BBC News Story – excessive mushroom foraging

Whirlwind half term to Bristol…. loved it….great to leave the land of pasties and top up on a bit of diverse food and culture…wonderful dosas at the Thali cafe (twice), plates of gorgeousness at Flinty Red (Of course), tapas at the Clifton Lido, glass of Rioja and a plate of paella at El Rincon accompanied by live fiddle, trumpet and guitar on a sunny Sunday afternoon…then, amidst my annual clothes shopping trip a call from the BBC.  Got whisked off in a taxi, after scrabbling some hedgehog fungus, chanterelles and winter chanterelles together from Matt at Flinty Red and Sam at the Lido, to cook up on camera for a story about mushroom foraging.  My hour and a half cook and interview was squashed into 24 seconds (!) on the 6 O Clock News.  Check out the story:

I do think that taking all there is from the woods is really bad practice, selfish and short sighted.  It leaves nothing for the enjoyment of other people or for wildlife.  I have heard that some commercial foragers are just taking everything, edible and poisonous and then getting them sorted by experts to sell on to the restaurant trade.  Bad news.  There's nothing wrong with foraging for wild food but there is something wrong with taking everything for a quick buck and leaving nothing for wildlife and for other's enjoyment.  I do encourage all people to get out foraging as it's a brilliant way to begin to have a relationship with nature.  I don't believe in conserving habitats like museum pieces, I believe the more people that have an interactive relationship with nature the better and there's no better way for the average person to have that connection than through foraging for wild food.  Historically we would have all had a real and deep relationship with the land and would have known our surroundings intimately with a real knowledge of the edible and medicinal plants of our locality.  The more people that have this experience, the more likely it is that we will look after the land and have some natural and uncontaminated habitats left for future generations. So, in a nut shell, get foraging, but do it with respect for the land, wildlife, other people and with sustainability in mind. X