My perspective on the world has changed, I no longer just see fields of green and seas of blue,. When I look around now I see an abundant and diverse array of delicious and nutritious wild foods waiting to be consumed.
The week and a half I spent at Forager during high season in early spring was an incredible learning experience. I had no idea what to expect before I arrived and was blown away by what I found. I had envisioned the romanticized version of foraging- walking through the woods with Miles and another forager or two, picking whatever we came across and collecting it in a basket but Forager is so much more than that. It is a well organized operation of about 10 young men who willingly (and excitedly) spend their days- rain or shine- wading through rivers, knee deep in muddy marshland, or on the beaches at low tide picking a vast range of wild plants. These plants are then packed and sold to restaurants in London and around Canterbury. Foragers repertoire includes over 200 different types of plants, everything from the more well known plants such as elderberries, plums, and dandelions, to some of the lesser well known plants such as stone crop, alexander seeds and sea blite, all of which are strategically harvested from various locations throughout Kent.
At Forager they truly understand their role not just as suppliers of food products, but as stewards of the land. The picking is done with care and respect for the land, they work with the seasons, changing weather and tides rather than trying to manipulate them, and they are actively trying to prevent waste and prolong a plants life through with all sorts of techniques such as picking, preserving and fermenting products to extend their seasonality.
My time at Forager was spent divided between picking plants, packing the sales orders, and exploring culinary applications for the wild plants at their on site kitchen facility. I was able to see all sides of the operations and learned so much about wild foods and foraging and at the same time got to share some of my own culinary knowledge with them as well. Everyone at Forager is extremely welcoming, eager to teach, and eager to learn which make for a very fulfilling and rewarding experience.
-- Avery McGuire, Nordic Food Lab