Foraging has exploded in popularity in recent years, informing everything from skincare to cocktails. Now, intrepid travelers are planning their trips around foraging.

Following an unusually wet winter in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, the New York Times published a primer for first-time mushroom foragers in February. “This season’s boom in mushrooms dovetails with increasing numbers of people interested in plucking them out of the ground,” the Times wrote. It’s “a whole lot of fun, and a fine reason to plan a trip.”

Luxury travel agency Black Tomato offers multiple foraging excursions, including an afternoon on a traditional 40-foot schooner in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, where participants catch, clean and prepare cod, and a private truffle-hunting expedition in Italy led by a local forager.

Airbnb offers foraging experiences, including a popular seaweed foraging trip in California. The 90-minute sea foraging experience teaches basic phycology (marine algae science) and sustainable harvesting techniques. The experience culminates with a bowl of traditional Japanese ramen made with the freshly foraged seaweed.

James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author Hank Shaw leads three-day culinary hunts in Oklahoma through his company, Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. The experience teaches participants how to hunt and prepare game and waterfowl for eating. The $2,000 hunts (which include lodging, hunting and chef-prepared meals) often sell out in 48 hours, the New York Times reports.

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Hunter Gather Cook

In the UK, travelers can take foraging and butchery classes with Nick Weston in rural Sussex, through his company Hunter Gather Cook. After traveling to Weston’s remote, off-grid homestead, participants spend the day learning to hunt, forage, and prepare game before sitting down to a gourmet dinner prepared with the fruits of their labor—including foraged nettle gin gimlets, smoked fallow deer tartare and grilled rabbit haunch stuffed with pancetta-wrapped pigeon breast. “This was no rustic smorgasbord,” Amy Tara Koch wrote of the experience for the New York Times. “It was a serious tasting menu that told a story about how the seasonal, local products of this specific place became the elegant plate of food.”

The Intelligence take

Forage tourism is the latest example in a wave of educational expeditions that see travelers seeking out enriching travel with knowledge-based souvenirs. Emily Fitzroy, the owner of Bellini Travel, has seen a spike in requests to learn a culinary skill while on vacation. “Clients want to return home with newfound knowledge,” she tells the New York Times.

In times of crisis, “people start to re-examine their lives,” Iso Rabins, founder of Forage SF, told the New York Times. “Knowing how to go into the woods and find a mushroom that you can take home and cook for dinner feels like something solid, or tangible.”

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