Perfect time for a little foraging
One of our country's greatest features is it's seasonality. Friends who have left Britain for more tropical regions always say how they miss our seasons and how the British countryside is an ever changing joy. Having basked in a glorious summer, enjoying endless outdoor entertaining, paddling in streams and taking refuge in the shade, we are now moving into autumn. Colours are beginning to change and the great colour spectacle is yet to come. Now is the perfect time to stock up with provisions before the winter sets in.
Our farm, with it's miles of hedgerows, is stocked with healthy seasonal food; apples, berries and nuts, all healthy tasty supplements to our diet. Whilst we've been picking blackberries since August, there are more still out there. Amazingly there are over 300 microspecies of blackberries in our countryside, which explains their long season. Around the farm are hips, haws, hops, elderberries, cob nuts and tons of sloes. Not being a beer lover allows me to enjoy the hops for their beauty and usefulness in flower arrangements. However, the sloes make for some body warming liqueur. Rather than traditionally waiting for the first frosts before you pick your sloes, pick now and place in the freezer overnight - it works brilliantly and there's no need to prick them over with a fork!
We're thrilled that one of our fields which has recently been ploughed and reseeded has come out in a rash of field mushrooms - a real seasonal treat. Whilst the farm boasts a plethera of other fungi I've never been tempted out of my comfort zone of only eating field mushrooms. However, for the more adventurous of you we are sure there are plenty of other treats to find. With the help of all the field guides in TCB, along with the brilliant book "Food for Free" by Richard Mabey, we are sure you won't poison yourselves - always check a number of sources to make sure you are confident with what you have found!
Guests are welcome to forage at large. Around the farm, in the orchard, and in TCB's garden, there is plenty to find. Get out there, enjoy yourselves, stock your cupboards and immerse yourselves in this glorious time of the year. Remember, if you go foraging, only take what you need so that there is enough of the plant left to reproduce and for others to enjoy.
Health and Safety Footnote!
Some foraging do's and don'ts:
- Do make sure you can identify the fruit or leaves that you've found.
- Do wash your harvest well, wherever you have collected it.
- Don’t allow children to pick or eat wild food unsupervised.
- Don't eat an unhealthy looking plant or fruit.