Luckily for most of us, summer’s sun shone bright this year. I heard from many of you- stories of lazy afternoons, summer strolls and getaway breaks to the coast. Myself, I spent my afternoons swimming and watching my children swim off our dock on Lake Athapapaskow in Northern Manitoba, Canada.
In Northern Manitoba, one of the tell -tale signs that summer is coming to an end is the blueberry harvest. It is a custom that started with our First Nations peoples and has spread to all who inhabit the North. Good Ol’ Blueberry Pickin’. Now, most children, mine included, wilfully protest being trudged through the forest to find the prized patch that will award them months of eating pleasure. I too, have very fond memories of making my own folks life a living hell when they made us go as kids. However, as an adult, it is an activity that I treasure. It is also a great opportunity to practice a little Mindfulness.
Foraging enables us to get out into nature and be part of the environment. Moreover, it is a great experience of the interconnection we encounter on this planet. Whether it be blueberries in Canada, or blackberries, raspberries, nuts and mushrooms in the UK, these foods contain the sun, rain and earthly nutrients of our habitat. All summer, while we sit in the sun and walk in the rain, these foods are slowly gathering the energy of the earth and the sun and the rain. When we forage, we spend our own energy finding and collecting them and preparing them for consumption. We are all connected by this cycle.
Therefore, as summer comes to an end, I’d like to invite you to head out into your local fields, and hedges. Breathe the clean air and notice the life all around you. Then, pick some blackberries, and extend the life of the summer sun even further! Moreover, most foraged foods can be preserved for later…sometimes much later, like the Christmas table. Summer may be coming to an end, but by foraging foods, we can extend its shelf life.
Here is the name of a great book to help you identify the edibles that are all around you!
Food For Free (Collins gem), by Richard Mabey.