I was looking for something to do on the holiday Monday earlier this month, and after a bit of Googling I discovered that there was a free wild food event going on at Cambo! It goes to show that it's always worth keeping an eye on what's happening in your local area. I love visiting the gardens at Cambo anyway, and hadn't been there in a while. Luckily the rain cleared up in time for me arriving there.
There were various things going on, and I decided to go on a foraging walk with Monica Wilde. I later found out that she runs Napiers the herbalist, whose Edinburgh shop has been one of my favourite haunts since my student days.
Monica was really knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. It was amazing how many edible plants you could find in a small area. Along the way we tasted various flowers and leaves, and she gave hints and tips on how to recognise them (and tell them apart from their poisonous cousins!). When she started talking about mast cells in relation to hay fever, I realised just how knowledgeable she was on the science behind the medicinal uses of the plants!
I seemed to be about the only person on the walk who wasn't there with their children or grandchildren. I find it a bit sad that people think they can only go and do fun things for the sake of their children! The walk was just as interesting for adults.
The walk lasted for about an hour, but the time seemed to pass very quickly. Afterwards I watched a cooking demonstration where a chef showed how to make a delicious and beautiful salad using various foraged items. I also tasted a couple of seaweeds from Mara Seaweed, sprinkled over slices of apple, and ended up buying some of their Shony seaweed which had a taste that reminded me of Japan.
Before I drove home, I headed back to the side of the stream to gather a few handfuls of wild garlic. When I got home I used this to make a pesto using cashew nuts, and a soup. I was also really excited to be able to make a small salad from edible leaves and flowers I found in my own garden!
I've really been bitten by the foraging bug! I brought home a little leaflet, but I'm planning to buy a guidebook on the subject soon, so that I can get started foraging on my own. It reminds me of when I was a child with my wildflowers guide, but with the added bonus of being able to eat the things I spot!