St. Georges Month!

Just yesterday I visited a field in which I had found and collected St. Georges mushrooms way back at the beginning of April. To my surprise and delight I discovered that a half dozen rings still included some viable mushrooms. Although most of the fungi was well past its best, like the last picture here, there where still enough good ones to take home for tea for the family. The received wisdom is that mushrooms appear ‘over night’ and are gone just as quickly. True it depends on the species of fungi and the environmental conditions – Shaggy Inkcaps, for … read more

Edible Landscape relaunches in Stroud

After a year of absence in which my ‘turf’ moved from Chalford to Stroud/Slad valley I have been persuaded to reinstate my Edible Landscape series of walks in and around my new patch. We will be starting on Sunday 27th April with Exotics and Natives, an Urban forage in and around the lesser-known footpaths and back lanes of Stroud. As well as seeking out the wild in the domesticated, we will be discovering some of the overlooked edibles of our local parks and gardens. Time:, starting at 10.30 am .Walks last approx. 2 hours Meeting at: Park Gardens, bottom of … read more

Mushroom log workshop pics

Because of popular demand I ran the shiitake mushroom log workshop twice with a total of fourteen mycophile attendees. They all got to take home an inoculated oak log which, with patience (may take 18 months to the first fruiting) and care they may be producing fresh shiitake for up to six years. … read more

New Mushroom Log Workshop

Having fortuitously secured some newly cut oak from a not very secret location I’m now in the position to run some mushroom log inoculation workshops In this practical workshop  location you will learn how to grow exotic mushrooms on hardwood logs. You will learn about how to select and prepare logs and how to inoculate them with Shiitake mushroom spawn. You will also learn how to care for your inoculated logs and how to encourage and maintain fruiting logs for many years. For the price of the workshop you will also get to take home your own freshly inoculated oak … read more

October Walk

A little violet purple mushroom growing of a rotten log

After an unscheduled and over extended summer break Edible Landscape finally got out with a fungi focused walk last Sunday. Having bemoaned the general lack of fruits a fungal flush creped up on me and forced a last minute call for participants. In Parish and Old hill woods we found the best avoided Magpie Ink cap, Clouded Agaric, and honey fungus, as well as a bunch of unidentified numbers. The Amethyst Deceiver, despite it’s slightly ominous sounding name is good to eat if you can find enough of the often small deep purple mushrooms. I include a photo of the … read more

September fruits

Clusters of red hawthorn berries hanging in the hegerow

What happened to the summer? The weird wet weather has played havoc with certain fruit and nut crops this year. In fact if any of us were actually dependent on the wild or home grown harvest we would most likely be in a famine situation by now. There has been a major failure of the apple crop round here. With the exception a few varieties of either early or late flowering types all the feral and garden apple, pear and crab apple trees I know of have no crop at all. There are also no hazel nuts, no acorns and … read more

EL#6 July – Feral Fruits

On July’s Edible Landscape outing we spotted various ‘feral’ fruits – feral as in once domesticated but now gone wild. Gooseberries and red currents are considered native wild woodland species and you do find the odd specimen in the woods around Chalford. But then, more often than not these are likely to be escaped cultivated varieties. these can be seedlings spread by thieving birds but also when you find such examples a closer inspection of the apparently wild location will often reveal the remains of a dwelling, the outline of stone wall in the undergrowth, indicating that the woodland thicket … read more

Edible Open Gardens

Nine Star perenial Broccoli plant

As part of Transition Stroud’s Edible Open Gardens events I am opening my own garden for public inspection on Saturday 7th July. I’ll be around all day (11am – 5pm) to talk about the principles and processes I’ve been attempting to put in place despite the appalling weather we have been having this spring (and summer!). Mine is a relativity small and very steep south facing garden mostly divided into single bed terraces. Growing perennial fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Although we have lived in the house for the past 13 years the garden has only been seriously developed … read more

Elderflower Fritters with Wild Strawberries

This is the time of year when two wonderful flavours tend to coincide – Elder flowers and wild strawberries. Like many wild and foraged seasonal delicacies it’s a short window of opportunity. In fact some years they do not coincide at all but this year the elder flower is in bloom somewhat later than usual and the strawberries are ripening at exactly the same time. So I just had to put them together in a dish which is stupidly simple and the kids love -Elderflower fritters with ice cream and wild strawberries. For the elderflower fritters simply pick as many … read more

Beech Leaf Noyau

In the spring as the beech leaves are emerging is the time to prepare Beech leaf Noyau. This intriguing liqueur is traditionally made with gin and young beech leave and is a springtime alternative to Sloe gin. It’s origins are obscure. I first came across it in Richard Mabey’s classic 1970s book Food for Free. He reckons it “originated in the Chilterns where large plantations of beech were put down in the eighteenth and nineteenth century to service the chair-making trade.” Although the traditional method uses gin I made mine with white rum or you could try vodka. My thinking … read more