Sunday, 17 August 2008


Foraging is one of my favourite pastimes, and I've always done it. Memories of goind out in the Morris Traveller and filling plastic picnic mugs with succulent brambles for a penny a mugful, stained faces and hands, and my granny turning them into what seemed like hundreds of jars of pippy, sweet jam.........Nipping over the garden wall into the field (with permission) for the freshest of field mushrooms, fried up on a Sunday morning by my father for breakfast...........pulling sheep's wool from the barbed wire, washing it and hanging it out to dry for stuffing doll's cushions, the evocative smell of wet sheep's wool never fails to bring that memory forward.......... the tiny sweetest wild strawberries on the roadside approaching the church, eaten on the hoof, never getting as far as the kitchen........
These are all memories from a childhood in SW Scotland; where I am now, on the edge of a rural village in the Blackmore Vale, the ooportunites for foraging are many and year-round. It's almost time for the brambles now, and OH is off down one of the lanes later this morning to check on the bullace tree. In addition to foodstuffs, we forage fallen wood for burning, branches and sticks; strangest forage we ever had was a wheelbarrow dumped in a hedge. It had a burst tyre, but we only needed the actual metal wheel, so we tied it on the roof, took it home, used the wheel part and disposed of the rest in the correct manner. I am hoping to get up to the woods some time this week, camera in hand, to see what fungi are about - it's been wet and warm, so feeling optimistic.
Those of you who know me know I am a great fam of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; there is a good page on foraging in the September issue of Country Living by him, and the quote here sums it all up neatly:

"For me, learning how to raid nature's larder has never been an exercise in survival. The shortages I mean to address are not the urgent ones of nutrition and shelter but the more widespread modern social famine in quality of life. I happen to believe that our lives will be better if we can achieve some closenesss to the natural environment, and some understanding of the nautre and origins of what we eat. Growing your own food fosters these aims to a considerable degree. But a knowledge and appreciation of wild food completes the picture...................

Wild food is much more than something for nothing. It's something for everyone"


Leanne said...

Thats a great quote Sarah, (i am another HTW fan, as you know!) We had one area of blackberries here that were almost ready a week ago, when I went back ths week someone else had picked them all! (rolls eyes!) The others here are still green so they will be a while. I am planning to take a walk this week, and try to find some more ripe berries!

leanne x

Pedro Claus Kube said...

Ola , Sarah .
excellent Blog ,

Greetings from Brazil,
Pedro Claus