Food Foraging with The Fat Hen
Wild food foraging and ‘catch and cook’ experiences are becoming more popular all over the UK as people become more passionate about knowing where their food comes from and the process of getting it onto their plate.
We caught up with Caroline Davey, the brains behind Cornwall’s Fat Hen foraging courses and cookery school, to find out more.
“I set up Fat Hen to unite my two great loves; food and nature, and to find a way of sharing this communion with other people,” says Caroline Davey, forager, ecologist and cook, who launched Fat Hen in 2007. “I find great healing and solace in nature. Being in nature is food for the soul, both rejuvenating and nourishing.”
Anyone, from the serious foodie to the slightly inquisitive, will love the culinary adventure of a wild food foraging experience with the Fat Hen team, exploring the wild landscapes of West Cornwall: seashore, hedgerow, woodland and farmland, to forage for seasonal wild edible herbs, vegetables, seaweeds, fungi, roots, seeds and berries. It also makes for a unique way to explore the natural beauty of this part of West Cornwall.
A course begins by meeting in the beautiful well-equipped kitchen of Caroline’s home at Boscawen-noon Farm, near St Just, where she tells you about the history of wild foods, and makes everyone aware o the potential dangers of foraging, citing the inconspicuous poisonous fools’ parsley and hemlock. Then she instructs on sustainable harvesting (use scissors, only take what you can eat yourself, don’t pick from the roots) before you set out for nearby beaches armed with wellies and baskets.
In the afternoon, you will head inland to the fields and hedges around the farm to find tasty treats under your noses. And later you will turn your wild ingredients into a fabulous feast for all to share.
“I have found that I now have a much deeper relationship with the natural world, its seasons, rhythms and places,” says Caroline, of her time spent food foraging. “I feel intrinsically a part of the places I forage from and feel so energised by a life in meaningful contact with nature.”
Come and try for yourself:
There are various courses and events throughout the year for all levels of experience and interest. The Gourmet Wild Food weekends are for serious food lovers who want to treat themselves to real foraging in all of West Cornwall’s wild landscapes, with the highlight of the weekend being the Saturday night feast where you dine by fire and candlelight in the beautiful Fat Hen barn. The Forage, Cook and Feast Days are one-day taster courses designed for anyone who is inquisitive about wild food and foraging. The taster day involves a 3 hour foraging trip, and then it’s back to Fat Hen where you learn to cook a series of wild dishes, which you then get to enjoy for lunch.
All courses and events at Fat Hen are available as private bookings and they can tailor make a course to suit you. Hands-on cookery courses are designed for up to 12 people.
Supper club and private dining
The Fat Hen also runs a Supper Club and private lunches or dinner parties for up to 16 guests.
The Fat Hen website has comprehensive calendar of all course dates for 2015 http://www.fathen.org/calendar/
Fat Hen, Gwenmenhir, Boscawen-noon Farm, St Buryan, Penzance, Cornwall. TR19 6EH