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What's For Dinner? How 'Bout Nutria, Bullfrog Legs, Sorrel And Carp

On September 28, several hundred people are expected to gather at a vineyard near Salem, Oregon, to chew on the problem of invasive species.

This is not just food for thought though. Celebrity chefs will compete in a cook-off using undesirable weeds and animals.

For three years running now, adventurous diners have paid a premium to bite into invasive species. The multi-course annual dinner supports the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis.

Executive director Tom Kaye says the idea here is to help people recognize the non-native, but edible plants and animals around us.

"One of the things we call this is 'eradication by mastication.' In other words, getting rid of them by eating them,” Kaye said. “‘Eat 'em to beat ‘em' is another one."

Kaye said he's under no illusions that grazing on invasive species alone can solve the problem.

Regardless, get a load of the menu: dandelion spanakopita, feral swine bratwurst, bullfrog legs, and New Orleans style nutria.

Other invasives to be converted to delicacies include crayfish, Asian carp and sheep sorrel. The ticketed gourmet soiree takes place Sunday, September 28, at Zenith Vineyard northwest of Salem.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.