13 August 2010

GUEST BLOG: Cracking good forage

By guest blogger SARAH-CLARE CONLON

Back in April, I was all geared up for making Sunday lunch for my brother-in-law's family, but they cancelled at the last minute, so I decided to take advantage of the early summer warmth and go on an organised forage on Fletcher Moss in Didsbury instead. I'm so glad the plans changed - the herb hunt was brilliant, the sun shone brightly throughout and I met some really lovely folk, including Jesper Launder, the local herbalist who was running the event. We spent a good three hours rummaging around under bushes and alongside boardwalks, and came out clutching all manner of food, including aniseed-tinged Sweet Cicely, tangy three-cornered leeks, pungent ramsons (wild garlic) and even some meaty St George's mushrooms. We were taught how to identify the correct species and shown some failsafe doublechecking procedures, and, after our wander, I was pleased to source my own plentiful supply of fungi friends a bit closer to home, giving me a free and flavoursome addition to risotto and pasta well into May.

Cracking Good Food is giving you the chance to join Jesper in Chorlton for a wild food workshop and cook-up. The special cracking good forage on Chorlton Ees takes place on Sunday 5 September 2pm-5pm, and you can expect to find mushrooms as well as other edible plants.

Jesper has been collecting wild plants to eat for more than 25 years and this workshop will give you the chance to benefit from his vast identification experience and knowledge of local growing places, and will help you spot the first free bounty of autumn. The amble through the Ees will last about two and half hours and will be capped off with some wild food tasting using the results of your foraging.

The event is the usual £15 or £10 concessions, and full details on booking can be found on the Cracking Good Food website. BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT! The food forage sets off from Ivygreen carpark (opposite the Bowling Green pub) at 2pm. Don't forget to dress for the weather, although we will have shelter for when we get cooking!

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