Foraging in Cornwall
Get back to nature during your visit to Cornwall as you forage for food with local expert Rachel Lambert.
Rachel Lambert is the author and photographer of two popular regional foraging identification and cookbooks: Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Seaweed Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Based in Penzance, Rachel is an expert at foraging the Cornish coastline and new for 2018 will be offering bespoke individual, group and family foraging sessions for guest of Beach Retreats.
We caught up with Rachel to hear more about what inspired her to get involved with foraging and making the most of the rather special Cornish coast.
How did you discover foraging?
I stumbled into foraging in my early twenties; someone showed me a small, edible plant growing in a stonewall, and I was hooked. Till then, my childhood had been punctuated with great home cooking, camping, wild flowers, walks, and lots of imaginative play. In a way, not much has changed, I could do with more playing, on the other hand that is what foraging and messing about with a few plants in the kitchen is for me – creative fun.
It wasn’t all about idyllic nature though, oh no – I was born an urbanite, brought up in the city and catching a taste of the country when I could – in waste ground, the garden, and family ventures into the countryside. I just always seemed to have loved plants, nature and being outdoors. I initially learnt to cook through watching my mum and ‘helping’ and once I left home I learnt to follow recipes and experiment a lot –not always successfully, though eventually my experiments improved enough to write and illustrate cookbooks.
Where are your favourite spots for foraging in Cornwall?
I love returning to my favourite spots, as well as discovering new places (this also helps the plants regenerate). I love the Lizard (Poltesco was particularly beautiful), love walking the Mousehole to Lamorna circular walk (especially in Winter) and Dartmoor remains a magical place for me and is a favourite in Autumn when the leaves start to change colour and the berries appear. In early spring, I enjoy Prussia Cove and Perranuthnoe, and in late Summer the estuary at Rock is fantastic.
What are your favourite foraging finds?
What I like to pick and eat varies from week to week and season to season – that’s what keeps it exciting for me. Right now, my best memories are of sea buckthorn berries, tasty dulse seaweed, amazing sea noodles and of course the humble and excellent nettle – such a versatile plant.
Can anyone give it a try?
I’m always saying that foraging isn’t rocket science, it’s an easy skill to pick up, though there are some essential basics to keep you safe, happy and healthy. I welcome families – it is such a brilliant experience to share, and private forays can be tailored to your interests and walking abilities, so really, anyone can come. Foraging can be a big energetic adventure, or a lazy amble on the beach or path.
A private foray (up to 3 hours) includes: Plant identification, nutritional and medicinal benefits, recipe suggestions, foraging safety, sustainability and legalities and an e-list of plants covered.
Private sessions session are available from £160 for up to 4 persons, additional persons £40pp
(Additional charges for forays outside a 10 mile radius of Penzance.)
Public foraging course with tasters are £35pp (under 16s £15, under 5s free), and forage and cook courses £50pp