Colliers Cookery School, located just 30 mins outside of Ludlow, is hosting a Foraging Day with Adele Nozedar, best-selling author of ‘The Hedgerow Handbook’ and ‘Foraging with Kids’. Adele is a forager with 21 years of experience and runs the ‘Brecon Beacons Foraging Company’.
The Foraging Day comprises a wander around the cookery school’s garden and fields where Adele will help you recognise fungi and fauna, including lesser-known plants which may be regarded as ornamental but are edible too. Adele says people are often surprised to discover a plant or two that they otherwise overlooked or were weeding out of their own garden for years.
It’s a day to embrace the start of autumn. Guests will be welcomed with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and hopefully some roasted chestnuts. Lunch is provided after the foraging session, followed by an interactive cooking demonstration with Adele over outdoor fires and in the kitchens.
Adele gives us a bit more insight in the Q&A below into just what foraging is, why you should consider doing it and how to do it safely.
What exactly is foraging?
Put very simply, it is the practice of gathering edible and medicinal herbs, fungi and other plants. Of course, there’s much more to it than meets the eye — looking for plants means that we notice other aspects of the natural world, too. We realise that we are a part of nature!
If you’ve never tried foraging before, why should you?
Chances are that everyone reading this will already have been foraging without realising it. If you’ve picked blackberries, then you’ve been foraging! This is part of the birthright of human beings, and although we have skipped a couple of generations, it is a habit that is ingrained into our DNA. Foraging connects us directly with nature, something that’s very important when many of us feel we are losing that connection.
If you could bust a one myth about foraging it would be…
The one that springs to mind is when people say ‘a weed is just a plant that’s in the wrong place’. This only works if you’re human! If you’re a bee of hoverfly for example, dandelions are very much in the right place, wherever they are!
What are the safe places to forage?
It’s not so much the place that will be safe so much as the attitude of the person foraging. We should only choose to eat plants which we know categorically to be safe.
Tell us about your recent book, Foraging with Kids and what motivated you to write it.
It was published in the UK and USA last yea and was written as a result of taking out lots of family groups, and realising that it was the children who ask the most thought-provoking, interesting and lateral questions! The book is aimed at families learning together. At the same time as being a foraging guide, it’s also a cook book and a colouring book — as you find each plant you colour it in as a way of helping with identification.
I also include not only the botanical names of the plants, but the folk names in many languages as a way to show that our wild stuff grows all over the world (an idea which ties us together as human beings no matter our race, colour or religion). I also leave a blank space for children to write in their own name for a plant, based on their own observations. This was inspired by a 5 year old who, on a walk, insisted on naming all the plants and came up with ‘needle plant’ for nettle…he stumbled on the exact reason the plant is so named. ‘Nettle’ is a derivation of ‘needle’ and describes the stinging quality of it very clearly.
Why are excited to do the course at Collier’s Cookery?
Firstly, it’s in a very beautiful place. The landscape is gorgoeus, as is the school. I haven’t visited during Autumn and I’m excited to see what we will find there.
Secondly, I love Autumn and I love bonfires! I also love cooking over fire and we will be doing this, weather permitting, during the day!
I can’t actually think of a better way of spending time, foraging, eating and making friends in a beautiful place with lovely people!
Adele will be giving a talk and tastings this weekend at the Ludlow Food Festival, to find out more click here
Children are more than welcome and encouraged to participate, although they must be accompanied by an adult. Further details are on the website www.collierscookery.com or don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information.