In the spring 2010 issue of the Quarterly, I wrote a story about “The Complete Amateur Naturalist” First Year Seminar, which was taught by Professor of Biology Betsey Dyer, in collaboration with Professor of Religion Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus. As part of my fact gathering, I eagerly accompanied the class and professors on a field trip to the Rehoboth farm where Dyer grew up.
It wasn’t enough for students to discuss and read about eating off the land in the classroom. Dyer and Brumberg-Kraus, two well-known campus foodies, wanted them to experience it. So Wheaton.
On a lovely day in September, reporter’s notebook in hand, I followed the group around the farm as they learned about various edible flowers and plants, including a really strange-looking orange mushroom growing from the side of a tree. (Brumberg-Kraus would later use one of those in a stew after a student discovered one on campus.)
At one point, as the group was sampling some sort of greenery from the ground and I was observing from my objective writer’s distance, Dyer suggested that I eat what they were eating. And faster than I could say, “Are you kidding me? No way,” she had popped the green whatever into my mouth! From what I remember (I’ve been trying to forget), she had a vague smile of satisfaction on her face as I munched in disbelief.