Project Description

Foraging Programme 2019

The first Scottish Foraging Fortnight is producing a rich harvest of events and experiences for this year’s Festival programme. There are foraging outings and shore walks, food tastings and seaweed workshops, accounts of wild food north of the Arctic Circle and new menu approaches in Copenhagen. And 20-year-old Zeki Basan, glacier guide and wilderness instructor, will show films he’s made in the Kalahari Desert and elsewhere, demonstrate how to tan fish skins like leather, and get the Festival off to a flying start with his opening talk on Thursday 5 September.

OLD WAYS AND NEW JOURNEYS

September 5 → 11:30 am12:30 pm

Zeki Basan, who opens the Festival, grew up in a remote part of the Cairngorms. Depending on the seasons, he is a glacier guide in Iceland and a wilderness instructor in Scotland. He describes the skills of survival used in the past in Scotland and by indigenous peoples today and shows short films of his solo adventures.

FLAVOURS OF THE WILD

September 5 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

Some of the most appetising dishes can come from food we find at our feet, says chef Ben Reade of Edinburgh Food Studio. He’s former head of culinary research and development at the Nordic Food Lab established by the founders of Copenhagen’s world-renowned Noma restaurant. He describes the possibilities of seaweeds, shellfish and common garden weeds, and fermented foods with simple ingredients transformed by wild microorganisms.

SAVING OUR BUMBLEBEES

September 5 → 9:00 pm10:00 pm

Many wildflowers would not set seed without them, and they’re major crop pollinators, but many bumblebees are in decline. It’s part of a pattern for insects as a whole, symptomatic of broader environmental damage that threatens our future wellbeing; the fate of humans and insects is inextricably linked. Prof. Dave Goulson of Sussex University discusses the causes of insect declines – and the many things we can do to halt and reverse them.

WORKSHOP: TANNING FISH SKINS

September 6 → 11:30 am3:30 pm

Wilderness instructor Zeki Basan shows you how to use the tannin from heather, and other natural materials, to turn salmon skins into a soft and strong leather. Outdoor event, numbers limited, booking essential. Hosted by Wheems Organic Farm, South Ronaldsay. £25 price includes farm-fresh lunch. Meet in car park at St Peter’s Church by the shore.

FOOD FROM THE NEOLITHIC

September 7 → 7:00 pm10:00 pm

Andrew Appleby invites you to join chef Sam Britten with a menu of Orkney fare that’s been foraged, fished, hunted and grown. Between the courses there’s some background on Neolithic food and pottery, and ancient music from Kate Fletcher, Corwen Broch and David Griffith. Booking essential: tickets £13.75.

In association with the John Rae Society

SHORE AND SEAWEED WORKSHOPS

September 8 → 10:00 am2:00 pm

Come out to the West Shore for four family-friendly activities. Learn to identify seaweeds and make your own seaweed artwork. Forage for pigments and mark-making materials – and for seaweeds and plants, and build a beach fire to cook a foraged lunch. Search for fire flints and clays, and make your own Orkney shell farm game. Hosted by Katherine Diaper, Rebecca Marr and Fiona Sanderson. A visit afterwards to see the special collections in Stromness Museum is included. Tickets £6 & £4. Numbers limited, booking essential: phone Stromness Museum, 01856 850025. Weather check the night before: phone Fiona Sanderson, 01856 850427.

LIVING OFF THE LAND

September 8 → 3:30 pm4:30 pm

Birch-flavoured breadsticks with pine-shoot dipping sauce, salt-marinated char with mountain sorrel sauce, and chocolate pralines with brandy-pickled rowan berries…. Eva Gunnare lives in Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland, foraging in summer for Arctic herbs and berries in the mountains and forests around, and blending traditional recipes with modern creations – with some tasters for you to try.

In association with the John Rae Society

OUTING: FORAGING ON THE EAGLES’ PATH

September 9 → 9:30 am12:30 pm

Join wilderness instructor Zeki Basan on a foraging walk where Orkney people gathered plants for food 5000 years ago. Outdoor event, numbers limited, booking essential. £20 price includes visit to the Tomb of the Eagles and Bronze Age burnt mound. Meet in car park at visitor centre.

SWEDISH FOOD FROM THE WILD

September 9 → 10:00 am11:30 am

Chef and food writer Wendy Barrie, leader of Slow Food Scotland’s Ark of Taste, is joined by baker Karin Jonsson to look at ways in which food from the wild can be used in Swedish style to enrich your baking.

MYSTERIOUS MATERIALS, CURIOUS CURES

September 9 → 3:30 pm4:30 pm

Traditional remedies used some unusual ingredients. Alongside many plants now considered weeds, medicines might include ox gall or badger fat, marble, lead or urine … How do they stand up to scientific scrutiny? Ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning takes a look at old treatments and new insights – and why we should keep an open mind.

SEAWEED – THE MISSING INGREDIENT

September 9 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

Seaweed, a familiar source of nutrition in the past, is having a revival. Simon Ranger of the Seagreens Trust has been to the fore in production, research and market application for the past 20 years. He has developed a small, pioneering consortium spanning the Nordic region and the British Isles, and seaweed ingredients in foods ranging from soups and snacks to sauces and supplements. He sees opportunities in Orkney which can benefit from such an international partnership.

Workshop on papermaking from natural materials by Lin Chau

OUTING: FORAGING THE OLD ROAD

September 10 → 11:30 am3:30 pm

Join ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor to walk along part of the St Magnus Way and look for wild plants and learn about their traditional uses for sustenance and health. Walk includes hillside, woods and lochside. Outdoor event, numbers limited, booking essential. £25 price includes picnic lunch of local fare. Meet in Finstown car park.

BORROWDALE, BLENCATHRA, THEN ON TO BEDA FELL

September 10 → 2:00 pm3:00 pm

Elizabeth Woodcock describes the landscape of the Cumbrian Lakeland Fells, including ravens, woodcocks, temperate rainforests, sphagnum mosses and the carnivorous sundew.

THE SOURCE OF THE FLAVOUR

September 10 → 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Gin’s flavour has a botanical origin: today’s ingredients range from meadowsweet and dandelions to nettle root and cherry bark, sometimes cultivated, sometimes foraged. Master gin distiller Lesley Gracie of Hendrick’s Gin and William Grant & Sons explains the process. With tutored tasting with locally produced gins. Over-18s only, numbers limited booking essential. Tickets £10.
Organised by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling

ALONG THE TIDE-MARK GATHERING DRIFT

September 10 → 9:00 pm10:00 pm

A beaver-chewed timber from North America, a sea heart from the rainforests of the southern Caribbean. A skate’s egg case, a lump of paraffin wax, and a lobster creel tag from Newfoundland. Martin Gray, who runs the Orkney Beachcombing page, describes the wealth of treasures that wash up on an Orkney shore and the searching and foraging quest that has taken Orcadians to the shore since Neolithic times and before.

OUTING: FORAGING BY THE FLOW

September 11 → 11:30 am3:30 pm

Join ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor to walk along a further part of the St Magnus Way and look for wild plants and learn about their traditional uses for sustenance and health. Walk across the sand of Waulkmill Bay and through the RSPB’s Hobbister bird reserve. Outdoor event, numbers limited, booking essential. £25 price includes picnic lunch of local fare. Meet in Waulkmill car park.