Top 10 foraging courses

Foraging has been popular for some years now, and enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places is only increasing. The trend seems particularly salient in the climate of unacceptable food waste and the demands from supermarkets for perfection.

11th January 2013

1) Wild Man Wild Food

Fergus the forager, as he calls himself, provides unusual and absorbing days of foraging, which usually last for a very full 12 or 13 hours. Habitats for foraging include woodland, field, river and seashore.

Lunch and dinner are created on an open fire from foraged foods on the day, and are both three course meals.  Participants get a tasty drink and pickle to take home, samples of pre-prepared wild foods throughout the day and information guides. 

Reviews of this one-day course are exclamatory, and Fergus’ blog is certainly worth a browse, to glimpse into the mind of a very experimental forager.

2) Foraging courses with Robin Harford

Robin Harford has often been in the foraging spotlight, and he is creator of the UK’s leading wild food site Eatweeds.co.uk. He runs courses countrywide, with varying accommodating prices.

The courses teach people how to identify a minimum of 20 edible plants, how to cook and prepare them, how to forage sustainably, as well as learning different plant stories, their nutritional values, their folklore, mystery and history.

3) Wild Food School with Marcus Harrison

This school offers flexible courses with a thorough approach to identifying, preparing and cooking edible wild plants.  The courses are based in Lostwithiel in Cornwall and are guided, by season, with Marcus Harrison’s expert knowledge of botanics which provides an academic backdrop.

Regular courses of varying length are available, while off-schedule courses can be tailored to individual groups.

4) Taste the Wild

Taste the Wild offers one and two day Coastal Foraging & Fishing Courses that scour the rocky coast of North Yorkshire or the shores of Cumbria. The course helps foragers to find edible plants, seaweed and shellfish, searching in pools and gullies. They also offer Wild Food, Foraging & Cooking Courses to suit the landlubber.

5) Fat Hen

Professional forager, ecologist and cook, Caroline Davey runs cookery courses known for indulgence. Their Wild Food Cycling Days sound particularly exciting, with on and off-road terrain providing the harvesting site and cycle trail. A 3 course wild lunch is offered on the beach if the weather is good, or under shelter if not.

6) Truffle hunting in Dorset

This course is a bit more expensive than some, but then its treasures are more highly prized. Learn about truffles with an introductory talk before hunting with trained truffle-hunting dogs in a secret location in Dorset woodland. Hunters then sample their finds over afternoon tea.

7) The Secret Sunday Mushroom Club

The Secret Sunday Mushroom Club provides the forager with an organized hunt for mushrooms, over five Sundays during the peak of the autumn mushroom season.  You have to be a member to find out each location, details of which are only released a couple of days beforehand, so that the organisers can determine which ground has the richest pickings.

8) Foraging with Don and Ed in Pembrokeshire

With forager Don Lawrence and cook Ed Sykes, this guided walk through a glorious part of Wales is very promising

With Llys Meddyg as base camp, estuary, seashore and forest habitats are all within a short walking distance. From January onwards, the focus of the course is on Pembrokshire’s shoreline, searching for shellfish and seaweed. Courses run every Saturday for around 4 hours, times dictated by the tide.

9) Urban Foraging

If you live in an urban environment and don’t believe foraging is practical, be inspired by this course which prides itself on uncovering the "abundance of wild food in the city."

Foraged foods include: elder, blackberries, hawthorn, rosehip, wild apples and mushrooms. After a morning of foraging, cookery teacher Anna Colquhoun provides a cookery demonstration of the foraged foods and samples of her homemade liquors. Foragers will also get to take home some hedgerow jelly and a pack of tips for city foraging including recipes.

The Food Safari website offers a wide range of wholesome food courses across the country.

10) Woodland Ways Bushcraft & Survival

Held near Appleton in Oxford, these seasonal hands-on courses teach flora identification, how to harvest sustainably and then how to prepare the ingredients. There are regular tasting sessions and the opportunity to cook the ingredients yourself – including cooking game around the camp fire – a choice usually from rabbit, pigeon, partridge, pheasant and trout.

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