During the last couple of days I have made it my mission to collect as much of the season's bounty as possible. Despite it being not quite September I think Autumn has been upon us for a while already and I want to make sure I don't miss out.
Going out looking for hedgerow fruit reminded me just how much foraging has been responsible for me discovering and exploring new places. I have a habit of just setting out with a carrier bag in hand and roaming until the bag feels heavy. Exploring on foot (I can't drive) I probably have a much smaller area of knowledge, but I think the scale of that knowledge means I can observe the details - plus I would never have come across the topiary Scotty dog leaping out of a garden hedge today, although I do wish I'd taken a photo!
One other thing that has occurred to me is just how much fruit goes to waste in gardens all over the country. Sometimes this is lazyness but I have also found a lot of people just aren't aware of what is growing in their gardens and what can be done with it. One lady I spoke to yesterday had no idea she had crab apples, damsons, elderberries etc. all growing about 10 steps from her front door! I wonder if anyone has come up with any ideas for mapping local fruit, crop sharing etc? Let me know if you have come across anything.
So my recommendation for this weekend (although I am probably preaching to the converted) is to get out there, wander along the back roads, chat to people along your road, explore the boundaries of school playing fields, railway verges and canal towpaths. You know you have had a good foraging expedition when you come back with stained fingers and matching tongue! You might even like to squeeze some windfall juices through some cloth.