When my eldest was only three I booked myself and her on an afternoon foraging course. It was a wild early spring day and we donned our hats and coats and met on a beach with a group of like minded (and brave) people. Of course she was the only child there, but she loved our special day. I had a six month old baby at home and this was our grown up important time together. She was so interested, asked appropriate questions and was the only one out of the whole group who volunteered to eat freshly picked nettles. I don’t know if she was brave or naive at this point but the group leader was slightly worried as she was so young and didn’t let her.
We often find things on our beach wanders together and say, “hey we tried this on our foraging day” Unfortunately the day also scared me slightly with tales of nasty ends for certain foragers who ate the wrong thing! So we have never actually foraged for our supper, but I have always been keen to learn more. I like to think if my life had panned out slightly differently I would have been a herbalist or a ” good life” type growing and cooking only my own produce. But i didn’t and I never will, but I had my afternoon of foraging wonder and I hope to have some more one day.
Which brings me onto the present. I went to the empty beach again today and had a wonderful family morning watching the clouds and the waves and the seagulls. The wind was not so biting and the little Fleur didn’t turn blue. We were joined in the afternoon by some friends when all of a sudden a chef from the nearby beach restaurant came running out of the kitchen holding a small silver pan and ran the length of the beach. I was quite excited, she was going to forage, right here on this beach and cook up her finds for the customers in the restaurant. She ran to the far headland, got out her knife and carefully cut something off a large rock, filled her pan with it and sprinted back. The whole process took no more than ten minutes, but it made my day. I have no idea what she found, but that wasn’t the point, It stirred my interest again, got me thinking again. It also made me marvel once more about this area we live in, how wonderful for a chef to pelt across the beach during a busy lunch time rush to grab a bit of seaweed (I am guessing here, don’t quote me)
So my dreams of living off the land have been stirred, but I quite like the idea of having lunch again at the restaurant in the very near future as my first stop to this way of life.