November Foraging Guide

by Nai'a LeDain

As the vibrant fall foliage gives way to the crisp, cool air of November, foragers in Bellingham, Washington, can still find a treasure trove of edible plants and natural wonders to explore. While the days may be shorter, and the temperatures dropping, there's no need to hibernate just yet. Let's embark on a foraging adventure and discover the delights that November has to offer in our beautiful corner of the world.
Salal, with its dark-green, leathery leaves, remains a reliable evergreen presence in our region. November is an ideal time to harvest its leaves for a soothing tea. These leaves have a mild, pleasant flavor and are known for their traditional use by indigenous peoples. Consider crafting homemade salal tea blends or using the leaves to make a natural salal-infused lotion for a touch of herbal luxury.

While you might associate fir trees with Christmas, their tender, bright green tips can be harvested year-round, including in November. Infusing Douglas fir tips into oils can create a delightful essence that's perfect for baking or drizzling over roasted vegetables. Try a unique project by making your own Douglas fir-infused vinegar—a flavorful addition to your pantry.

Among the evergreens of the Pacific Northwest, juniper trees stand out with their bluish-green foliage. In November, you'll find their berries ripening to a deep blue-black. These aromatic gems, rich in antioxidants, have a piney and slightly citrusy flavor. Fun fact: Juniper berries are a key ingredient in crafting gin! Consider infusing them into syrups for cocktails or using them to add depth to savory dishes like roasted meats and stews.


Old Man's Beard, a lichen that hangs like wispy beards from trees, is a fascinating find in our region. While not a plant per se, its medicinal properties have been treasured for centuries. In November, you can harvest small amounts for making tinctures or salves with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Anecdotal accounts suggest it was used by Indigenous cultures to aid in wound healing and respiratory ailments.

Remember, foraging is not only about sustenance but also a way to connect with nature and cultivate a deeper appreciation for our local ecosystem. Whether you're savoring the flavors of the season or embarking on creative projects, November in Bellingham offers a tapestry of natural wonders waiting to be discovered.