When I was a kid, my grandparents used to have a gigantic garden, with many fruits growing in it...pears, cherries, red currants, strawberries, figs. It was just heavenly to go outside and pick whatever we wanted to nibble on instead of candies. The way my grandad and parents were setting it was very traditional.
But one of our favorite things was to go out of this garden, and go into the wild of the Mount Cesar, and pick things we found...that must have beem some of my first experiences of foraging.
It went from mushrooms (with the supervision of my family), blackberries, hazelnuts or even asparagus!( I'm quite lucky in the fact that our grandad and our parents know amazing things about plants, and they are always teaching me so much every time I see them. They taught a lot because I had the bad habit of eating whatever I found berry or mushroom wise...)
It was to us children, a kind of treasure hunt, when we found something, it was like finding the Holy Grail. And as we came back home, there was the pride of eating what we had found, in sometimes very sneaky places ( back then it was quite easy to crawl to get asparagus beneath trees).
Then I moved to Rennes, and had to give up on these treasure hunts, but for some occasions, I could sometimes find hidden gems. I was dearly missing these moments of freedom in the countryside.
As I moved to Manchester, and most precisely, in Levenshulme, Dave and I discovered Highfield Park. This place is a gem for foraging, you can find anything, from wild plants, that you would consider to be weeds, but are actually edible, to mushrooms, blackberries, Hazelnuts....
We thought we had discovered everything!
So, today, I was supposed to do some printing with Jo, and she had the amazing idea to go outside to make some sketches! And there we went to highfield, armed with our sketchbooks and drawing supplies. We sat a while drawing in the sunshine, and it was blissful.
Then we had a nice walk, and I showed her the secret little forest, all mossy and with small weird trees. Generally we find mushrooms, but today this beautiful forest was covered with red wild plums!
It was a kind of magical moment, we were just so surprised to find it, and discover this at that very same place , where last year there was nothing...
So we opened our handbags, and filled them with plums! Some plums had hedgehog bites on them. (You need to hear once in a lifetime a hedgehog eat a plum)
Right now I'm sitting home, with the heavy scent of these beautifully juicy and ripe plums. I'm still hesitating between just enjoying them raw, making a crumble, or a spirit....so many possibilities with this beautiful harvest.
Foraging season has officially started!!!