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Foraging on tv and in the media - NEW Courses - Herbfeast 2017 - what mushrooms to look out for this winter - charity work - what is sustainable foraging? - Devon Forager's Retreat 2017 - Free articles - Forager's Code of Practice - Medicinal Mushrooms Conference - Exclusive reader offers and more!
The year in brief so far
Mushroom season update - what's up!
Fred the Forager with Gino D'Acampo
Is foraging sustainable?
Mushroom book project
The Year is nearly done...
Winter update and a little festive Thank You offer.
As we hurtle headlong into the winter season I thought I would spread some of the cheer we have felt this year through our work and take the opportunity to inform you about some of next year's exciting developments, as well as thanking you all for supporting The Wild Side of Life.
Mushroom season update - 'what's up'?
The weather is cold and crisp underfoot in the forest just now but there are still plenty of mushrooms about if you know where to look - and often more specifically, which type of trees to look under and on. The main mushroom season is over but there are plenty more to choose from. Late season mushrooms; the meadow wax caps, wood and field blewits and monk's head, are still fruiting heavily. Winter mushrooms are just around the corner; there are velvet shank, jelly ear, herald of winter, grey oyster and scarlet elf cup to be had almost all the winter long if you can interpret the land correctly and know how to find the correct habitat to seek them. Don't put away those foraging boots and definitely don't hang up your coat for the winter, there's plenty of culinary fun to be had! Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite for winter adventures.
Fred the Forager with Gino D'Acampo on ITV Countrywise
It has been a very exciting autumn with Fred featuring with Gino D'Acampo on ITV Countrywise last Friday on a pocini hunt! You can watch the episode until Christmas Eve, here...
This year we have been very proud to support Childline and Children in Need. The Wild Side of Life made a splash on the kitchen live stage at Chris Evan's Carfest at the end of August, sampling sauteed wild mushroom crostinis (chanterelle and black trumpet) to a large audience of enthusiastic gourmands. An auction prize of a place on one of our Mushroom Discovery Days fetched more than £500.00 at the Childline Ball in the XXX in London too! Fred has also been booked to speak on wild plants and survival, billed with Sir Rainulph Fines in the spring - someone he is very much looking forward to meeting - at a regional event being staged for the Federation of Women's Institutes.
Working on a new foraging book:
With the popularity of healthy foraged food and foraging courses filling at an ever faster rate, Fred is collaborating with artist Andrew Brook on a Forager's Guide to Edible Mushrooms which will be available sometime over the next 24 months (all going to plan).
Next year; Herbfeast in County Corks; Forage and Feast days at Vaughan's Cookery School; a full programme of courses from February to November.
Does Foraging Do Any Harm?
The sustainability of foraging is something very much on everyone's minds after being brought to the forefront by various shock stories in the media. Fred has been contributing to the work that has been taking place on these issues for the past year as a member of a National Working Group on foraging, comprised of consulting members from Natural England, The Forestry Commission, Wildlife Trusts, Fungus Groups and other interest groups such as buyers of wild foods from shops like Selfridges and Wholefoods. In addition to this Fred has been taking part as a representative of the Forager's Association, along side other members of the association, in meetings being held in the New Forest to discuss the future of foraging there. Although this is all very much work in the progress, the clear message throughout is that foraging is viewed as a positive activity with the potential to re-connect people with the natural world, and that it only becomes harmful in certain instances, generally when taken to excess with disregard for the conservation needs of habitat and species. The Wild Side of Life continues to run Mushroom Discovery Days in The New Forest with the full support and consent of the Forestry Commission, in recognition that the work that we do is educational and promotes both sustainable foraging AND awareness of vital conservation issues. Foraging is a wonderful life-enhancing activity if undertaken responsibly. At The Wild Side of Life we have published our own voluntary Forager's Code of Practice here for all to read.
COLLABORATING WITH THE FABULOUS PETER VAUGHAN AND VAUGHAN'S COOKERY SCHOOL
We will be continuing with our spring and autumn forage and feast days in collaboration with Peter Vaughan / Vaughan's Cookery School in Devizes Wiltshire... more details here. Two days jointly taught by Fred The Forager and Peter Vaughan, one in Spring and one in Autumn, will explore the virtues of choice seasonal ingredients like tender herb shoots, hedgerow berries and wild mushrooms. Using the extensive facilities of the cookery school you will then learn to put these wild ingredients through their paces, making use of the wonderful and unique palette of wild flavours and textures to create fabulous original food!
SPRING, SUMMER AND MUSHROOM FORAGING COURSES
All of the one day and four day intensive courses that you know and love will be back in 2017 with an additional Summer Forager's Club and some one day Foraging Discovery Days in the New Forest in August. The Mushroom Discovery Days, Forager's Clubs and the Secret Sunday Mushroom Club have a tendency to be fully booked well in advance, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
You can read a couple of articles about foraging with Fred The Forager here... and here
HERBFEAST: Co. CORK, 26th to 28th MAY 2017, hosted by the Community of Irish Herbalists
We will be presenting a workshop and talk about Medicinal Mushrooms to the audience of Herbfeast in County Cork in Southern Ireland in May 2017, http://herbfeast.com/ where speakers such as Rosemary Gladstar from both the European and American herbal medicine traditions will be walking the lecturing boards, infusing what is already a very exciting learning curve with their new knowledge and discoveries.
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS CONFERENCE 2017:
Our UK Medicinal Mushrooms Conference, opened by Roger Phillips, has grown futher this year drawing in 8 scintillating speakers from the fields of medical herbalism, Chinese medicine, biochemistry, mushroom farming, permaculture and ecology... and delivering the facts to an international audience with well known practitioners, students and lay people listening side by side and flying in from as far away as Hungary, Portugal and Northern Ireland for the conference. We are proud to be able to get this grass roots knowledge out there in a way that is accessible to all and we are already looking ahead and planning for the next conference, which of course will be even bigger and better. The date is already fixed for the 18th & 19th of November 2017! Watch www.theXXXX for details as they are updated.
If you are wondering about what medicinal mushrooms are and what they can do, you can download this free article written by Fred for "The Herbalist", Journal of the Association of Master Herbalists... enjoy!
CRAFTYNESS DOES HAVE ITS VIRTUES...
On the crafty side: What could be a better antidote to the mayhem and bustle of everyday life than crafting with the hands, with raw materials, out in nature and with the sound of wildlife, kingfishers, woodpeckers and running water all around? Crafting is serious magic! Food for the soul, stimulation for the mind, and it takes one away from the burdens and worries of everyday life for a short time - just long enough to look back and see things from a fresh perspective and with new eyes. This year has seen plenty of woodland craftyness, with a whole batch of new willow coracles being made over two intensive coracle crafting weekends.
One very lovely couple came all of the way from the French Pyrenees to craft their coracle - which went back across the channel on roof bars - and apart from the crafting it was such a rich cultural experience of sharing stories of our folk traditions, our food and our respective ways of life. This year's primitive pewter casting day - and we do only run one each year - saw some of the best cuttlebone casting work that I have seen to date made by those new to the art. The forms of nature, leaves, flowers and fruit, running water and textures of bark and soil were all used to inspire, inform and create the designs that crystalised from the flowing metal. The advantage of running this course in such a stunning setting surrounded by nature on all sides is that inspiration is truly all around. The melt - the pewter in the crucible - becomes a shining smoking mirror onto another world, revealing a universe as yet unformed yet flowing with all potential.
CHRISTMAS GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE AVAILABLE FOR EVERYTHING!.. For great gifts that have received lots of positive feedback... just ask by emailing Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk. The most popularly asked for gift certificates are also available on our shop page here...
A SPECIAL OFFER TO SAY THANK YOU!
As our supporters you are very important to The Wild Side of Life and we could not offer all the great experiences that we do without you - Thank You for what you do!
SPECIAL OFFER NO. 1: As a little token of our gratitude please accept this 10% money-off all craft courses offer. Simply order a craft course; either coracle making or pewter smithing in the woods, for yourself or as a gift for someone using the following quote when you get in touch by email. NOTE: This offer does not apply for payments / bookings made by PayPal; you must contact The Wild Side of Life direct by email to make the booking and to take advantage of the offer: Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Offer expires midnight on the 21st December 2016 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers.
SPECIAL OFFER NO. 2: Thinking of purchasing a course for someone but wondering if you would really like to do it yourself? Well maybe you can! The first booking request received that has the words "I CAN!" in the email subject line will receive two places on any ONE DAY course for the price of one. The next four booking requests received with those words in the subject line will receive 25% off of one course place when two places are booked together. Once again these bookings must be received by email; the offer does not apply to payments / bookings receieved via PayPal.
Offer expires midnight on the 21st December 2016 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers.
OUR COURSE / EVENT LISTING FOR THE COMING YEAR IS BELOW - CLICK THE LINKS TO FIND OUT MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE COURSES.
THANK YOU AND BEST WISHES FOR THE COMING YEAR!!
FRED THE FORAGER, NATASCHA AND THE WILD SIDE OF LIFE
FEB XX: MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS WORKSHOP WEEKEND
FEB XX: TREE AND SHRUB ID FOR FORAGER'S - PART ONE
APRIL XX to XX: SPRING FORAGER'S CLUB
MAY: ST. GEORGE'S CHAMPAGNE PICNIC DAY
MAY: FORAGER'S RETREAT - NORTH DEVON
MAY: TREE AND SHRUB ID FOR FORAGER'S - PART TWO
JUNE: CORACLE MAKING LONG-WEEKEND
JUNE: ANCIENT PEWTER SMITHING DAY
JUNE: HERBAL FIRST AID WEEKEND
JULY XX to XX: SUMMER FORAGER'S CLUB
AUGUST: PLANTLORE CRAFTCAMP WEEKEND tbc
AUGUST: WINTER HERBAL REMEDIES WEEKEND
AUGUST: FORAGING DISCOVERY DAY - NEW FOREST - CHILTERNS - WILTSHIRE
AUGUST: FORAGING DISCOVERY DAY - NEW FOREST - CHILTERNS - WILTSHIRE
SEPTEMBER XX to NOVMEBER XX: SECRET SUNDAY MUSHROOM CLUB BEGINS
SEPTEMBER: MUSHROOM DISCOVERY DAY - NEW FOREST
SEPTEMBER: MUSHROOM DISCOVER DAY - CHILTERNS
OCTOBER: MUSHROOM DISCOVERY DAY - NEW FOREST
OCTOBER: MUSHROOM DISCOVERY DAY - CHILTERNS
OCTOBER: MUSHROOM DISCOVERY DAY - EAST WILTSHIRE
Filtering off rose flower tincture - also the base of a liqueur
Building on the success of last year's UK first conference - we are proud to announce that this year's Medicinal Mushrooms Conference will be held in the prestigious Adderley Suite at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, on the 12th & 13th of November 2016.
Speaker's Question Panel
MUSHROOM SEASON UPDATE... WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR NOW!
Giant polypore, Meripilus giganteus by Michael Gäbler
Keep your eyes peeled now towards the end of summer for the appearance of giant polypore (Meripilus giganteus) - a large bracket fungus that grows around the base of beech trees. The flesh will blacken in just a few minutes if you bruise it, which helps with identification. You need to harvest the very young specimens before they become too tough and fibrous and it's best to wrap them in
DIARY: FORAGING OUTINGS & COURSES
Fungi Foraging & Feasting at Vaughan's Cookery School Saturday October 22nd 2016. On this fabulous foodie day you will spend the morning foraging for choice wild ingredients (mushrooms in particular at this time of the year) with Fred the Forager... and spend the afternoon learning to create tasty meaningful dishes with Fred and chef Peter Vaughan at Vaughan's Cookery School in Devizes, Wiltshire. The Cookery School price (£135.00) for the day includes a delicious lunch with wine!Click here to view their website and book.
Starting 25th September. People have travelled from all over the country to join this course, which I think is due in part to the sheer depth of teaching given. The Secret Sunday Mushroom Club comes recommended by BBC Countryfile Magazine in the Top 10 UK Foraging Courses and members not only receive extensive course notes and expert mushroom identification tuition in the field but they are also able to bring a guest along on one of the days. To hear what one participant had to say, you can read this article - published in Wiltshire Life Magazine. On the final day we will have a mushroom feast out in the forest, and all members receive email support with identification of their finds from Fred the Forager for one year from the start of the course via the exclusive course mailing list. Cost for 2016 - £145.00, gift vouchers available from here or to book, simply contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Gourmet Mushroom Discovery Days - 2016 Exciting Saturdays in some of the most stunning locations for the gourmet or naturalist alike... discover the world of wild mushrooms and how to identify and harvest them - sustainably! You will receive expert tuition from Fred the Forager who brings 34 years of foraging experience to your table. Fred himself eats around 150 species of wild mushrooms. Identification of a range of excellent common species will be discussed and after a few hours of supervised mushroom foraging in the forest a taster session will be held with wild mushrooms, salad, crusty bread and a few glasses of wine among the trees! Cost £90.00 per person. These days make ideal gifts for the foodie or photographer in your life - vouchers available here or to book a place contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Saturday 6th May 2017 - North Wiltshire.This day is a celebration of the beautiful and fragrant St. George's mushroom (Calocybe gambosa), a spring mushroom that sometimes grows in HUGE rings in grassland and occasionally in woodland. If you would like to learn a little more about this mushroom take a look here. We will put a dish together with St. George's and complimentary wild foraged shoots and leaves, then enjoy it all with a glass or two of champagne and hunks of lush wild garlic bread. Delicious and the perfect gift! Cost £85.00 for the day. A gift voucher is also available for this coursehereor contactFred@thewildsideoflife.co.ukto book your place.
St. George's Mushroom Champagne Picnic in the woods!
Spring Coastal Foraging Retreat - North Devon 2017 12th May (Friday evening) to 14th May 2017.Based in coastal North Devon, this weekend not only takes in the best of scenery and the cleanest North Devon beaches, but the accommodation is also very well appointed and spacious... in fact just lovely, take a look! We will roam the beaches, rocks and hedgerows to bring tasty shellfish, seaweeds, seashore plants, flowers, and shoots, discussing identification and how to harvest them sustainably as we go around. Back at the retreat space there are some really great culinary experiences in store for you - with a menu of predominantly foraged food all the weekend long and some cookery lessons too! This is a completely immersive experience and not merely just a foraging course... we hope to send you away truly inspired! Places are limited to 10 so early booking is recommended. Double rooms with en-suite are currently available but these tend to go first. Prices from £180 to £260 per person depending on choice of rooms. Contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
(TAKE A LOOK AT THE PICTURES FROM THE 2016 RETREAT BELOW)
Starting 9th April 2017. An in-depth spring foraging experience where you will receive 18 fantastic hours of expert tuition over 4 separate days (check the web page for the dates). Crunchy pignuts... steamed burdock shoots... pine candles... lady's smock... sauted hogweed buds, St. George's mushrooms... all are likely to be on the menu and much more. Bring a guest along for the feasting day and send pictures of your foraging finds to our private mailing list for identification - you will get a whole year's subscription free with your membership! Cost £135.00 for the whole package. A gift voucher is available here or contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk to book.
Starting 2nd July 2017 and by popular demand... following on from the Spring Forager's Club, the Summer Forager's Club will explore the next season's bounty and wealth. Many of the spring flowering plants have completed their life cycles by now and our attention turns to a new-wave of flavours and textures... ripening seeds such as the sedge, plantain and Jack-by-the-hedge, wild cherry plums, sea buckthorn berries, chicken of the woods, beefsteak mushrooms, wild raspberries and herbs for infusing into herb vinegars and vodkas and green walnuts for pickling. Every season has its delights! Once again offered with a fabulous year's subscription to our identification mailing list to support your learning and a feast day where everyone brings wild food to share... and you can also bring a guest. Cost £135.00 for the whole package. A gift voucher is available here or contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Please note - the spring and summer forager's clubs can also be purchased together as one course at a combined price of £250.00
Private tuition is available for spring sap tapping, all aspects of wild food cookery, mushroom foraging and herbal preparation. This can take place at a suitable venue near to where you live or you can travel to Wiltshire. Prices are based on a day rate plus travel. Contact Fred directly for a quote and to create a unique gift for someone special: Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
Our herbal weekends are well established and very popular. They have received excellent reviews from health practitioners and lay people alike.
"Thank you for such an exciting and useful weekend! I feel that I have learned so much and I have been really enjoying making more tinctures and salves from the hedgerows near where I live since I got home"
13th & 14th August 2016. It's summer and it's time to gather the herbs we need and learn to make the remedies that will get us through the winter! Many of us tend to suffer a bit in the winter in our temperate climate. Coughs, colds, influenza, chilblains, aches and pains brought on by damp. You will learn to identify many historically useful medicinal plants from the English hedgerows and make lots of remedies to help you through the common winter ailments. You will take home cough remedies, immune enhancing mushrooms, anti-inflammatory teas, elixirs, capsules and salves to stock up your medicine cabinet at home. Contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.ukto book a place or purchase the course as a gift. Location: Avebury World Heritage Site. Cost £180.00 for the whole weekend including remedies to take home.
NOTE: If purchased together with the Medicinal Mushrooms Weekend in February (described below - not the conference) the combined price is £330 for both courses.
25th & 26th February 2017. For the first time this year we are offering a weekend to explore the potential of medicinal mushrooms. Inrecent years research has demonstrated that certain mushrooms can provide measurable beneficial effects in managing blood sugar levels, cholesterol metabolism, appetite and immunity as well as providing a superb range of nutritional benefits.
Turkey tail mushroom - Trametes versicolor, deep in the woods
Mushrooms have long been a part of traditional medicine in many cultures and medicinal mushrooms are now being used around the world in the treatment, management and/or prevention of a wide range of conditions, for example type 2 diabetes, hypertension, psoriasis and herpes. They are increasingly being used in mainstream medicine to assist the body to fight serious illnesses such as tuberculosis and some cancers side by side with more conventional modes of therapy. The weekend will be a balance of learning about some of the applications and some practical remedy making. Cost £180.00 per person including mushroom based remedies to take home. To book a place, contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk
NEXT YEAR'S COURSES FOR THE CRAFTY!
Ancient Pewter Smithingutilises the cuttlebone casting technique that is thought to have originated in ancient Egypt. The next course is planned for June 2017 so keep an eye out in our next newsletter for the final details. You will learn to design and prepare a mould from cuttlesfish bone and then smelt scrap pewter before pouring and watching the magic take place in front of your eyes as your imagination is given flesh. Finishing of the resulting piece will take place around the campfire using hand held tools and you will have something very special to take home with you. Every piece created is a "one-off" and totally unique. Contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.ukto book a place or to purchase the course as a gift for that special someone next year! Cost £85.00 for the day, take home all that you make!
Coracle Building Weekends for the crafty among us... We have finished running these now for the 2016 season and the next ones will be in Spring 2017. Watch this space for details in your next newsletter! Coracle Courses include introductory membership of The Coracle Society. You can buy a gift voucher for these courses hereor contact Fred@thewildsideoflife.co.uk to book a place. Cost £260.00 including coracle to take home or £360.00 for a 2 person team build!
Have a Wonderful Summer and may you find inspiration in nature wherever you may be!
Simply get in touch if you would like to come to any of our exciting courses and events and I will be happy to create gift vouchers for your friends and loved ones on request too.