All around the farm we have Damson Trees, this year even more than the last two years they are dripping with luscious fruit. I picked 6 kilos a couple of weeks ago and then yesterday went out to see the damage around the place after the last couple of days of strong winds. The ground everywhere was littered with damsons, but looking up the trees were still unbelievably full of fruit.
So I grabbed my bowl and set too picking us some more. Now when I forage I keep a few things in mind.....these are my foraging rules.
1. If there's a lot of fruit it's Mother Natures way of supplying stores for a hard winter. Think about what you already have in stock and only supplement this.
2. Mother Nature provides for all her creatures, not just for me, so I don't take too many of anything. The birds have to eat, as do all the little creatures around that I can't see. So what I can't reach, the birds can, so I never climb. If I drop it as I pick I leave it where it falls for the ground animals to have.
3. I only take ripe fruits.
4. I don't pick to the very end of the season.
5. If I accidently take too much, I remember and feed the birds accordingly later in the year to supplement what they can find for themselves.
Simple rules but they work for me.
Even the chickens pace themselves.
Yesterday when I was round the back of Chicken World, where there are loads of Damson trees, the girls were helping me, as I stood on soft fallen fruits they grabbed them and ran off with their prize.
As I moved to under the Crab Apple tree to pick up a few apples from the lower branches of the tree to make some pectin, the girls came with me, finding the rotting apples beneath the tree and feasting on the sweetness. It's as though they forget about them until I am there and then really enjoy themselves for a few minutes.
Of course if you leave one of your bowls unattended for a few seconds, some cheeky madams just help themselves!!
A good couple of hours foraging for me and the girls, they must have been happy, they gave me two more eggs as I left Chicken World. The courgette in the background is doing what almost all of our courgettes have done this year....turned after a couple of days into a massive marrow, I feel a recipe hunt coming on, we have four this size at the moment!
Thank you for all the brilliant comments over the last few days, it's wonderful to hear from anyone who reads this Blog, it means I can return the favour and pop by and visit you in Blogland.
Have a lovely weekend.