Fall has finally arrived! Besides the onset of cooler weather, wearing cozy sweaters and acclimating oneself to back to school routines, there is my favorite fall tradition of going apple picking. What made this fall even better was hearing from my family in Finland. They may not have gone apple picking, but they were gathering food as only the Finns can do.
Back in the States, it doesn’t matter where I go, all that matters is that each fall I find a weekend to go and fill a bag with more apples than I could ever possibly consume on my own. Nothing screams fall quite like strolling through an apple orchard searching for the perfect apples to fill your bag. Even better than the apples, the apple cider donuts and apple cider that most orchards have waiting to be purchased back at the entrance. I can’t think of a more fall like activity than apple picking.
Fall in Finland looks a little different for my family living there. Rather than visiting orchards, my family took time to go out to the forest to gather wild mushrooms. How cool?! I mean if I am being honest, this is an activity I am totally ill-equipped for. I couldn’t begin to tell you the difference between an edible mushroom and ones that are not so great for human consumption if I was out wandering through the woods.
While visiting over the summer I asked about gathering mushrooms when we were out walking one day. With “every man’s right” in place, I learned that many people go out and pick berries and mushrooms from the local forests. I also learned that kids are taught from an early age about the plants that can be found in forest that are edible. Adults and kids alike can spot these foods when they are out enjoying nature.
Berries and mushrooms can be harvested throughout the summer into fall in Finland. When I received the picture of my cousin picking mushrooms I thought, how great that as I was picking apples at home, he was out in a forest in Finland gathering food as well.
Later in the week, when students asked if I had anymore pictures of my family to share, of course I had to share about the mushroom gathering. It was a great opportunity to share with them how families around the world have similar interests. Where we might pick apples and pumpkins in fall, families in Finland might be picking mushrooms and berries. What a great global teaching moment!