Author: Jim Moore

Miner’s Lettuce Northern California’s Preeminent Wild Edible Green

By Jim Moore, Entomologist Of the native edible wild greens found in North America, very few if any, have made their way into the gardens of folks throughout the world more than what we here in California call Miner’s Lettuce, species Claytonia perfoliata.  Just as we also have several wild growing healthy greens from the Old World,  such as dandelion, lamb’s quarters, and purslane;  so now our own Miner’s lettuce can also be found growing wild ‘over there’ in suitable fields and woodlands. Miner’s Lettuce grows natively from Alaska south to Central America, and eastward as far as Montana....

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California’s Pink Glowworm

By Jim Moore, Entomologist A few years back, while spending a spring weekend at a nice Sierra foothill vacation rental home, I had gone out onto the back deck to gaze down into the wooded hillside as the light of the evening gave way to the darkness of night. While pondering the moonless transition before me, I noticed a small bright green light appear on the deck rail off to my right a bit. I moved over to see the source of this light, and was surprised to see my first California bioluminescent bug! I had seen fireflies back...

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Food From The Wild- Toyon

Toyon – California’s Own Christmas Berry Can Be Toxic By Jim Moore, Entomologist Photo Courtesy Of nps.gov Toyon, California’s own native counterpart to Christmas Holly, is a beautiful large evergreen bush that grows throughout the Coastal, Sierra, and Cascade foothill regions of California. Toyon is celebrated for its dense clusters of bright red berries that ripen just in time for the Christmas season. Other less common names are Christmas Berry and California Holly. In the years preceding the roaring twenties the survival of Toyon in Southern California was severely endangered by the over-harvesting of the berry laden branches for...

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Bug Wild- The Song of the Cricket

By Jim Moore, Entomologist Living within the lands of Mountain Valley Living are several kinds of crickets: Field Crickets, Ground Crickets, Tree Crickets, Camel Crickets, and, oh my, the so called Potato Bug Crickets.  Of these, my favorites are the ‘chirping’ field and ground crickets. I love sitting out in the evening listening to the sounds of the crickets, whether it is just the chirping of one lone cricket under the deck, or the chorus of hundreds singing within one of our mountain meadows. I am not alone in this affection. For centuries folks in China, both emperors and...

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NorCal’s Own Pine Nuts

By Jim Moore When making a list of possible Food from the Wild stories I did not add pine nuts to the list since I had the false notion that edible pine nuts were limited to the Pinyon pines, which grow in the Southwest regions beyond the Mountain Valley Living realm. This err in my understanding was set straight when I received an email, from our MVL general manager Melissa, providing a link to an interesting article on the common pine nut tree, the Foothill Pine. A little online research also brought to light additional edible large nut pine...

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