Euell Gibbons: Author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus

A Plowboy Interview with Euell Gibbons, wild food gatherer and author of many wild food books, including Stalking the Wild Asparagus.

| May/June 1972


Euell Gibbons shares his extensive knowledge of wild food foraging.


Euell Gibbons has probably turned more people on to nature—certainly to wild foods — than any other living writer. His first book about foraged fare, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, was (and continues to be) such a best seller that Gibbons has followed its success with five more popular titles. Three — Stalking the Healthful Herbs, Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop and Beachcomber's Handbook — are wild foods manuals, a fourth— Feast on a Diabetic Diet— tells how to do just that and the fifth— Stalking the Good Life —is an expansion of his Organic Gardening magazine column, "The Organic Nature Lover".  

Euell's books are not based on idle theory. He's been known to assemble dinners from free pickin's foraged in New York City's Central Park . . . wild foods gathered in the arid Southwest... the bounty washed onto a tropical beach . . . potherbs blooming in a Chicago vacant lot. . . and the wildings found during a "Down East" canoe excursion. All were equally sumptuous. Once, Gibbons even gathered 25 varieties of volunteer edibles within 100 feet of a supermarket.  

Now and then Euell teaches the techniques of wilderness living to boys and girls at the Outward Bound schools in Minnesota and Maine. A Quaker, he has also taught at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center.  

Euell Gibbons is well over six feet tall, has a Bob Hope nose, plenty of wavy hair and the kind of sharp features that caricaturists love. He's led a colorful life as cowboy, farmer, hobo, alcoholic, carpenter, Depression-days communist and beachcomber. Only recently has he enjoyed financial security (Stalking the Wild Asparagus was published in 1962).  

Gibbons and his wife, Freda, now live outside a small vil lage in Pennsylvania-Dutch country on a piece of property they call "It Wonders Me." Hal Smith conducted the following interview in the Gibbons home.  

I suppose everyone who meets you asks the same question . . . how did you learn about foraging?

5/22/2014 7:58:03 AM

It remains fascinating to me just how far ahead of his time Gibbons was. His voice could speak to us today.

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