Yes! For help, seek out a permaculture designer in your area. In Asheville, contact Dylan Ryals-Hamilton.


Can I make a living foraging?

You can probably make a significant portion of your income from gathering and selling wild foods. For examples, see here. Check the laws in your state, though. You may have to complete a training course or at least team up with someone who is already licensed.

Although plant foods generally don't bring in as much money as mushrooms, they extend your season and diversify your income. Either way, the place to start is to find an expert in your area to learn from.

Ultimately, if you have a talent for teaching, you could make more reliable money teaching foraging than picking to sell. This might take longer to set up. We offer an in-depth teacher training program and will be establishing a network of trained instructors after that. Until then, we can coach you further on how to get started by phone.


What books, apps, or websites on foraging do you recommend?

Foraging, like any skill, cannot be learned solely from a book or any electronic tool. That said, we recommend books by Sam Thayer, John Kallas, and Diane Falconi, and here are a few helpful links. As an introduction to mushroom hunting, we offer our own booklet. Above all, find a real field guide: one with two legs.


Aren't you damaging the environment?

No Taste Like Home sets the standard for sustainable wildcrafting. Our director serves on the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Wild Mushroom Harvesting. We operate in Pisgah National Forest under a special permit as well as in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We frequently lead programs on lands managed by conservation organizations including Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy.

For the past four years, we have worked with The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, MountainTrue, and other state and local environmental organizations on a nontimber forest product (NTFP) research project under a grant from Foundation for the Carolinas.

Note that foraging hurts the environment less than the food you buy in the store. For one, mushrooms are only the fruit of a fungus. Picking them, then, is like picking berries. That's why it's legal to gather both in national forest as well as most national parks. Also, we only harvest plants that are common in our area. Most are generally considered "weeds."

When it comes to conserving the environment, it's use it or lose it. It's time to eat the neighbors!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.