Foraging in Guernsey…Footloose and foraging free

D’Arcy spent time with Neil Sowerby and here’s his article……

‘D’ARCY Brimson flickers a fire into life with a flint. We’re out on the rocks below Guernsey’s Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum on Roquaine Bay. All around is seaweed that forager D’Arcy and his partner Tara put to any number of culinary uses but our immediate aim is to boil up some rock samphire, drain and serve with a pat of that deep yellow butter that sings of the dairy riches of this beautiful Channel Island.

Food For Free was Richard Mabey’s groundbreaking 1972 book and it’s still the forager’s bible. Walking the couple’s organic farm we pluck yarrow and pennyroyal, wild fennel and plantain. Take yarrow. When young sons Hugo and Humphrey sting themselves on nettles (edible, too) they rub on yarrow – better than dock leaves. Ancient Greek hero Achilles used it to staunch the wounds of his troops.

There’s such lore aplenty if you book in for a course with the Brimsons’ Wild Guernsey project with ‘wild camping’ available on the farm in the summer months. You could get a taster at the first Guernsey International Food Festival, which runs from September 18-27. Among Wild Guernsey’s special offers is a ‘Fire and forage workshop’ for £20 for two hours per person (making a fire, finding wild food and sampling wild treats).’

Photo – Rosa rugosa, nettle, mint and lemon balm tea. You’ll see Rosa rugosa, or ramanas rose, growing all over the place. Used as hedging and with fruits that ripen late summer. I’ve found a flower bud here in my (budding!) Forest garden, soon to be Permablitz (An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to create or add to edible gardens, share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living, build community and have fun) by our local permaculture group along with an intro into Forest Gardening (join the facebook page  if you are interested in Permculture in the Channel islands).


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