Food Foraging - free food is all around, if you just know where to look

PUBLISHED: 23:39 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:45 20 February 2013

Foragers at Harehope Quarry

Foragers at Harehope Quarry

It's de rigueur to eat local food these days – and there's nothing more local than in the region's woods and hedgerows, as Sue Campbell reports

Most of us would like to find a less expensive way of eating. In these straitened times, a bargain or a way of stretching the food budget a bit further is what were all after. But we have all heard the phrase theres not such thing as a free lunch. That may not be true, though.

How about picking it yourself? And no, I dont mean picking your own at those roadside strawberry and raspberry fields, but taking a walk on the wild side deep in the woods and hedgerows of the North East.

There are lot of places you can forage for your own food from wild garlic to nettles, from wild meat to elderflower.

And there are quite a few organisations in the North East where you can learn how to spot the good from the inedible.

You can also find some really interesting recipes using foraged food. You just have to know what you are doing. I am fortunate to have a restaurateur as a husband, and hes often brought back some tasty ingredient from a walk in the highways and byways near our reasonably rural home.

Two recent foraging events in the south of the have proved a huge success. The courses were organised by the Love Food project, which supports the production, use and appreciation of locally grown or reared food throughout Teesdale, Weardale, the Allen Valleys and Derwentside.

The first foraging day was at Cotherstone Mill in Teesdale, led by TCV Rotters director Martin Bacon together with their wild food specialist, Colin Davidson.

The second was at Harehope Quarry environmental education centre near Frosterly in Weardale, lead by Bruce Ferguson of Wild North Discovery, with support from Harehope.

The courses included instruction on safe foraging, wild food walks, fire making, wild meat catching, cooking and tasting wild foods and meats, and a total of 44 people from all over project area, including children came along.

Angela Whiting, the assistant to the director of Love Food, said: We had already had a similar event in Allendale, which proved very popular.
These two attracted a lot of takers from all over the project area and we had excellent feedback. People loved the nettle soup and elderflower wine and lots of people said they wanted to do it again.

Foraging is becoming very popular and a quick internet search of foraging in the North East throws up several expert organisations and individuals. Foraging may be the latest food trend. So nows the time to get in on it.

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