Sorry it’s been awhile, but unfortunately I have been ill.
I want to talk about foraging as there has been a lot of talk about it on social media and various blogs. There are several things you need to remember if you do want to give it a go. Firstly and most importantly is it is a criminal offence to uproot wild plants and flowers. It is ok to pick wild flowers, but please don’t pick lots of them and if there is only a small patch of your preferred flower, leave them alone. Flowers support many insects as well as the bees that we all know about.
For fruits, berries and herbs, it goes without saying that you need to be 100% sure that what you’re eating is definitely what you think it is. There are several books, apps and courses that you might like to consider first. For instance, wild chervil is a delicious herb, but it also looks almost identical to hemlock, a deadly plant that will dispatch you into the realm of ‘rookie ex-forager’ with an alarming degree of haste. Even if you’re completely sure that you’ve got the right thing, it’s standard practice to try a small amount first to rather than dive straight into a bowlful of what you’ve just found. While foraging in public spaces and footpaths is perfectly legal, this isn’t the case on private land without the permission of the owner, so do check first. While I probably don’t need to expand on this too much, when foraging along public footpaths, be wary of spots that could possibly be at ‘dog pee height’. Also be mindful of areas that are near roads ideally you need to be 20 metres from the road. The taste of exhaust fumes won’t be a great addition to your wild supper. Finally, if you do find a special patch of an amazing wild food, pick with discretion – this isn’t just about leaving some for other people, it’s more about the animals and birds that rely on those. You could consider planting something in your garden just for the birds and animals. I have a hazelnut tree that I have never had a nut from as the squirrels always get there first. I have a cherry tree too, that the birds have most of the cherries.
Finally take care and enjoy.
PF Environmental Officer