Living Wild in SoCal

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On October 6, 2012 The Living Wild Project headed south on an adventure to explore more of California’s diversity and give an interactive lecture and wild food tasting at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden.

Santa Barbara Botanic Lecture and Tasting

Yerba Santa Ice Cream

Yerba Santa Ice Cream

With my car filled with indigenous ice creams by Treats of Nevada City, including such delicacies as Yerba Santa Vegan Ice Cream, Douglas Fir Sorbet and California Bay Ice Cream, I felt I could survive anything that might happen. If my car broke down and I had to live on native plant ice cream, things still wouldn’t turn out too bad.

We had received good press in the LA Times,, and Santa Barbara News Press, so I was prepared to meet a crowd of eager wild plant enthusiasts.

My backseat contained samples of Manzanita Hard Cider and Toyon Wine from Daniel Nicholson along with Oak Nut Chocolate Marzipan prepared by Karouna Thompson that I hoped would win over even the most challenging skeptic on the gourmet and practical reasons to grow and enjoy wild plants.

Alicia Funk and Steve Windhager, Executive Director of

Alicia Funk and Steve Windhager, Executive Director of

What a surprise it was to see how many plant species were similar to my plant friends in Nevada County. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a stunningly beautiful 65-acre botanical garden, containing over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants. For lovely 1900’s photos of their origins and their history, visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden website.

Participants enjoyed a large selection of native plants the garden offers for sale through October, loved the tasty wild treats and asked important questions on processing of oak nut flour and how to best use bay nuts.

Wander the garden next time you are in Santa Barbara for a relaxing and beautiful path to enjoying California’s native plants.