As a boy I’d pick field mushrooms from our farm paddocks in Autumn and Wild Blackberries in Summer. I didn’t realise at the time, but this childhood experience would return into my adulthood and with a greater importance than just a childish folly. Years ago I started on a journey of food and a new way to embrace life. I began to distance myself from my old habits of reliance on supermarket food, instead I embraced the practice of growing my own, learning about new ingredients and the seasonal availability of food. Foraging just seemed to fit perfectly into the experience. It made sense to harvest what nature provided. I learnt what each season provided and began to create recipes that return each year that are now part of my food culture. Foraged nuts are picked in Autumn, dried and enjoyed for the following year in pesto, cakes and salads. The full flavour of forest mushroom species give us many loved seasonal recipes enjoyed in soups, pies, pasta’s and bruschetta. Nettle provides some much needed freshness in early spring and when we visit the coast, muscles and molluscs provide the taste of the coast. Wild fruit trees on country roads provide us with fruit to preserve for the winter lull. Elderflower trees provide aromatic flowers that makes a refreshing cordial we enjoy on hot summer days.
Foraging has it’s roots in a peasant culture and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a good thing to have a closer relationship with the cycles of nature. After all, we are very much a part of it.