FORAGING IN SUFFOLK
When it comes to food foraging, where better to bring your basket than the foodie county? Walk through the Suffolk countryside at the right time of year and you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s possible to live here and never pay for a mouthful. Branches hang low with fruit; hedgerows are studded with a glut of berries, while seas and rivers teem with fish. The county is burgeoning with free fare, and here are six great ways that you can take advantage of it.
Hunt out Suffolk's mushrooms on a foraging course with Carl Shillingford
Photo (c) Suffolk Market Events
Photo (c) Suffolk Market Events
FORAGING AND WILD FOOD COOKERY WITH CARL SHILLINGFORD
Expert forager and chef at wild food restaurant Shillingford's at the Quay in Sudbury, Carl Shillingford regularly takes first-time foragers on a journey through the ancient woodland near Lavenham, in search of wild food. After a couple of hours foraging, Carl, who trained as a chef under Michel Roux Jnr, will help you create a delicious feast with the ingredients you find! Keep an eye out for Carl's foraging events on the Upstairs @ the Market website.
WILD FOR WOODS
It can be hard for even seasoned country-philes to know exactly what is a tasty treat and what is a trip to the A&E in berry form. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a guide like Jon Tyler. Jon has been teaching people about the environment with infectious enthusiasm for 20 years, and leads a range of outdoor courses in Suffolk, such as hedge-craft, wildlife awareness, mushroom identification and wild food foraging. If a foraging walk through Rendlesham Forest or a mushroom identifying trip around Thornham sound like your cup of tea, find out more at www.wildforwoods.co.uk or call Jon on 07896 678956.
This 70-acre organic farm near Sudbury offers foraging day courses in mid-spring and mid-autumn, as well as a range of great outdoor skills workshops throughout the year. Donning wellies, warm clothes, and waterproofs, you’ll head out into the Sudbury countryside with an expert guide to track down all sorts of edibles, and in the afternoon you’ll head back to the country kitchen to make delicious dishes from what you’ve found. For more information or to book a place, visit www.assingtonmill.com/courses.
SUFFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST
SWT have over fifty reserves, and while not all of them are suitable for foragers, sites like Knettishall Heath, Bradfield Woods, Lound Lakes and Foxburrow Farm are full of treasures to pick, snip, and harvest. The Trust often runs foraging courses and you can check the events page of their website, www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org, to find out when and where they’re taking place.
ALDEBURGH FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL
The county’s premier food festival not only has a great selection of local produce to try and buy, you also get the chance to go and source your own. As part of the festival's Masterclasses, experts in the field such as Vivia Bamford are often on hand to take you searching around Snape for fruit, nuts, mushrooms, and a whole variety of other edible plants. Keep an eye out for announcements of the foraging events and buy your tickets at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival website, www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk.
UPSTAIRS @ THE MARKET
'Upstairs @ the Market’ is a series of monthly workshops and demonstrations that bring together customers and local producers, all held upstairs at Lavenham Village Hall while the award winning Farmers’ Market goes on below. Subjects vary, but include how to forage for mushrooms and other wild food. For the complete programme, visit www.suffolkmarketevents.co.uk where you can also discover more about markets across the county.