Inspired by my conversation with forager Rachel Lambert, last weekend, I took the country lanes to pick sloes and blackberries so I could bake a delicious blackberry crumble..
As we take more to time pause and enjoy the natural environments, we notice nature like we might never have seen before; the inky purple sheen of Blackberries or the matt violet surface of Sloes, growing in hedgerows around us. Meet Rachel Lambert who has been foraging in Cornwall for over 13 years to find out more about wild walks in Cornwall.
Foraging is a way of life for Rachel, her business has been running since 2007, but it was long before this that she developed a taste for wild food, when introduced to Pennywort (great with cream cheese and dill by the way) in the late 1990’s.
Being outside, submersed in nature and walking come hand in hand with foraging. Rachel has a love of what she does, and all the activities connected to it, “I set up Wild Walks South West and started to teach others about pennywort and other edible wild plants and weeds. Foraging is the glue that brings together the things that I love; nature, good food and people”.
Walking and rambling coast paths and public footpaths in Cornwall also has other advantages, wildlife is all around and it is not unusual to see deer bolting through fields or dolphins dancing in the waves.
When quizzed on ‘best foraging spots’ Rachel couldn’t choose one spot, but said coastal areas that back onto hedgerows and fields offer a great variety of wild foods. She was also happy to tell us that Autumn is her favourite time of year, “the mild climate often initiates a second growth of greens and failing that there are plenty of berries to be found on inland hedgerows and wild spices in seemingly dead dried up seed heads”.
With a self-confessed sweet tooth, wild desserts are always on the menu for Rachel; her latest recipe is a slow treacle tarte (recipe on her website), “it has all the Autumn hues, a plum flavour and is rich, dense and totally delicious”. Who are we to argue with a description like that?
Getting started with foraging is easy as Rachel has written a pocket guide with over 21 easily identifiable plants and also runs regular foraging courses in Cornwall where you’ll get guided walks, guidance on what’s what and also the chance to try Rachels homemade tasters prepared with wild foods.
When asked to sum up how a foraging walk will make you feel, Rachel simply replied “Happy, blissful, relaxed and ready to tackle my to do list”