Interview: Going (Totally) Wild and the art of foraging

If you were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by nature and wild spaces, you will know what it means to be able to roam freely as a child. Certainly that was my experience growing up, and a frequent supply of food was essential to fuel our long rambles. Consequently, we always had an opportunisitic eye open for anything remotely edible in the fields and hedgerows. This month I asked professional forager, James Wood, about his lifelong love affair with wild plants, developed since he was a child growing up in a country village, and how this led him to develop a professional qualification.


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This week… wellies, weather and wild food

This week I pulled on a sweater and my wellies and headed out into the Hampshire countryside around Winchester. Despite muddy ground underfoot the ethereal autumn sunlight danced on the surface of the River Itchen. I never tire of exploring this ancient countryside in the footsteps of Iron Age and Roman peoples. The city was subsequently the medieval capital of England and is surely a candidate for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amongst this green and pleasant land I can breathe deeply and it literally goes to my head, as surely as a glass of vintage champagne.

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This week… conkers, coffee and Christmas lights

Autumn seems to have arrived in all her glory with chilly mornings, cool evenings and stunning sunsets. Despite the focus this time of year on hibernation in the natural world, it’s a season of magnificant abundance and colour. This is a time to enjoy nature, to ‘bank’ the remaining sunny days and the splendour of nature while we can. We need all the positive experiences we can muster to carry us through the long winter months to come.

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Interview: Honey Master Sommelier

The quality of the food we eat is critical to our health and wellbeing and supporting independent growers, farmers and producers is essential for sustainable living. This month I asked Gruffydd Rees, a beefarmer since 2010, why single-origin honey is so important, and what makes it taste so good.


Food fraud is big business. Generally, it’s the foods that we pay the most for that are most at risk of fraudulent practices. Foods such as coffee, olive oil, wine, and honey. While single-estate wines are not new there has also been a rise in independent specialist coffee roasters, offering beans from single-estate growers. Traceability is important, not only with regard to quality but to ensure fair prices and best practices, and blended products don’t offer that reassurance.

So when it comes to the honey you drizzle over your breakfast porridge, you want one that’s not only full of taste but is produced sustainably from a reputable source.

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This week… bling, boats and broken biscuits

You know how news bulletins always end with a ‘feel-good’ story? Well, this week I’m opening by shining a light on positive news, inspired by the contents of incoming emails recently focusing on paying it forward. Sometimes we’re not in a position to repay a kindness directly but a time will come, in the near or distant future, when we’re able to pass on that goodwill to another, and possibly in a different form. It might be as simple as passing on a theatre ticket you’re not able to use or a voucher for a complimentary coffee. It always lights up my day when it happens to me and I enjoy paying it forward when the opportunity presents itself.

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