By guest blogger ANGELA CONNELLY
With some trepidation, I embarked upon a late winter forage with herbalist Jesper Launder. While I remembered to bring a basket, I remained dubious over the chances of filling it with much. Within minutes of walking into Fletcher Moss Park, however, Jesper's foraging antenna was activated. Among what I thought were just common garden weeds were some interesting edible salad items. Jesper also shared his in-depth knowledge on the healing properties to be found in and on the ground. The highlight had to be birch sap, or nature's natural isotonic, which we were shown how to extract from the tree. Not only is it cheaper than Gatorade, this clear-tasting liquid can be made into wine (more on this later).
In addition to all of this, we happened upon a patch of wild mushrooms, and as we neared the main park entrance at the end of our forage, Jesper decided to cook up a wild mushroom omelette, also using some of the beautiful wild garlic we found. All of this on a mini-camper ring! To top it all off, in best Blue Peter fashion, out came some pre-made birch wine. Hic... So even though it was sub-5 degrees on a crisp wintry February day, we were warmed and fed, and there were even some leftovers in the basket. If this is the winter yield, I can't wait to see what wild food the summer brings!
See our Facebook page for more photos from the 26 February forage: click here to be redirected. The next trip with Jesper is the Early Spring Forage this weekend: Sunday 25 March, 11am-2pm, Fletcher Moss Park. Visit the CGF website for booking details: click here.