Harvest Edible Plants & Mushrooms with These Amazing Workshops Around the World
If you're new to foraging, here's everything you need to get started—classes, tools, and all.
Most people eat lots of plants and mushrooms in their everyday lives, so it's understandable if you've ever seen a tasty-looking piece of flora or fungi in the woods and wondered if it was safe to eat. It's also understandable if you decided to forgo eating said tasty-looking flora or fungi in an effort not to poison yourself—after all, not everything in this world is safe to eat (and no, we're not just talking about Oscar Meyer hot dog-flavored popsicles, which—while questionable—will probably not actually kill you).
If you're looking to get into safely gathering wild edibles, Caleb Arnold, a longtime forager who hosts all kinds of relevant workshops and plant walks on his property in the mountains of north Georgia, advises that "learning from others whenever possible is best." So hit up your plant expert friends if you have them, but if you don't know anyone you trust to point out what you can and can't eat in the wild, you have another option: book a foraging workshop on Airbnb.
"One of the best things about foraging is that it doesn't cost any money and it is a natural innate human right, that is most of the time very satisfying to partake in," says Arnold. We'll be honest with you here—these Airbnb experiences aren't free—but they're just a way to get started. And they're also just plain fun, too, with experiences ranging from a 6-hour Roman truffle-hunting excursion and multi-course truffle meal, to a hike through the desert in Joshua Tree to look for medicinal plants, to a slow nature walk with Arnold in the Appalachian forest. Most experiences involve a lot of learning, at least a little snacking, and a big jump in knowledge that'll have you feeling like Bear Grylls in no time.
What should you bring on a foraging excursion?
You don't need any fancy tools for most of the ten foraging workshops we recommend (though good hiking footwear might help), but as Arnold puts it, "If you do find yourself hooked, a few tools will make the job easier." His own collection of foraging gear includes a soil knife (he favors a "traditional Japanese Hori Hori") and a pair of pruning shears. "The soil knife is for cutting through roots and soil, while the pruners make harvesting leafy material easy," he explains. Arnold finds a more standard knife comes in handy, too. For stashing your foraging finds, Arnold says that "the best container is the one you have available." However, "for major harvest woven baskets or a harvest bag can be helpful."
While most of the workshops below take place on dry land, seaweed foraging is also a thing—and if you're looking to get into that, you'll want to check out seaweed harvesting expert Spencer Marley's sea foraging class in coastal California. Marley will provide everything you need during the workshop, though he recommends bringing a cooler if you want to take home any of your finds, but he has some recommendations for anyone who feels comfortable enough to forage on their own. Like Arnold, Marley likes to have pruning shears on hand for cutting seaweed (he prefers the "Falco 310 snips"), plus this small fishing net "for gleaning seaweed." He also deems sieve buckets "essential" for any seaweed foraging mission.
Shop foraging tools
Shop foraging tools
Finally, while it's best to get started by foraging with experts, field guides can be helpful when you're out on your own. "Plant/mushroom identification is the hardest part of foraging," says Arnold. He recommends that you look for books by local authors when you're able to, since "foraging is bio-regional." However, he does like Sam Thayer's three books, which he says cover a large part of the country. Thayer's The Forager's Harvest provides a wealth of information on 32 common North American edible plants, and Nature's Garden adds 41 additional wild foods to the mix (there's no overlap between the two books). His third book, Incredible Wild Edibles, has 36 new wild edibles to discover (again, no overlap here!), and makes a specific effort to represent every region of North America. These books are part field guide, but are also chock-full of all kinds of helpful stuff you'll want to know, like techniques for harvesting and food prep, as well as personal anecdotes and insights into cultural history, ecology, and conservation.
Shop foraging books
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Before you head out on your own into the tasty, tasty wilderness, check out one of these foraging workshops.
Here are the coolest foraging classes we've found on Airbnb:
- 90 minutes/$25 per person
- Ellijay, Georgia
As previously mentioned, Caleb Arnold hosts foraging classes on his mountain cove homestead, and you can book this one on Airbnb. During Arnold's "useful plants hike," you'll follow him along a stream and through the woods. As you encounter plants, he'll tell you about their native uses (both edible and medicinal) and share relevant Appalachian folklore. The area is full of wildlife, too, as well as small farm animals, and the diverse ecosystem is truly something worth exploring.
What participants say: "Caleb hosts a great experience if you enjoy the Georgia outdoors. He is extremely knowledgeable in everything plant...from identification, nutritional value, medicinal uses, & outdoor survival tips. An unexpected sleet shower occured and he didn't skip a beat demonstrating the quickest way to start a fire. I'll be back to see what summer & fall brings!"
- 90 minutes/$125 per person
- San Luis Obispo, California
Spencer Marley's seaweed foraging class may not fit with most people's idea of foraging, but it's worth keeping an open mind in order to explore what the ocean has to offer. Seaweed is tasty and nutritious, and according to Marley, there aren't any toxic types of seaweeds to lose sleep over. Follow him to local tidepool spots to learn how to sustainably harvest seaweed, take in the stunning scenery, and absorb some basic marine algae science. Your experience will also include lunch; Marley makes a mean seaweed ramen.
What participants say: "Excellent experience with a super cool sea forager. Spencer was very knowledgeable about seaweed. He was personable and found a way to connect with everyone in our group. His passion for foraging was contagious. The ramen soup was delicious! The location was beautiful and we all had a magical time and learned more than we expected about seaweed."
- 6 hours/$106 per person
- Rome, Italy
If you find yourself in Rome, it's worth finding out why so many people consider truffle hunting with Matteo to be the experience of a lifetime. Maybe it's his adorable dogs, who are there to help you locate the truffles, or the beauty of the woods north of Rome where professional truffle hunter Matteo is ready to guide you in your quest. Or maybe it's what comes when you return to Matteo's house with your bounty of mushrooms: a multi-course meal, all cooked by Matteo, who grew up cooking in his father's restaurant (with good wine, of course). Whatever the reason, it's definitely a good idea to book this experience while you can.
What participants say: "This tour was one of the most unique experiences that we’ve ever done, and my husband and I love excursions! You will go truffle hunting with the most adorable dogs, and watching them search for truffles is so incredible. Wendy is a rockstar! Bobby is a pup and still learning and couldn’t be cuter. Please note that the tour includes a 2 hour hike and would wear appropriate shoes. You are in the woods and it’s muddy. After truffle hunting you go to Matteo’s house and he cooks an incredible 7 course meal. It’s basically a dinner party! Wine is served and friends are made. The dogs are still there to hang out with and play with. We had the best time — truly unforgettable and magical and we loved it."
- 4 hours/$51 per person
- Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Ruthie has been foraging for most of her life, and she has a super secret mushroom spot to prove it—a mushroom spot that she's willing to share with you during this 4-hour nature hike through a wooded nature conservatory just outside of Kingston. Season depending, Ruthie will show you how to find and ethically harvest chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, oysters, black trumpets, and other types of tasty fungi. According to guests, if you happen to join Ruthie when the mushrooms aren't in season, she can still point out lots of edible plants to enjoy. Oh, and one guest gave this pro tip for those who want to take full advantage of the fact that Ruthie is also a professional chef: "Couple the mushroom foraging with a stay at her secluded and beautiful B&B on Amherst island, where she will cook you an amazing meal using foraged edibles and local game."
What participants say: "Spectacular adventure! Ruthie is the experience. She's the full package of sociable, engaging, energetic and passionate with her mushroom craft. She'll teach you new ways to perceive your surroundings and ecology. Her culinary background combined with her mycology knowledge base created magic. Many recipes discussed. Bring many brown paper bags to collect your findings!"
- 2.5 hours/$60 per person
- Santa Cruz, California
Hike for a mile or two among the oaks and redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains, under the guidance of host Caitlin, who has more than 15 years of experience as a naturalist. She'll show you the plants, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, and roots that have edible or medicinal properties. Caitlin's approach is particularly special, as several reviewers note, because she focuses on connecting mindfully with the natural world, emphasizing presence and gratitude. Whether you choose to book this experience for the information, connection with nature, or simply a short but lovely walk, you're sure to get a lot out of it.
What participants say: "Beautiful and super informative experience! Caitlin is a great guide and natural teacher. I really appreciated how she encouraged us to connect with nature with presence and gratitude. Overall a great intro to foraging and appreciating our native environment, with a nice little hike along the way :)"
- 3 hours/$135 per person
- Joshua Tree, California
There's plenty to see in Joshua Tree National Park, but if you're looking for a unique experience while you're in the area, try signing up for a naturalist hike and herbal medicine workshop with bio-regional herbalist Christina. The hike will take place within the stunning landscape of Joshua Tree, where Christina will teach you about desert ecology, native plants and animals, and how to identify different plants. The experience won't involve gathering any plants of your own, but Christina will bring her own herbs and ingredients so she can help you make an herbal folk remedy. She'll also bring some of the remedies she's made on her own for you to taste.
What participants say: "I had a wonderful time learning all about the plants of the desert and their many uses. We saw so many different plants on the hike with a mix of altitudes due to the perfect selection of the trail. Christina is so knowledgeable about the current and historical uses for everything from cacti to piñon and cares so much for the land and the Joshua Trees. This was an amazing experience if you want to truly appreciate the land!"
- 2 hours/$50 per person
- Seattle, Washington
Self-described "full-time mushroom nerd" Jeremy hosts this talk about all things mushrooms from his home in Seattle, making it a perfect choice for those who want to learn without having to actually hike. (That said, if you do want to hike, Jeremy hosts a few different mushroom foraging tours in Washington state.) During Jeremy's workshop, he'll cover the different species of mushrooms (including edible, medicinal, and poisonous varieties), the mushrooms that are best for beginners to look for, and how to find an awesome foraging spot, with a focus on the rules and species of the Pacific Northwest. He'll also cover some basic information about growing mushrooms at home, if that's more your speed.
What participants say: "This workshop was great. Jeremy was exceptionally knowledgeable about mushrooms and mushroom foraging in the Pacific Northwest. Not only did he share wonderful tool and knowledge to further your exploration, he was fun and kind in relating his knowledge and experience. I loved it. Would recommend to the enthusiast or someone looking to have a unique experience in and for the region."
- 3 hours/$86 per person
- Linderöd, Kristianstad, Sweden
Live out your Scandinavian fantasy with a ramble through the Swedish woods. Host Agata will come along to guide you as she points out edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms. She works as a forager and wild plants educator, with a goal to help people connect to nature, so her guidance is invaluable. Agata will bring a picnic basket full of snacks she's prepared using some of the plants you'll be encountering, so, as she puts it, "you can know the true flavor of the South Sweden forest."
What participants say: "The forest we walked in was amazing and we found multiple edible mushrooms. Agata did a great job identifying them, explaining us how she did it and what the differences with look-like mushrooms are. Not only did we learn a lot but we also went home with a bag filled with chanterelles and porcini! She also brought a picnic. We tried her homemade goods, made with wild ingredients. Especially her own fermented miso soup, with rice and wild mushroom was amazing! Just like her nettle crackers with several homemade spreads."
- 3 hours/$40 per person
- Chelsea, Michigan
"If you are even slightly interested in mushrooms sign up for this Airbnb Experience," advises one guest who enjoyed this 3-hour hike with mushroom expert Kirk. "I'm not the biggest mushroom person... however after taking this experience with Kirk I ate more mushrooms [than] I ever have on purpose in my life." Your walk will take you through the woods of the Eddy Discovery Center, where Kirk will teach you how to forage for mushrooms. He'll also talk about the ecology of the area, as well as local history. While a post-hike meal isn't formally part of the experience, many guests mentioned enjoying some mushrooms Kirk cooked for them when they were finished with the walk.
What participants say: "I could not recommend this experience more!! It was such a great time. Kirk made hiking through wet and humid forests an absolute treat. He was informative, friendly, funny and we found some awesome mushrooms! I enjoyed this so much I might come back again next year with friends. You won't be disappointed!"
- 2.5 hours/$41 per person
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Go for a small town foraging mission in Cheltenham, a spa town on the edge of the Cotswolds, with nature enthusiast Thomas. As you wander through the parks, footpaths, and other green spaces in town, Thomas will show you about 50 wild edible plants to keep an eye out for (and a few poisonous ones to avoid, too). He'll also give you some foraged food, drink, and skincare products to try as part of the expereince. Finally, to help you on your ongoing solo foraging missions, Thomas will provide each guest with an informational booklet.
What participants say: "Enjoyable experience with a wild plant enthusiast!
This was my second walk with Thomas. After a great experience last spring I was curious to see what, if anything is around in the middle of winter. I was amazed to see a different variety of wild plants to forage in the same location. It was a wonderful experience and Thomas also gave me ideas about making lotions and potions using medicinal plants. I plan to go on more foraging walks now to see what nature has to offer in summer and autumn."