July's Meeting: The delights of foraging with Wild at Heart

“We don’t want any of that wild shit”



I am an absolute foraging novice. I’ve never been foraging, not even once.


“Well surely you’ve been blackberry picking?” asked Ginny and Caro, the duo behind Wild At Heart.


Nope. I might have pinched a few from the bottom of my Mum’s garden once, about a decade ago, but, as much as I love to bake, the fruits of my labour have never included something I’ve plucked from the plant myself. And I’ve never really wanted to.


But now I come to think of it, that all seems a bit ridiculous.


I live a frugal life. I don’t have much disposable income and I have to watch my pennies pretty carefully. So, naturally, I err to the cheaper options where I can. But never, until this moment, had I considered that I could get some of those things for free.


I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of a meeting on foraging; something that I didn’t have much knowledge of, or really (and forgive me, please!), much interest in. It turns out, quite a lot!


From the types of things that you can pick (nettles, wild garlic, berries and nuts!) to the delights that you can turn them into (cordials, pies, jellies and spaghetti!) Ginny and Caro were full of interesting information, pointers and inspiration.


Did you know stinging nettles lose their sting once they’ve been boiled? Or that there’s over 400 micro species of blackberries in the UK? Or that hazelnuts should be picked as the leaves turn yellow? Well, you do now! And so do I, and I’m inspired!


Only 4 months into their Wild At Heart venture, and after a profile in the Telegraph, Ginny and Caro were offered a book deal. The result was The Hedgerow Cookbook, its pages bursting with beautiful, mouth-watering food and recipes that anyone can follow. I dare you not to find something you’d like to try!


With The Hedgerow Cookbook, alongside their selection of mayonnaises, pestos, preserves, jellies, relishes and fruit cheeses (all made in small batches to retain that homemade feel), Ginny and Caro have created a unique and interesting brand that is steeped in history, and they’ve done it well!


They have applied the skills they learnt from their varied careers to something they are so incredibly passionate about and, in doing so, have completely reinvented their lives at 45! They’re inspirational in so many ways, and really, they’re only just beginning!


Ginny told us of her children’s woes when they were experimenting with recipes for The Hedgerow Cookbook. Apparently, dinner wasn’t something the children looked forward to at that time…


“What’s for dinner? We don’t want any of that wild shit.”


It turns out, we do.


You can find out more about Ginny and Caro, and the wonderful Wild At Heart, on their website, catch up on news and recipes on their blog, and even try your hand at the delicious Blackberry and Apple Crumble Cake they so kindly prepared for us.