Wild foods have become very trendy and where better to learn about the skills of foraging than with the UK's leading wild food teaching resource - Wild Food School?
Long before wild food and foraging became fashionable Wild Food School featured on BBC Countryfile, Westcountry TV and the Good Food Channel ('Simon Rimmer's Dinners'), has appeared in The Times, Sunday Express, and other publications like Countryfile Magazine, been involved in numerous BBC Radio broadcasts, and frequently advises TV production companies (recently appeared on the BBC's Great British Menu in March / April 2012).
Now the world has caught up with wild foods, and Marcus Harrison who runs Wild Food School foraging courses has had an interest in wild foods for over 35 years, being brought up on a farm until his late teens and acquiring, in the process, an absolutely instinctive feel and understanding for the English countryside. Marcus regularly gives talks on wild foods at the Eden Project, and from time to time at the Natural History Museum [next in August & October, 2013], and has written for the NHM's Evolve magazine. More recently, his work appeared in a United Nations FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization) publication (Spring, 2013).
Maybe you're a cutting-edge chef looking for inspired culinary twists to tempt clients, or a complete novice curious to try dandelion coffee, or maybe an elite survival professional trained to live on the edge of existence and looking to go the extra mile? Wild Food School is unique in being able to offer foraging courses and expertise at every level.
So, if the idea of telling your friends that you've been eating nettles and thistles tickles you, or the prospect of being food-savvy in the wild rings a bell with your outlook on life then Wild Food School foraging courses will capture your imagination and inspire you.
The foraging courses are essentially 'fluid', offering everything from introductory half-day sessions to week-long courses where students can gain hands-on experience in identifying and using some 40 to 90+ [depending on season] of Britain's 160+ native and indigenous edible wild plants, and do so in a relaxed learning environment. A postal course is also available, while off-schedule courses can be specifically tailored to a client's needs.
Wild Food School is the only solely dedicated, year-round, operation of its kind in the UK. Increasingly there are foraging courses offered by those with very little knowledge or experience, which can be dangerous. So beware. Not all foraging courses are equal.
When not inspiring the next generation of wild foodies there's lots of behind the scenes historical, geographical and technical research going on. Marcus' botanical knowledge-base covers most of the northern hemisphere (with a few tropical subjects covered too), while on the historical side seven years of academic-level research in the British Library (for a book) provides a 1,500 year contextual backdrop to the modern use of edible wild food. It's an immense breadth of expertise virtually unavailable elsewhere, and routinely feeding back into the courses keeping them fresh, inspiring and up-to-date.
The foraging courses are based in Cornwall around the picturesque town of Lostwithiel and are totally immersive - from simple identification of edible wild plant species, to their safe preparation and cooking. Because nature and the seasons are constantly shifting no two sessions are really ever the same; being guided by what plants are seasonally available and to the preferences of those attending: using wild food ingredients in ethnic-style cuisine, survival enthusiasts seeking new food options, beginners looking for a helping hand on the wild food ladder, or perhaps a historical and ethnobotanical twist. Be inspired by the possibilities!