Alumni Spotlight: Avery McGuire ’13

Wild Food Around the World

Avery foraging
Photo courtesy of Matilda Delves

Avery McGuire knew she wanted to work in food and food systems as a high school student. So, it is no surprise that, upon arriving at Dickinson, she made her way out to the College Farm before she ever stepped foot in her first-year classes. After helping the crew harvest garlic during a Discover Dickinson program, Avery was hooked and continued her involvement with the College Farm both as a regular volunteer and co-organizer of Bike to Farm Potluck.

As an anthropology major, Avery was fascinated with the intersection of society and food systems. She translated this interest into a senior thesis on New Nordic Cuisine. Following graduation in 2013, Avery relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark to interact with said Nordic cuisine first hand. She spent over a year with the Nordic Food Lab where she experimented with traditional fermentation processes using ingredients available in the Scandinavian region (think kojii made with barley instead of rice). It was at Nordic Food Lab where Avery was introduced to foraging, and quickly fell in love.

After finishing up her work in Copenhagen, Avery moved to Kent, UK where she spent two years working for Forager Ltd. Her work consisted of spending 8-10 hours a day outside, foraging for wild ingredients. Interacting with the environment this closely, in all weather conditions and a variety of landscapes, afforded Avery a new and deep appreciation for the environment. In 2016, she and her husband, Edward, decided to try their hand at running their own foraging business in the US.

Avery and Edward foraging
Photo courtesy of Matilda Delves

Living and working in Ithaca, NY has presented several obstacles to overcome, but many rewarding and fulfilling experiences. Trespassing laws significantly prohibit the areas in which Avery and Edward can freely forage. However, once they gained access to a great diversity of landscapes (most of which are organic farms), the diverse plants they found were well received as exciting new ingredients for chefs and home cooks alike. The other major difficulty for us is that Ithaca is so far from a clean coast to harvest some of their favorite ingredients: seaweeds, marsh plants, and coastal vegetation. That has led to their decision to move their business to Ireland in Autumn of 2018. 

In Ireland, Thalli Foods will continue to supply restaurants and markets with local, foraged items as well as host workshops, educational walks, and other courses that will continue to educate the public about their environment and taking advantage of the abundance outside their back doors.

Edward leading a foraging walk with Dickinson students
Photo courtesy of Avery McGuire

We were thrilled to welcome Avery and Edward back as hosts for our October Edible Excursion! Stay tuned for a post about our Wild Foods at the Farm foraging walk and cooking class.

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