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Eatweeds Wild Food Foraging


by Robin Hartford

Well Spring is in the air, the usual dance of warm day/cold day is still in play. The flowers of many trees and shrubs are blooming and now is the time to start making some exquisite, sensual floral vinegars. One of my favourites is Magnolia Flower Vinegar.

You can make it in about 30 minutes, and the transformation that occurs from clear white rice wine vinegar to a crimson red with an exotic taste, and a multitude of smells, all within 24 hours is something to experience.

The next recipe that I recently posted is my Thick Three Cornered Garlic and Kelp Tom Yum Soup.

With the weather not that predictable at the moment, the soup makes a hearty, warming welcome after a hard days work during the cold evenings that still crop up.

Recently I returned from Laos and Thailand and experienced some novel ways the Hill Tribes cook their wild edible plants. About 40% of their diet comes from plant foraging, of which there are hundreds of species. I also documented over 60 wild edibles, plants that I met along the Asia Trail.

The influences from my Asian and other global wild gourmet travelling shenanigans will be published in future issues of the Eatweeds newsletter.

People have been asking me to run another Edible Seashore course, so I am on Saturday, 14th June 2014. I am running it with my good friend and fellow forager Chris Holland. Read more…
This year Chris will again be running the ever popular Edible Hedgerow day course down in Devon on Saturday, 26th April. Places are limited to 8, and it’s always been a bit of a favourite. So if you’re up for a very special foraging day out, check the details.

New foraging walks and courses have been posted too, see…

Don’t forget that I am continually adding new course dates. Many get booked up before I am able to publish them in this newsletter. As a result in order to avoid disappointment and to be notified immediately course dates are released please join the foraging courses mailing list.

I hinted in the last issue of this newsletter the direction my own personal foraging journey is going. For the last three years I have been ‘location independent’, meaning that I am a nomadic wanderer who follows the plants around the world, wherever they lead me.

I hang out with plant people, plant healers, and have hill tribe guides who take me plant hunting in the forest, as well as feeding me from wild edibles we gather along the trails. I have never experienced such flavours. This is another world, another way of relating with the earth, another way of experiencing life.

I’ve learnt loads about simplicity, quality of life, what it truly means to be happy, as well as experiencing deep community and the relationship these people have with themselves, the plants and land.

We have lost so much of this knowledge and the foraging worldview, that it is only by exploring other cultures and their uses of the plants and the relationship they have with them that we will in the West, be able to somehow get a sense of the deeply, rich land-centric heritage we lost by becoming static, and enslaved to monoculture.

As a result you are going to see more of an international flavour to this newsletter… And of course I will still be using the British plants in upcoming recipes.

I certainly never expected to end up in Asia, it’s the kind of thing that happens when you start walking the Green Path, as my plant mentor Frank Cook used to call it.

You will soon find out on this strange plant adventure, that although you may think you are in control of your destiny, you are not… The plants are!

Strange things begin to happen, your life takes on an exuberance, an aliveness, Serendipity walks by your side, and the ancient primordial Flow embraces you, gently carrying you down your life journey, the one you where born into the world to live.

Resistance really is futile, you can’t outmanoeuvre a 450 million year old being for heaven’s sake, when you human, are less than 150,000 years old! And you think you are smart do you? Then why have you brought your Mother to the edge of ecocide?

Wake up, the old thinking and ways of looking at the world no longer serve the human spirit. It’s time to return to the earth, for without a strong foundation all our dreams and visions will tumble at the first puff of wind. Get out of your head, come to your senses.

In my own life the plants have taken over. I no longer struggle with their intention for me, I simply let go to the flow of life and what she chooses to place before me each day. It’s difficult to explain, you have to experience it. And it’s only a crush and a sniff and a surrendering away.


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