YouTube is a wild, woodsy park in the Internet outback: known, accessible, and yet rife with distractions buried amongst its overgrown nooks. From grainy Old Grey Whistle Test clips to vintage NBA highlight reels, it's easy to get lost in YouTube, clicking away at link after link, biting like dim fish at every "suggestion" proffered on the right-hand side of the screen. And from bedroom dancers to closet comedians, thousands of niche communities surface on the site, each with their own dedicated contingent of viewers and commenters. One such community is reflected in Florida resident Deane Jordan's long-running (by web standards) YouTube series on foraging entitled Eat The Weeds.
Known as "Green Deane," the self-described "Greek bachelor," a writer and a musician as well as an expert forager, takes viewers (as he often takes in-the-flesh Floridians) on seven-and-a-half minute jaunts through nature, often to seek out a particular plant -- perhaps sassafras, paper mulberry, or the thistle. As he trudges through sun-blasted fields and shaded thickets, he'll share the scientific name of the paper mulberry: broussonetia papyrifera. "Try saying that after three glasses of wine."
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Though the comments sections of other YouTube channels often spill over with juvenile, inflammatory observations, the discussion here tends to be pleasant and quite topical. Can spurge nettle be eaten raw? wonders one viewer. Another begs Jordan to do a video on chicory. With 7,098 subscribers around the world, Eat The Weeds is, according to Jordan, the "most-watched foraging channel on YouTube and the world." Considering the growing mainstream popularity of foraging, that's nothing to sneeze at. Even if you can't tell a morel from a mud pie, it's still worth a few clicks.