SPOKANE, Wash. – KREM 2 On Your Side discovered a number of local restaurant owners and farmers markets are using "foragers" to get some of their products.
A forager is someone who goes out into the wild and finds food.
While chefs said they save money via this method, it is more about sustainability. They said eating what we can find right here in our area helps reduce their carbon footprint.
Plus, it is a trending strategy that helps their products stand out.
Josh Yake owns Gourmet Foragables. He did not want KREM 2 to reveal where he forages because he wanted it to remain a secret.
He and his network of pickers find things like pine needles, edible flowers, and the most popular food, Morel Mushrooms.
Yake said when he launched his business in 2010, he had no idea it would grow to be as big as it has become.
He said he forages for more than 100 markets and restaurants across Eastern Washington, including The Wandering Table, Luna, and even Huckleberries.
"Using what nature gives us, using what's native to our area and bringing it to the plate, bringing it to the culinary world," Yake said.
It takes a lot of hard work. Yake and his pickers travel all over Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.
He said sometimes it takes hours, other times he has actually had to camp out while tracking down items.
Yake said it is a trend that is picking up every day.
"Theer are days still where I go out and look around and I jump from place to place and I don't find anything," Yake said.
"Sometimes you just get skunked."
Yake found Morels during our interview. He said they are in high demand because you cannot grow them, you can only find them in the wild.
Yake is an expert, and KREM 2 wants to remind you to leave the picking to him because eating the wrong item could be deadly.