Foraging on the Isle of Wight
Hi, I’m Alex, I live in Cowes on the beautiful Isle of WIght. My love of foraging was inspired by the island that I live on and has grown over the past few years, inspired by the activities that I enjoy.
I pretty much like any activity that involves an adventure outside. Whether this be wild camping on a secluded beach that I’ve paddle boarded to, eating wild food over a camp fire, finding a new footpath that I haven’t been down before, or swimming at a favourite beach in all seasons. This exploration of our Island has essentially allowed my curiosity and interest to grow in knowing what is available (and delicious) to eat in the sea or landscape around me...
My first love was the sea. It still is. I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a time where summer holidays meant taking me out of school way before school closed for the summer, and spending months of each year on the north coast of France and Spain living on a small boat. My mum took me cockling, my dad fished for mackerel, and caught spider crabs and lobsters in our pot for dinner. I remember noticing the smell of the wild fennel on the beaches and being amazed at how liquoricey It smelt. Unbelievably I was the fussiest eater ever. But I think this is where my love of 'finding' wild food first began.
I've always been overly excited at the prospect of finding food for free. It's a discovery, one that's extra well earnt, that generally tastes more flavoursome and often has more availability, nutrients and definitely more seasonability than it's shop bought alternative.
I think it is amazing to know what is available often not far from our own front door. I have an allotment next to my my house and I remember looking at the 'weeds' overcrowding my planted veg and wondering what they were... I now actively grow more 'weeds' than cultivated plants and can often be found pottering at the allotment collecting wild greens to add to a salad or self seeded edible flowers to add as a garnish to a cocktail.
Getting outdoors and finding your own food offers opportunities for mindfulness, exploration, plant and nature appreciation and generally improves happiness levels. If I can offer a small glimmer of some of the above and spark an interest in what's available on our beautiful Island then I'll go away happy!