It’s fresh, it’s nutritious, and it’s free! The benefits of foraging is becoming realised, doing what generations of people have done for thousands, indeed millions, of years – finding food in the wild.
It’s a shift away from the plastic bags of limp salad in the supermarkets that have been flow around the world for us. It’s about going out into the natural world and feeling a part of it as we study the plants and identify those which we can enjoy.
It’s a tradition that never quite died out in Orkney. On a fine warm summer morning in July or August, after a period of rain, walkers along familiar routes by the sea-cliffs will find mushrooms, sometimes solitary, sometimes in part-circles. You walk back and fore over close-topped turf and heather, with sometimes a lark singing above, and the sound of the sea ever present.
Indeed, the enjoyment of foraging comes in the collecting as much as in the eating, and also in opening the way to a greater understanding of the natural world, and also traditional ways of life. Older generations, for instance, used wild plants for medicine, particularly in islands in the days before today’s health service, as Christine Muir in North Ronaldsay describes.