Archives August 2019

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Feeling a little down? 7 Ways Nature can Improve your Mood

We truly believe that getting back to nature and spending time outdoors is food for the soul. This is where our motto “GO TO GROW” comes from. We consider it part of our job to bring you a little closer to nature.

It is so easy to become wrapped up in the negative news that we find ourselves surrounded with today. The media constantly promotes the most glum stories from around the world, forcing us to latch on to doom and gloom in our everyday lives.

By removing ourselves from the chaotic push notifications and online opinion race we can give ourselves a chance to breathe in some fresh air and reflect on the positive things that make us a little happier.

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Here are 7 ways nature can help to improve your mood:

1. Restore Balance

Positive engagement with natural landscapes will make you sit back and see that imperfections can be wonderful when we embrace them. “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful” Alice Walker has said it all with this quotation.

2. Reduce Feelings of Anxiety

We all get stressed sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead re-align your attention. Focusing on wild plants, the movements of small creatures and listening to fresh water running through a forest allows your mind to cool down and touch base with reality.

3. Absorb Natural Light

It is well documented that exposure to natural light is beneficial for your overall health. Sunlight releases Serotonin, a hormone that is associated with positive energy and clear thinking. The lack of sun is why some suffer with the winter blues.

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4. An Easy Path to Exercise

If you are like me and tend to avoid the gym then getting out into the woods is a real way to get some exercise. Whether you want a leisurely stroll in the woods or to increase your steps per day, being outdoors is the way to go. Better yet you can try an activity like fruit picking, hiking or foraging to get your heart pumping a little more.

5. Connect with the Natural World

These days it is easy to lose sight of the changes happening in the wilderness but when you go for a hike, cycle or spend anytime in the natural landscapes you can see the seasons change and admire the trees as they work their magic.

6. Improve problem solving

If you are suffering with a creative block than you may need to head for the hills. Spending time in the same position, same chair, same office, same environment isn’t going to help solve the problem arising in that very position. Remove yourself from a situation to look at it with another perspective. A walk in the woods can help to clear your mind and may lead to more creative thinking about a current problem that you are facing.

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7. Focus on one thing at a time

This is connected with mindful living and has become popular now that we are aware of our constant battle with the past and future. Why did that happen to me? What is in store for me in the future? Do these questions look familiar to you. We all ask them but what if we turned off for a short time and focused only on the present. We find that it is much easier to allow yourself to turn off when you are walking in a natural environment.

Don’t take our word for it, a researcher from a University in Canada has clinically proven the connection between our natural surroundings and personal well being.

Join us for a food or foraging adventure outdoors to learn more about our deep rooted connection with the land and get a taste of the wild goodness around you.

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Blackberry Season: Apple and Blackberry Crumble Recipe

This is the ultimate treat any time of the year. It is warm, sweet and super delicious. Try our homemade apple and blackberry crumble for the perfect taste of Autumn.

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Crumble Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 70g unsalted butter

Fruit Mix

  • 300g Apples
  • 3 cups of wild blackberries
  • 30g of demerara sugar
  • 30g of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the crumble:

Be prepared to get your hands dirty here. Add the flour to a large bowl. Cut the butter into small squares and add to the same bowl. Wash your hands and dry them. Now put your finger tips into the bowl and begin to crumble your mixture. The mix should look like small pieces of soft granola. If you over mix, it will become light and fluffy. You don’t want this to happen so avoid rubbing too much. You want some bigger crumble bits to go alongside the chunky apple.

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For the fruit layer:

Carefully peel and chop apples into small and big chunks. Don’t worry about perfect sizes, this recipe is supposed to be messy. Enjoy chopping up your apples into different sizes. Put your freshly picked blackberries into a small bowl and wash them gently under cool water. Add the apples to a pot and add a small small of water. Leave them to stew for 5 to 10 minutes. Now add the blackberries. They will quickly stew into a nice juice Slowly pour 1 cup of sugar over the mixture. Leave them to stew on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Now you are ready to put your crumbly dessert together. Start by pouring the Apple and blackberry mix into an oven dish. Now sprinkle your crumble over the top. Place the dish in your heated over for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Delicious!

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Reconnecting with our food for Sustainable Living

With all of this talk of Climate change it is easy for media outlets and studies to play the blame game. However as we are all to blame isn’t it better if we begin to tackle the issues resulting in all of environmental destruction we see around us together.

We can’t go back in time to change our farming processes, our over reliance on the meat industry, our greed for fossil fuels and our refusal to see the signs from natural disasters around us but we can work towards a new value system.

I hate that sustainable living has become a buzz word today. We are all capable of getting back to nature and that is called living. Taking a walk in the woodlands, breathing in the fresh air, getting to know the plants around us and how our ancestors used those plants to feed themselves in the past is a sustainable way forward. If we reach into our childhood curiosity we can find creative solutions and abandon our over reliance on convenient produce that is contributing to the damages that we see in the environment today.

Foraging is one way that we can reconnect with the land. Taking all of it’s principles and building a brighter future.

A special UN and IPCC report on the impact of land management practices on our ever changing climate is significant. Food production, consumption and waste are three key areas that we must tackle to prevent further degradation of our landscapes. A collective approach is always best and we can by simply learning about the foods we eat and valuing where that food comes from. Here are five food choices that will help us to step away from materialism and towards sustainable living.

  1. Admire and Value Nature

It is easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. Many of us spend our days rushing from here to there or cramming into a train to get from A to B.

2. Enjoy your local farmers market

Visiting a local farmers market is always a treat. Not only does a market offer fresh produce and seasonal foods, it is a place that values community. Hang around, have a coffee, talk to the vendors and get some tips.

3. Love Fruit

Fruit is easy to ignore when you reach the supermarket because it is usually positionned right beside rows of carb deliciousness and shelves of nuts that call for our attention but never underestimate the juiciness of a Spanish orange. Organic fruit or freshly picked fruit is packed full of flavor and goodness.

4. Know where your food is coming from

Taking time to learn about where our food comes from may be the biggest way that we can contribute to the environment today. Picking is hard work. It is physically demanding and the hours are long if you plan on taking it up full time for the harvest season. Fruit picking is also one of the most rewarding ways to spend an afternoon and to witness and understand the intensive labor it takes to get your fruits to the market stalls.

5. Go Foraging with Friends

Last but certainly not least forage with friends. Joining a local or international foraging tour will open your eyes, give you plenty of food for thought and give you a taste of the last around you.

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some easy tips to start thinking about your daily food habits in a mindful way. We hope this gives you some food for thought and look forward to living closer with nature in a sustainable world.

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6 Wild Edible Plants found by the Sea

When people think of Coastal Foraging they often only consider the varieties of seaweeds and shellfish on offer but believe us, the wild edible plants growing by the seaside will give you plenty of food for thought. Conditions by the coast can make it difficult for some commonly found plants to survive. Strong winds and high tides are no match for these sturdy plants.

Here are just a few of our favourite wild edible plants to forage for by the sea:

Sea Beet

First and foremost is the dark green wild plant of Sea beet. This healthy green will greet you alongside sandy and rocky beaches across Europe. Like spinach the leaves can be added to stir-fry’s, used as a bed for your fish dishes and are a delicious vitamin full addition to your breakfast smoothies.

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Ox Eye Daisies

You can’t miss this friendly edible plant. In the past Ox Eye Daisies were used to treat coughs, asthma, ulcers and to clear sinus problems. It is a diuretic and a tonic. The flowers can be pickled or covered in batter and the young leaves can be used in a summer salad.

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Sea Radish

Looking for a homegrown supply of tasty greens to add to salads and dishes than sea radish is a great alternative source of greens that can be foraged all year round. This yellow headed grows in coastal areas and shines brightly in the summer months. The leaves work well in pesto recipes and the small pods are a great addition to summer salads.

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Yarrow

Be careful not to confuse yarrow for other poisonous plants such as hemlock. Both have white heads for flowers but there are two distinguishing features of Yarrow to look out for. First the glimpses of yellow in the flower heads and next the unmistakable fern-like leaves. They usually grow in groups and pop up in wasteland, countryside trails and along coastal pathways.

Sea Rocket

This coastal friend is a member of the mustard family. With great amounts of Potassium, calcium and Vitamin B this plant can provide a welcome boost to the immune system and all parts of the sea rocket plant are edible. This wild plant holds water and its hard, fleshy leaves make it easier to withstand any harsh coastal climate. Herbalists love to speak about the health benefits of this common wild plant.

We hope that you enjoy discovering these wild edible plants and find others to add to your favourite dishes. The great thing about foraging is that the land changes with the seasons are there are different plant varieties to be discovered throughout the year.

To start recording your foraging adventures feel free to download our Foragers Planner Pack and we have a special Herb Planner Pack for herb lovers out there.

To join us on on our food and foraging adventures please contact a member of the team.

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Blackberry Season: Blackberry and Banana Smoothie Recipe

Detox and Delicious! This blackberry and banana smoothie is the perfect treat at the end of your foraging outings during the blackberry picking season. Packed with vitamin C, high in fibre and full of anti-oxidants you will have a refreshing fruit drink full of health benefits. Plus, the recipe is super easy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Blackberries
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup of Natural Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of Natural Honey

Instructions

Wash your blackberries once you have picked them to remove any insects.

Peel the banana and mash it lightly with a fork.

Put the berries, banana, yogurt and 1 large teaspoon of honey into a bowl. Use a hand blender or any blender to mix the ingredients.

If you enjoy this super easy blackberry and banana smoothie recipe than you may like our wild tea recipe collection.

Enjoy! To learn more about our foraging adventures please contact the team. Happy Blackberry picking all.

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Blackberry Season: Blackberry and Basil Salad Recipe

As foragers we love to discover rare plants and wild edibles all year round but the months of August and September are extra special. These are prime harvest months in Europe. Vines are weighed down with grapes and bushes are filled to the brim with ripe berries ready to be picked.

To celebrate one of our favourite times of the year when all of the blackberries start to appear on the bushes we will be telling you our top blackberry recipes each week for the next six weeks.

We will start with a blackberry and basil salad that we recently tried out for friends.

I can safely say that the mixture of sweet and fresh ingredients makes this wild salad recipe extra special.

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INGREDIENTS

Fresh wild blackberries
1/2 red Onion finely sliced
Foraged Seabeet and Lettuce Leaves
Feta Cheese
Toasted Almonds
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pick the berries and basil leaves. This is the most important part of the preparation. There are plenty of berries around at the moment. Head to the countryside or a nearby park with your foraging basket and enjoy spending time with nature. We grow basil at home so it’s easy to pick off our leaves.
  2. Gather the other ingredients from your local store and wash all of the greens and berries.
  3. Carefully slice half an onion into thin slices
  4. Cut the almond nuts in half and toast them lightly in a hot pan.
  5. Cut the feta cheese into cubes.
  6. Mix all of the ingredients in your salad bowl
  7. Sprinkle a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar over the top.

Fresh, seasonal and super tasty this is the perfect addition to any dinner party or weekend brunch.

We have some delicious blackberry recipes to share in the coming weeks so stay tuned and look forward to hearing some feedback. If you have any top berry recipes to share please get in touch.

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4 Wild Food Breaks for Autumn

Autumn is the time when the leaves start to dance. Colours of orange, red and brown mix with the deepest green to signal that a new season is here and everything is about to change. Taking a wild food break in Autumn can be a mouth-watering and eye opening experience.

The ground has spend the year soaking up with moisture and sun and now it is ready to shed its very best produce. From berries to nuts, the woodlands are alive with activity. Here are four delicious wild food breaks to enjoy in the Autumn:

A Taste of Ireland: Go Foraging with Friends

The Island of Ireland comes alive in the Autumn months.We offer a wide range of wild food day tours on our weekly foraging adventures but we also have a unique week long trip that brings you from coast to coast in Ireland. If you want to get a real taste of the Irish landscape we are here to help you make that dream possible. From foraging for cockles and mussels to creamy pints of Guinness join us in the Emerald Isle and get back to nature.

TOUR DETAILS

Join the Truffle Hunters in Italy

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There is no better time to experience the fruits of Italy then in the Autumn months when the vines are heavy with grapes and the woodlands are stuffed full of mushrooms. Our foraging friends in Northern Italy know all of the secret locations to bring you Truffle hunting and give you a true taste of the Italian lifestyle. Pizza, pasta and shavings of fresh truffles, what more could you ask for on a foodie holiday.

TOUR DETAILS

Sample the Grapes of the Douro Valley

Did you know that the Douro Valley is one of the most under rated wine regions in Europe. It is renowned for its vinho verde but it also has some crisp whites and reds for you to try out. The scenery in this area with leave you breathless. Grab a picnic and let our expert wine lovers guide you on the ultimate wine filled adventure.

TOUR DETAILS

Soak up the sunshine in the Algarve

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Another region of Portugal where the sun always shines is the beautiful Algarve. In southern Portugal we can bask in the sunshine all year round. We will bring you on a wine making excursion that will give you life-long memories. This is suitable for groups of up to 10 people. Learn about the local food traditions and how to make your very own vino in the heart of Europe’s most stunning landscapes.

TOUR DETAILS

For more information on any of our wild food experiences for Autumn please contact one of our travel experts.

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