Archives September 2019

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What’s in Season? Foraging in October

Bolete Mushrooms, hazelnuts, rosehips and sloes are four of our favourite wild edibles for the month of October. Ripe fruits are falling, fungi is calling and it is time to step into nature. Autumn is the perfect time to stock up on some foraged treats.

What you could find

Rowen Berries

The distinctive orange Rowen berries grow in large groups and pair well with any red meat. The berries are also packed with Vitamin C.

Elderberries

Elderberries are ripe on the trees right now. Their deep purple colour is easily spotted parks and woodlands across the UK and Ireland. Used to combat the flu, elderberry jam is a great plant for combating the winter cold.

Sloes

Have you heard of Sloe gin? Gin is all the rage at the moment so Im sure you have. Sloe gin is delicious but it takes awhile to allow the gin soak up the berry juices. Three ingredients: Sloe berries, sugar and gin. Put a lid on it until Christmas time and you will have the perfect after dinner cocktail.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnut moose has become a firm favourite here at Orchards Near me and these delicious nuts are plentiful when foraging in October.

Blackberries

It is hard to pass through a park that doesn’t have a blackberry bush here in Ireland. We consider ourselves to be very lucky at this time of year. The bushes are bursting with black juiciness and it is the perfect time to stock up on jam for the winter months.

Pullball mushrooms

We don’t list too many mushrooms as their are over 10,000 species to be found, many of which are poisonous. Identifying mushrooms is an art all by itself. Examining the cap, the gills and the stem is all part of the process. Pullballs are one of the easiest to identify and can be picked up in local woodlands throughout Europe.

Rosehips

Packed with Vitamin C this winter fruit is the perfect addition to your herbal teas. Simply wash the hips, leave them to dry out over a few days, add them to a pot of boiling water, strain and enjoy!

Other wild edibles to keep an eye out for in the month of October include: Acorns (must be leached), Apples, Walnuts, Bolete Mushrooms, Chickweed, Chestnuts, Dandelions, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms, Mint, Plantain, Prickly Pears, Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, Sheep Sorrel and Wild Grapes.

When and where to go foraging

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Nature is all around us, all you need to do is look up and go for a stroll in the woodlands. Depending on what you are looking for you will be greeted by different plant varieties everywhere you go. When mushroom hunting it is best to find your local forest or team up with a local forager who knows the area. Herbs grow plentiful all year round but spring and summer are bursting with herbal goodness. Berries and mushrooms appear in Autumn.

What you will need for your Foraging Adventure

  • A pair of scissors, or a good pocket knife.
  • A wicker basket or some reusable container.
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Long sleeves and pants (trousers) to protect from nettles, thorns and poison ivy
  • A small notebook for keeping track of all of your finds.

Resources

Download your Foragers Planner Pack

Get our Free Foraging Tips: A 6 week guide for beginner foragers!

Join us for some foraging adventures to learn about the Wild plants around you.

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Sustainable Living: Get curious about your food!

Whether your concerned about using less energy, saving the trees or conserving water, sustainable living can help you to support these causes. Learning about the natural world around you can help you towards a more sustainable lifestyle. It is all about pairing back to basics and understanding that a simple life with less can have huge benefits on the environment and your mental health.

One way to take action is to learn about the foods you consume on a weekly basic. Think about what goes into your shopping basket. Do you know how many items are grown or produced locally? Can you tell the difference between organic produce and mass produced goods? Do you buy more food than you actually need and end up throwing out a lot of food at the end of a week?

Most of us do so don’t worry, we can take small steps to cut down on food waste and make our home more sustainable.

13 Steps Towards a Sustainable Living

  1. Grind the fruit and vegetable peels into delicious juices
  2. Repurpose jars and containers
  3. Spend time outdoors, learning about the wild produce around you
  4. Start composting at home
  5. Make homemade cleaning products (did you know that the acid in Lemons is antibacterial?)
  6. Limit the use of hot water
  7. Plant a tree with a friend
  8. Cut down on your meat intake
  9. Prepare home cooked meals with local ingredients
  10. Create a shopping list and try to stick to it
  11. Look for fairtrade symbols and certifications on products
  12. Choose ethical brands
  13. Research ingredients

There are plenty of ways that we can begin to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Our foraging tours will teach you about the wild plants and delicious herbs plucked straight from nature. Investing in life long learning is the perfect excuse to get outdoors, learn something new and give back to the community around you. If you are interested in developing your wild plant knowledge then you can download our Foragers Planner Pack and Herb Planner Pack to start recording your activities.

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Discover Europe: Guided Food Tours 2020

Join us on our Guided Food tours in Europe 2020. From foraging along the wild atlantic shorelines of Ireland to the breathtaking mountains of Northern Italy, we have chosen four exceptional foodie experiences to share with you.

Our guided tours are perfect for those looking to make friends and share a special food adventure with a like-minded group. From the moment you arrive you will be looked after by our expert local guide. Each tour includes: an expert guide, accommodation, transfers, local traditional meals and a foraging guide.

Each guided tour lasts between 4 to 5 days and caters for a maximum of 15 persons. Contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com to secure your place.

A Taste of Ireland: Coast to Coast

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One of our most popular foraging experiences is coastal foraging along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. On this guided foraging adventure we explore the Irish woodlands, taste delicious homemade dishes, discover wild herbs, learn about the history of Ireland and embark on a coastal foraging experience with our local expert guide. An added bonus is our five course tasting menu that will delight your senses.

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A Taste of Italy: Truffles and Trails

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Starting in the stunning village of Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. Renowned for its famous white truffles, this area is rich in nature and will leave you with lifelong memories to cherish. Our local guides have the inside scoop on the food treasures and history of the area. Your taste buds will thank you when you indulge in some of the most delicious Italian dishes on this food filled adventure.

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A Taste of France: Cider and Cheese

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Fruit lovers rejoice in this fruit filled region of France. On this magical wellness retreat we will cycle alongside the fruit trail in Normandy, stopping by the castles and ancient ruins to sample the delicious local ciders and cheese along the way.

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A Taste of Portugal: Valleys and Vineyards

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Taking in the charming hilly streets of Porto and the epic views of the Douro Valley, this guided food adventure is ideal for those who want the perfect balance of city life and escapes to the countryside. Starting in the lively town of Porto and tasting the local pinchos is a treat before we embark on a unique journey to discover some of the best vineyards of the Douro with our expert local guides.

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To secure a place or learn more about any of our Guided Food Tours for 2020 please contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com

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Yarrow Benefits and How to make Yarrow Tea?

History

White flower headed Yarrow, aka Achillea millefolium, is said to derive from the Greek hero Achilles, who had an affinity to Yarrow, after being shown its many uses by Chiron the Centaur, and used this herb to heal soldiers during the Trojan war.

This sweet scented health has a rich healing history from around the world. Renowned for its ability to heal and repair, its feathery leaves have been used since ancient times to heal cuts, wounds and burns.

It grows abundantly beside roadsides and paths. Foraging for yarrow is fun in summertime but be careful for lookalikes.

Traditional Uses and Health Benefits

There is a good reason why this herb is known as a healing herb.

Yarrow has many funny nicknames including Nosebleed. If you have a nosebleed, you can stuff the leaves up your nose to stop the blood flow. Antiseptic and anti- inflammatory, it has the ability to rapidly stop the blood flow.

Yarrow is commonly used to help with issues like diarrhea and stomach issues. It is also used to help clear coughs, asthma, colds and liver disorders.

In manufacturing, yarrow is used as a cosmetic cleanser and in shampoos. The leaves and flowers are sometimes used in salads.

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Three ways to use yarrow

  1. Yarrow Tincture: You can make this traditional tincture by plucking off the flower heads, putting them into a glass container and covering them with alcohol for 6 weeks. Traditional dosage: 2 ml taken 2 times per day.
  2. Yarrow Herb Tea: Use 1-2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water and steep for 5 -10 minutes depending on taste.
  3. Yarrow Salad: The fern like leaves from this hero herb are sometimes used in salads.

How to make Delicious Yarrow Tea

For yarrow tea, simply put a 1-2 teaspoons of dried yarrow flowers in a tea pot, let it sit for 20 minutes, strain into a cup and enjoy a healthy tea.

If you want to treat yourself to a box of freshly dried yarrow you can get it in our Wild Store today.

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3 Unforgettable Wine Tasting Holidays in Europe

Fancy learning a little bit more about the wines of Europe? If you are a wine drinker, a fruit lover or culture hound then these are some of our most loved wine tasting holidays that will delight your senses.

Be enchanted by the Douro Valley

As one of our favourite regions for cool, crisp white wines, a guided experience in the Douro Valley is perfect for fruit lovers everywhere. What can’t we say about this grape rich region. If you are searching for a Tuscany alternative then this provides a superb back-drop for a romantic escape. Everywhere you look you will be surrounded by nature. As one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world, the UNESCO listed site is a bucket-list trip trip for wine lovers.

TOUR DETAILS

Get a Taste of the Costa Brava

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This is our not so hidden gem. A tour that will delight the senses and awaken the spirit in the beautiful Catalonia countryside. Soak up the sunshine and breathtaking views of the Do Emporda wine region. The area begins next to the stunning peaks of the Pyrenees and runs down through the landscapes of Catalonia.

Wine from this region is usually 30 years old. Red wines are generally make from Garnacha Tino and Samso. The traditional grape of Tempranillo and more popular Syrah and Mermot can also be found. Each bodega you visit in DO Empordà is a treat. We highly recommend spending a night or two in beautiful city of Girona when you are in the region.

TOUR DETAILS

Discover a Taste of Sintra

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If you want to sample the luxurious landscapes of Portugal then Sintra is the place to be. This UNESCO world heritage site is covered with pine trees, grapes and ancient ruins. A stop at the Palacio Nacional da Pena is just one of the highlights on this wine experience. The soils are unique to this part of the world and the wines of this region are often described as herbal, perfect for all of us herb enthusiasts.

TOUR DETAILS 

To book one of the above delicious wine tasting holidays feel free to reach out to one of our travel team anytime.

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