The Flavors of Home: A Guide to the Wild Edible Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area

Feast on a wild harvest

A new edition of a much-loved foraging classic, The Flavors of Home introduces readers to the San Francisco Bay Area’s abundance of edible wild plants and mushrooms. Margit Roos-Collins’s lively, graceful instructions for identifying and enjoying 128 blossoms, berries, nuts, greens, mushrooms, and seaweeds inspires a deep sense of intimacy and affection for our surroundings. Detailed line drawings accompany each description of a plant’s appearance, habitat, seasonality, and taste. Included are several recipes for dishes as varied as seaweed kim chee and madrone berry pudding. An emphasis on ethical gathering practices encourages foragers to harvest responsibly and sustainably. Both field guide and manual for living with the land, The Flavors of Home connects inhabitants of one of California’s largest metropolitan areas to the rich wildness in its midst.

This edition features new maps, a new introduction from the author with updated information on parks’ foraging policies, and a foreword by forageSF founder Iso Rabins.


“To experience nature fully, you have to know it with all your senses: see it, smell it, hear it, feel it, and—yes!—taste it. Margit Roos-Collins offers an engaging account of Bay Area plants. With her as a guide, your enjoyment of nature’s bounty can be nourishing both physically and spiritually.”—Harold Gilliam, San Francisco Chronicle


“This thoughtful, refreshing approach minimizes impact on delicate habitat and is essential to conservation.”—Ron Russo, Chief Naturalist, East Bay Regional Park District


“Anyone who lives in the Bay Area and likes spending time outdoors, eating local food, or connecting with the environment will enjoy this book.”—Gabriel Sanders, Blue Heron


“You don’t have to live in the San Francisco Bay to appreciate and benefit from this book.…[Roos-Collins] compresses a lot of information here, yet you’ll find yourself reading with the absorption usually reserved for books that entertain rather than educate.”—World of Cookbooks: The International Cookbook Newsletter

About the Author and Illustrator

Margit Roos-Collins

When Margit Roos-Collins was six months old, she moved to Riverside, California, where her parents would push her carriage through orange groves after storms and pile windfall oranges in beside her. Maybe it all began there. When the citrus groves were cut down and the mountains were no longer visible, her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, but she found her way back to California in 1976. After writing The Flavors of Home, she became an attorney in environmental law. She subsequently raised two berry-picking companions and spent her time volunteering in their schools. She lives with her husband in Berkeley.

Rose Craig is a painter who lives in Berkeley, California. She was a freelance artist for many years, having illustrated a number of books, book covers, and articles, including The Flavors of Home. Later, she worked as a senior artist at Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley. Now retired, among her many loves are painting in oil and watercolor, photography, ceramics, gardening, and, most of all, spending time in the wilderness.