Louis A. Stelzer County Park, a popular day-use park in Lakeside, is a hotbed of local history. Long ago, the area was home to a nomadic population called the Kumeyaay. The Kumeyaay people traveled from the coast to San Diego’s foothills every October and November, gathering acorns from the oak trees that continue to grace the park. The acorns were cracked, ground, boiled and used to make porridge or Shawee – an acorn mush that baked into dense bread. These acorns along with a variety of plants have provided nutrition for San Diegans for thousands of years.
Ranger Alex Gilbert, who hosts talks at Stelzer about native plants and wildlife, does a special series on what he deems “incredible edibles.” These plants aren’t typically thought of as food, but they are an important part of local cuisine and the perfect addition to a true al fresco dining experience.
“The Kumeyaay had a use for nearly every plant in Stelzer Park,” said Gilbert. “Plants were used to make medicine, shelter, clothing, fire and tools, so it makes sense that they were part of the local diet. The Kumeyaay knew how to live off the land.”
Here’s a look at some of the incredible edibles you might see along the trail:
For more information about County Parks and upcoming educational events, visit sdparks.org or access the latest series of Program and Activity Guides. We encourage you to experience the upside of outside along with us!
Article written by County of San Diego Department of Parks and