Euell Gibbons: Foraging in Nature’s Supermarket

I wish there was an entire documentary on Euell Gibbons.

Instead, the best thing I can find are the videos below.

But, first, a bit on Euell’s cool life (most highlights are from his Wikipedia page)

At age 15, he left home and became a drifter (working as a trapper, carpenter, gold panner and cowboy).

At 36, he entered the University of Hawaii as a freshman and became a quaker.

At 49 (with his wife’s urging), he began writing a novel. He switched writing gears and wrote instead about wild food “Stalking the Wild Asparagus”.

That became a hit and he ended up appearing on “The Tonight Show” (Johnny Carson) and “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. ”

He also starred in a memorable commercial for Grape Nuts (the cereal from Post), asking viewers, “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.” He touted Grape Nuts over pine trees, famously noting they “taste like wild hickory nuts.”

These commercials grabbed attention and boosted Gibbons’ celebrity status.

In Margaret Atwood’s 2009 novel “The Year of the Flood,” Euell is considered a saint by the God’s Gardeners, a fictional eco-religious cult.

He even has song written about him:

Larry Groce’s wrote the novelty hit”Junk Food Junkie” in 1976. It boasts about his wholesome lifestyle, proclaiming himself “a friend of old Euell Gibbons.”

Euell Gibbons died December 29, 1975 (at age 64) of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He did not die on TV as some have claimed.

Watch “Euell Gibbons Foraging in Nature’s Supermarket”

Watch the Euell Gibbons documentary for free on YouTube by clicking the video embed above or going here:

Euell Gibbons Grape Nuts Commercial

And here’s Euell in the Grape Nuts commercial:

Here’s another Euell Grape Nuts commercial:


  • My Rating: 94/100
  • IMDB Rating: na
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: na

Review of “Euell Gibbons”

Ah, 1970.

When TV was earnest, educational, and corny-cool.

Take “Discovery,” ABC’s children’s show that ran from 1962 to 1971.

An episode titled “Foraging in Nature’s Supermarket” features hosts Bill Owen and Virginia Gibson tagging along with Euell Gibbons, the outdoorsman who made eating weeds seem not just sensible but sort of chic.

Gibbons, who looked like he could wrestle a bear and then write a haiku about it, takes the audience on a wild food expedition.

This isn’t your typical stroll to the Whole Foods salad bar.

The episode kicks off with Gibbons and a 15-year old boy named Mark paddling a canoe.

Mark is Euell’s “friend” and, sadly, I’m not sure that would fly on today’s TV. PBS would be too woried Euell would later get #MeToo’d (Euell seems to have lived a clean life).

Euell and Dan step onto land, and the magic begins: foraging in the forest like they’re grocery shopping, only with more bugs and less plastic.

The episode has the production value of a high school play but the heart of a TED Talk.

Think of it as the “Avengers” of educational TV, except instead of superheroes, you have people really excited about parsnips.

Owen and Gibson introduce the episode, and off we go.

Gibbons and Mark wander through a field and into the forest, where Mark finds burdock and Gibbons picks sumac berries and white pine needles.

It’s like a botanical scavenger hunt.

Gibbons even wades through a stream to catch freshwater crayfish, while Mark digs for wild parsnip and picks fruit from a viburnum tree.

This isn’t just foraging; it’s a full-contact sport.

Gibbons prepares a wild feast right there in the wilderness: bluegill fish fillets fried over a bonfire, burdock root, wild parsnip, and a sumac berry drink.

It’s the original farm-to-table, except the farm is a forest and the table is a picnic blanket.

Gibson and Owen, not to be left out, join Gibbons in his backyard for more foraging fun.

They dig up Jerusalem artichoke, find dwarf mallow, sheep’s sorrel, dandelion, and watercress.

It’s a botanist’s dream, presented with the charm of a 60s educational show.

Gibbons even climbs a tree to shake down some persimmons and takes them on a drive through the countryside, picking wintergreen leaves and ground cherries—yes, related to the deadly nightshade, because Gibbons lived on the edge.

The grand finale?

A four-course meal prepared by Gibbons and his family.

We’re talking about cold soup made from wild black raspberries and dewberries, a crayfish cocktail, fried groundhog served with wild grape juice, persimmon and hickory nut bread, wild plum and strawberry jam, and ground cherry chiffon pie.

This is not your grandma’s Sunday dinner.

The episode wraps up with a Norman Rockwell-esque family dinner.

Gibbons and his family, along with Gibson and Owen, sit around the table, say grace, and dive into their wild, foraged feast.

It’s a wholesome ending to a culinary adventure.

Gibbons wasn’t just about surviving on wild plants; he celebrated them, seasoning and buttering them up in the kitchen, not the wilderness.

His books, like “Stalking the Wild Asparagus,” and articles in National Geographic brought foraging into the American consciousness.

Gibbons made wild foods approachable, tasty, and dare I say, trendy long before farm-to-table became a thing.

Watching “Discovery: Foraging in Nature’s Supermarket” is a trip back to a time when educational TV was a bit corny but brimming with sincerity and charm.

It’s a reminder that sometimes the best meals are the ones you find in the unlikeliest places, like your backyard.

Or, in Gibbons’ case, the middle of nowhere.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc