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We have been inspired by the Ireland's Ancient East concept to think about the earliest, ancient settlers of this island, and what foods they lived on.We have researched the plant and animal species living here at the time, about 8,000 years ago and created a range of dishes based on what was available to those Mesolithic people. With some concessions to modern tastes, we hope to share that on the new moon in July. We will start foraging on the shore for seaweeds and continue through the Anne Valley gathering wild plants. Come with a spirit of adventure and take a walk on the wild side!
The Sea Gardener featured on Nationwide recently.
On Friday March 20th, the spring equinox, solar eclipse and a full moon all aligned to create one of the best tides for seaweed foraging. So we headed to the strand and talked about seaweed uses, seaweed cookery and Hilitetv captured it all on film in the beautiful setting of Kilfarassey Strand, near Fenor, Co.Waterford. On this seaweed workshop, we could all see where the phrase Sea Garden originated - looking at the amazing rock pools and what was growing and living in them, and learn from The Sea Gardener how they could make us more healthy and how to connect fully with the source of our food and experience the living earth.
The piece also included a visit to the kitchen in which The Sea Gardener foods - snack bars and caponata - are made, and a tasting at the local Supervalu store in Tramore
Click on this link to see the piece:
How about a voucher for a forage with the Sea Gardener in 2015?
We will be foraging from March until October on the Waterford Coast and further afield and for €25 you can join us, or present a friend with a gift of a forage, where they will spend a few hours on the shore, learn how to identify seaweed and find out how to use it in cooking, gardening and as a beauty treatment.
Foraging for food from the wild is fun, enjoyable and healthy. Whether it’s a family outing in the countryside – or on the seashore - or as part of a wild survival adventure, foraging connects us to the source of our food and to the rest of the natural world. It opens up new taste experiences and perhaps satisfies a need for exploration and experimentation. It can do lots of good things, not least, developing skills in self-sufficiency.
If you’re new to foraging in the wild, here are a few tips to help you
Be sure about what you are picking to eat: Go with a knowledgeable guide who can differentiate between what is safe to eat and what is not. Use expert literature. Be very cautious about using unauthorised web sources. Use a good guidebook with quality images to help differentiate between what may be an edible plant and a similar-looking toxic one.
Plants and seaweeds, absorb gases and nutrients from their immediate environment - good and bad. So avoid foraging near built-up areas, near marinas and ports, on roadsides with alot of traffic – the toxins from car exhaust in particular build up in plants, or beaches where cars are driven, where dogs are walked, where there are outfall pipes, polluted or nutrient-enriched streams. Check the water quality of beaches with the local authority if unsure.
Don’t forage for seaweed alone. It is easy to slip on rocks/get caught by tides/lose phone signal; rocky shores are exposed to weather, all of these factors can turn a minor slip into a major accident. All avoidable if you’re with another person.
Check tides and weather forecast before you go out. The safest time to forage for seaweed is an hour or so before low tide. The aim is to be off the rocks before the tide turns.
And wait for a calm, dry day. Very windy days are not good and rain makes for even more slippy rocks.
Tide times for your area can be found at pocketsizetides.com. Weather forecasts from meteireann.ie.
Keep an eye on our facebook page (the sea garden) for updates on good times to forage each season.
Sustainability is key here. Just take a little here and there. Use a scissors or sharp knife to cut a piece from a seaweed , leaving the holdfast and at least 50% of the plant intact. Pulling seaweed from the rocks destroys the plant and leaves nothing to re-grow, leaves nothing for the marine invertebrates (such as limpets, periwinkles, small fish etc.) to feed on or shelter under and leaves nothing for other foragers. Seaweed is full of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, trace elements – just a little in the diet goes a long way.
Please, let’s not make the same mistake with seaweed that was made with fish and other resources...over-consumption.
KiIlfarassey Strand provided a beautiful backdrop to yesterday evenings forage. The edible species were easy to find and we sampled some wild dishes afterwards. Thanks to the Calmast team for organising the Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science and to everyone who came along.