I have always loved the autumn on the farm – the time to pick nature’s harvest - blackberries, sloes, elderberries and mushrooms. When we discussed organising a foraging day with expert Greg Power, I was really excited to discover what treasures he would find, apart from the obvious autumn fruits and fungi.
Yesterday Greg came up to do a preliminary scout around and I went for a walk along the valley with him. His knowledge of the natural world is extraordinary and all self- taught. The first thing I learnt from him was that the best remedy for nettle stings is plaintain leaves, not dock leaves. Wish I had known that 2 days earlier when I was stung all over collecting blackberries! He had me tasting common sorrel, hawthorn berries, willow leaves... I should have taken a notebook with me as he was finding things every few minutes.
There is a stream which runs along the valley and I thought this would be a good place to look for plants. We were both excited by the number of plants he found: in the stream we found Fools Watercress, then beside that a plant called Water Pepper (persicaria hydropepper) – a hot, peppery taste and which the Japanese use the leaves with sushi. We also found water mint – which I had never noticed before but is the most common form of mint.
I had expected to find edible plants but I was really surprised by the number of medicinal plants we found within a very small area. Yarrow (achillia millefolium), Self Heal (prunella vulgaris), Shepherds Purse (capsella bursa-pastroris) and walking back into our garden he found Valerian, Mugwort and in our walled garden we have nasturtiums, parsley, dill, fennel and much more.
It was a fascinating hour or so and made me look at the fields and hedgerows with new eyes – there is so much to see and we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, rich in nature’s bounty.
Come and join us on October 8th – it will be a day to treasure!
You can find out more about the Foraging Workshop here »