The idea of being able to find your own food in the wild seems to me something everyone should hear about at least once. This is not in case there's a end-of-the-world situation and you find yourself in the position where you need to know this to survive (even though such knowledge would undoubtedly comein handy), but simply because there is a degree of excitement in the idea of going out and foraging your own dinner, like our ancestors once had to! At the same time it is a fantastic way to connect with nature and enjoy it at its most, discovering new smells and sounds, while trying both new and familiar tastes.
Coastal Foraging at Rostrevor
We arrived to Rostrevor and met with Dermot Hughes from Forage Ireland who was going to share his extensive knowledge of the wild food which grows along our coastline. When everybody was ready to go we started walking through beautiful Kilbroney park, but without getting too distracted with wild food for now, because we were on our way to the shore.
Once there, we had our feet splashing in the water on the shore and our hands wet collecting what would later be our lunch. We were busy gathering everything we could see and finding out what each species was, and whether it was safe to eat. We heard from Dermot everything worth knowing about mussels, seaweed, limpets, sea beet and a variety of seaweeds. You could tell that Dermot is an expert and he really enjoys his work, I think we all appreciated the time he took to talk about each new species we found, explaining all the differences, their similarity to other species and their culinary value.
While we were at the shore, the weather was a typical summers day in Northern Ireland, grey and overcast, but not cold, which definitely contributed to the charm of exploring the sea. But as we were entering Kilbroney park again to go back to the car park, the sun began to shine through the trees, finishing off the walk feeling calm and at peace while eating some wild berries, like when I was a child.
Back where we began, Dermot started cooking what we had gathered, and in ten minutes we were trying some delicious mussels and sea weeds, cooked simply with butter.
It was truly a lovely day and I am looking forward to the next time I can join the Living Seas Team!