(The ante has certainly been upped!). A big thank you to Szymon, biologist, forager and educator in wild plants for his fantastic foraging guided walk. Not only did we get to walk in the lovely Almondell and Calderwood country park, we also got to learn to identify plants (especially tasty ones). Szymon had a wealth of stories and information regarding human associations with plants and their uses.
To round off the splendid affair we had a hearty feast provided by Szymon which included omelettes with oyster mushrooms and wild garlic, a salad of sweet Cecily and wild garlic leaves. Accompanied by pickled magnolia leaves, dried seaweed and meadowsweet yarrow tea. The time flew by as we discussed modern eating habits, loss of connection to local flora and some of the guidelines to foraging – that there is the ideal notion of constant learning, what species are present in your local area, when and what do you harvest. Wild garlic a good example for this time of year – there is an abundance of leaf cover (which is very tasty) you can harvest up to a third of the crop (if no one else is foraging) that you take from all over, not just taking from one section. As garlic takes seven years to mature care should be taken to just remove the leaves, using scissors preferably. In contrast few flowered leek, being a non-native species can be harvested fully which would reduce its competition with native garlic.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum, left) and few flowered leek (Allium Paradoxum, right)
My fellow walkers and I benefitted from Szymon’s wealth of experience which he has developed since he was a small child through knowledge passed down and a curious spirit. His know-how allowed us to safely and confidently delve respectfully into natures larder.
Thanks again goes to Szymon for a thoroughly engaging walk and super lunch. My colleagues were rightly envious of my day out and are looking to arrange another walk to enjoy the bounty of a different season with Szymon. Keep an eye on the website for more information. You can find out more about Szymon and foraging at his website https://foragerium.co.uk