Tag: wildfood foraging

New Winter Events

We have some more wildly delicious workshops in the lineup for you. We will be offering our last three mushroom forages for the season, share some inspired gardening workshops with you and the first of the long awaited fynbos forages starts up again this weekend. For the city folk and eco boho babes there is a fun and floral event happening on Womens Day in town.

To book for any of these events, please email roushanna@hotmail.com

MUSHROOM FORAGING

Saturday 29th July 9am-12pm 

Wednesday 2nd Aug 9am-12pm TBC

Saturday 12th August 9am-12pm

Join us on our winter forest forages led by avid mushroom hunter Justin Williams as we delve into the forest to learn all about the magical world of mushrooms! We will be meeting early and begin the foray with an educational talk about wild mushrooms, then head off into the forest to find what is on offer.

Participants will need to bring a basket, pocket/pen knife, rain coat (weather permitting) and outdoor-friendly shoes.
Cost: R350
Included: Notes, recipes, post-forage refreshments of nourishing mushroom soup, bread, aubergine and mushroom pate and a warming herbal tea.
Location: to be revealed to participants closer to the time.
Spaces are limited so book your place soon!
To Book: click on the date links below to book via Quicket:

29th July

2nd August

12th August

GOOD HOPE GARDENS WORKSHOP SERIES

Gardening with the elements – practical modules on how to work with nature and not against it.

Cost: R600 per workshop or R550 per person when you bring a friend.

Teacher: All workshops are led by experienced indigenous plant landscaper Tom Gray who has worked in hard and soft landscaping for over a decade.

Venue: All workshops will take place at the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Plateau Rd, Cape Point.

WATER (reduce, reuse, recycle) 23rd July 10am-2pm

Focusing on residential water usage with regards to recycling water, capturing rainwater, storm water management plus spring, borehole and well point water usage. Touching on the usage of pumps and gravity fed systems. Simple filtration via use of mechanical means or living filters (reed beds) and water storage into tanks, ponds, pools or dams.

Included: Notes, water-wise plant list, refreshments and a wholesome light lunch.

Please bring: Paper and pen, comfortable gardening clothes and outdoor shoes. Sun hat / rain coat.

EARTH (soil) 30th July 10am-2pm

In this half day workshop, you will learn how to set down a good foundation from the ground up for any garden – food producing or otherwise. We will look at soil types, soil enrichment, compost making and mulching.

Included: Notes, soil enrichment recipes and suggested reading list, refreshments and a wholesome light lunch.

Please bring: Paper and pen, comfortable gardening clothes and outdoor shoes. Sun hat / rain coat.

AIR (wind) 8th August 10am-2pm

The Cape Of Storms is our home. This workshop deals with how to manage wind on a micro scale for the purpose of gardening. We will look at the use of indigenous trees, (edible and non) screens and structures as wind breaks, how the wind affects the soil and water usage in a garden, and touching on how wind can be harnessed to create alternative power. Looking at how aspect, micro-climate and location effect the immediate area around your house in which you are gardening.

Included: Notes, wind tolerant plant list, refreshments and a wholesome light lunch.

Please bring: Paper and pen, comfortable gardening clothes and outdoor shoes. Sun hat / rain coat.

FIRE (sun and seasons) 19th August 10am-2pm

A workshop aimed at helping to plan your garden (edible or non) in terms of seasons and how to achieve an abundance of food. We will discuss the use of indigenous plants and conventional exotic plants as food crops. Adapting your garden plan to suit what is practical and attainable compared to what you wish to have in your garden, taking into consideration our harsh, dry local climate. Discussing scenarios such as hot, sunny, dry gardens vs cold, shady, wet gardens and possible practical solutions.

Included: Notes, suggested plant list, refreshments and a wholesome light lunch.

Please bring: Paper and pen, comfortable gardening clothes and outdoor shoes. Sun hat / rain coat.

Cost: R600 per workshop. R500 for attending all 4.

FYNBOS FORAGING

Saturday the 29th of July 10am-2pm

Sunday the 13th of August 10am-2pm

Saturday the 26th of August 10am-2pm

Introductory half day forage and feasting experience guided by Roushanna and Gael Gray. Each individual class is different according to the season and availability in the gardens and the bush. Explore the gardens, discover and pick edible floral foods and fresh organic vegetables. Forage for indigenous edibles, learn how to sustainably harvest them, utilize them in your kitchen, grow them in your garden and some of their medicinal properties. Learn about wild herbs and how to preserve and prepare them. After snacks and a gathering tour we will get creative in the foraging classroom kitchen and prepare and share a feast.
This half day course includes wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious three course lunch based on ingredients foraged, harvested and prepared by the group. You will also receive information sheets and recipes on the plants that we will use in the meal.

Bring: Gumboots or comfortable walking shoes, raincoat/sun hat – suitable outdoor gear. Cameras are welcome. Don’t forget an open mind and your sense of humour!

Cost: R550 p/person or R2000 for group of four. Children under 17yrs R200, Children under 2yrs free. Full payment will secure your booking as spaces are limited.

Venue: Veld and Sea Classroom at the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Plateau Rd (M65),Cape Point.

WILD BEAUTY

9th August (Womans Day 4pm-6.30pm) 

Immerse yourself in the blooms and blossoms, the Fynbos and foliage, the delightful and delicious – a complete floral experience held in town at the Secret Gin Bar above Honest Chocolate.

Bringing feminine power and flower medicine together in a beautiful botanical bunch entwined with flower crowns, floral infusions, botanical cocktails and the creating of two wild and natural beauty products.

Included: Notes, a botanical cocktail/mocktail, a flower crown creation, two beauty products to take home.

Please bring: A bunch of flowers – foraged, bought or picked,  two small glass jars with lids.

Cost: R350 per person

Venue: Upstairs at the Secret Gin Bar, 64 Wale Street.

Space is limited so book soon! To join email roushanna@hotmail.com

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Yoga + Foraging Retreat

YOGA + FORAGING RETREAT

Rejuvenate yourself with a coastal immersion.

DATE: Feb 20th
TIME: 9.00 am till 4.00 pm
WHERE: Cape Point (beach to be announced closer to event)
COST: R500 per person or R1800 for a group of four.

This day retreat is all about tuning into the natural flow of things. We’ll start at the beach, when the tide is low, with a nourishing pranayama and wild foraging adventure. We then move to Shamballah Tea House & Holistic Centre for a gentle mid-morning, hatha flow. After that you’ll enjoy a seaweed inspired, vegan lunch made from the fruits of your labor. At the end of the day, you’ll get to drift away to a guided yoga nidra relaxation and will be pampered with a foraged seaweed facemark. Leave floating and nourished, reconnected to natures’ bounty and rejuvenated in mind, body and spirit.

What to bring:

  • A hat and some sunscreen
  • Yoga mat
  • Wear comfy clothes you can move in
  • Water bottle
Facilitators:
Roushanna Gray – Wildfood teacher
Alana Cremonte  – Yoga teacher
To book:
Email roushanna@hotmail.com

Foraging for flavour

On our last Fynbos Forage – Forage Harvest Feast – we welcomed the winner of our last Facebook competition, Nic Leighton and his partner Gabby Holmes.

Luckily for us, it turned out that they are both highly talented photographers and arrived for the forage armed with cameras and a passion for foraging and food – a great combination!

A huge Thank You to Gabby was kind enough to share some of the beautiful shots she took on the day, capturing each moment so that you can almost smell the fragrance through her photos.

 Wildfood snacks

Sheeps milk cheese

Edible flower cheeses

Forage Harvest Feast

Foraging course Cape Town

Rooibosand Pepermint Pelargonium cupcakes

Rooibos cupcakes

For those wanting to join us on one of these courses, we only have four left for the season with the first two upcoming forages already fully booked – so hurry and save yourself a spot soon by emailing roushanna@hotmail.com

We would love to have you join us in our Foraging and Feasting!

Edible Landscape – by Roelien Steencamp

Edible Landscape

By Roelien Steenkamp

There is an indigenous food revival happening at the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, 60km south of Cape Town. Here, Roushanna Gray and her family are reconnecting people with the land by teaching them how to forage, plant and enjoy wild foods which grow freely and abundantly in the Western Cape.

I once overheard an unsettling story. Somewhere abroad, a man went for a ride on his horse. They trotted along a beach where rotten kelp lay piled in thick heaps .The smell was nauseating; a mixture of raw sewage and urine. It was not long before the horse collapsed and died, and his owner passed out. An autopsy declared the death of the horse, and the unconsciousness of its owner, the result of toxic fumes emitted by seaweed.

I have heard similar stories from those living very close to the sea where kelp lies decomposing – keep your room well ventilated because if you don’t, you might never wake up. Whether this was at all true or not, it fuelled my dislike for kelp: it causes headaches, stinks, blocks launch sites, dirties tidal pools, breaks propellers, etc. Little did I know that a few years later, I would gaze upon this abundant seaweed in an appreciative manner, considering it one of my favourite superfoods. Kelp has been a fertiliser for aeons. Extracts are used in thousands of products around the world. It is a huge industry, but how could it be of use to us in its unadulterated, whole form?

Kelp, among other seaweeds and algae, is considered a wild food. So what exactly does this mean? And why is it so relevant to us in this day and age?

Edible Landscape

Image by Christoper List

When I heard Roushanna Gray of the Good Hope Nursery was hosting a coastal foraging session in Scarborough, I was quick to sign up. It was a sunny Saturday and a low tide had exposed exquisite rock pools. With permits in hand, twenty of us gathered around Roushanna with notes, scissors and plastic bags. Our mission was to learn something we’ve forgotten: how to forage, prepare and enjoy what was freely available, prolific and nutritious in our immediate surroundings. In this case, it was shellfish and seaweed. Unfortunately it was red tide, which meant that the mussels were filtering harmful algae through their bivalves and were therefore inedible at the time. So vegetarian it was!

After filling our bags, we headed back to a nearby cottage where we rinsed our harvest in a tub. We divided ourselves into teams and chose a recipe to work with. There was something for everyone: sea lettuce pine nut pesto, tahini wrack coleslaw, kelp lasagne and for desert: candied kelp and seaweed ice cream. A delicious forager’s feast which hardly cost us a thing!

I was also curious about land foraging and arranged to meet Roushanna at her nursery near Cape Point two weeks later. It was a hot day, with the screeching sounds of cicadas filling the air. As Roushanna led me to my seat, I was immediately calmed by her presence, a presence that matched the serenity of the fynbos mountains surrounding us.

Roushanna’s passion for wholesome food has been in her blood since she was a little girl. “I had no plant knowledge. Everything I know now, I learned through research, exploration and my love of food. I grew up with a mixed heritage, so there was a lot of ‘fusion food’. My life out here, and my passion for wild edibles, started when I fell in love with my husband Tom. My mother-in-law, Gael, is a botanist, so we would go walking and she’d teach me how to indentify plants. This nursery has been running for 30 odd years.”

Roushanna also ran a tea garden at the nursery before dedicating more time to motherhood. “We used to serve rooibos cupcakes and fresh salads full of edible flowers and fragrant garnishes.” She pauses and a rush of nostalgia sweeps across her face, “I love how those meals surprised people. They couldn’t believe that this food was foraged from the mountains and our garden, that it could taste that good and be so satisfying. A new world opens up for them.”

Or, perhaps, I think to myself, a very old world they have forgotten…

We talk a bit more about her life at the tip of southern Africa and how it has humbled her. I ask her the burning question, “Just what exactly is wild food and can you survive on it?”

“It would be difficult and would require a lot of patience to survive on it,” Roushanna answers. “Wild foods are foods which grow in the wild, but they can also be found in urban areas, along pavements and parking lots. They are not planted by man. They are dense with minerals and vitamins. I always tell people that wild foods should be one part of their meal, not the whole of it. It adds flavour and nutrients to a dish.”

There’s something different to the way Roushanna talks about food. For her, there’s more to food than satisfying hunger. “I have become fussy since I’ve been eating this way, it’s hard for me to see those sad boxed-up specimens in shops,” she says with a shy giggle. “I feel so good after eating my own food. It connects me with the land, the seasons, the moon, the tides. It’s also very empowering to be able to source, identify and create a meal out of them.”

As we take a walk through the nursery, Roushanna points out several types of buchu and pelargoniums. We also taste some sour figs and purslane. It is a different taste, I admit to her, but it is an empowering taste which probes something long suppressed. After observing my responses, she says, “Our ancestor’s palates were accustomed to bitter foods, now our taste buds are numbed by all the sugar in processed foods. It’s about getting used to it again.”

For many, wild food brings up images of thorny berry bushes and dandelions – things we would consider weeds, or at least difficult to prepare and digest. Is it even possible to create a diverse menu from such foods? I observe the pictures of mouth-watering dishes on the walls of the room we sit in. It becomes evident that there’s a lot to work with: fruits, herbs, roots, flowers, leaves, spices, seaweeds, shellfish, seeds and nuts. Roushanna recommends taking a trip up the west coast for a taste experience, “Kobus van der Merwe, author of the recipe book ‘Sandveldfood: A West Coast Odyssey’, is a culinary genius. He would observe the shapes and colours of the sea and recreate that scene on your plate. I love going to his restaurant Oep Ve Koep in Paternoster.” Geographical location and seasons are important when it comes to foraging, she adds. We both agree that that’s an even greater excuse to travel our beautiful country – to search for food!

Roushanna also offers courses for children. Being a mother of two, she believes it vital to speak of the stories behind the plants: Where do they come from? Who ate them? How did they get their names? This helps the children, and adults, to gain a better understanding of the plants.

“My son grew up watching me forage and loves to go with me. If your children grow their own healthy foods, they are more willing to eat it. If they can associate it with something they love, that’s even better. I always add some wild edibles to all-time favourite snacks like pizza and scones.”

South Africa is a great place for foraging – from mushrooms and seafood in the wild Transkei, to the amazing fynbos and shellfish up the western coast, you’ll be busy for days. It’s worth doing some research on your next destination and speaking to locals. Searching for your own food can add an extra dose of adventure to weekends away.

Before I say goodbye to Roushanna, I ask her how she – a true forager – would describe her relationship with nature. She grows quiet for a moment, shakes her head as if in utter disbelief of how lucky she is and concludes,

“Without it, I’d be heartbroken. It is a big part of me, it is my therapy. I also enjoy watching my kids grow up in it. When I go surfing, I am humbled completely. I am in the present moment. All I think about are the waves. The act of foraging is similar. It brings me peace and happiness; it gives me a sense of place in this crazy world.”

As I leave the nursery, I drive along the cliffs bordering False Bay. It feels as if a thick veil has been removed from my eyes. I no longer just see shrubs flashing past me and rock pools in the depths below. I see an edible landscape.

Our ‘instant gratification culture’ has done a lot to disconnect us from nature. We are so used to heading off to the shops to quickly fill our trolleys with “ready to eat” foods. We have forgotten the greater gratification that comes from ‘Slow Food’ – taking our time to forage, plant, harvest, prepare and chew our food with thoughtfulness – savouring each mouthful, even if it’s something you never thought you’d ever like (in my case, kelp!).

Foraging was vital for survival before the advent of agriculture, but it is still vital today for a different reason: to reconnects us with the land.

To ground us.

Roushanna’s tips on how to eat wild:

1. Identification is the most important part! Ask an experienced guide or local. Observe, taste, smell, touch, make notes.

2. Plant the edibles in your garden. It will teach you how to identify them more easily out in the wild, as well as to develop a taste for them.

3. When in doubt, leave it alone: be 110% sure of edibility.

4. Know which parts of the plant are edible and which aren’t. Also know how to prepare the parts.

5. Never forage in a polluted space.

6. Tread lightly. Only take enough .The rule of thumb: harvest 1/3, leave 1/3 for re-growth and 1/3 for other animals.

7. Make sure it’s legal. A mussel permit which you can obtain from your post office allows for shellfish and seaweed collections, but it is illegal to forage plants. Never forage in a Nature Conservation Are, or private properties.

8. Indigenous edible plants are ENDANGERED; this is why it’s so crucial to tread lightly and to grow them yourself whenever possible.

9. Never forage shellfish during red-tide.

10. For seaweeds (kelp, sea lettuce, wrack), never gather loose floating pieces, always cut from ones fresh and attached to the rocks as close to the tide line as possible.

Roushanna’s top wild edibles:

1. Kelp (sea bamboo, Ecklonia maxima)

2. Num num (Carissa bispinosa)

3. Pine ring mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus)

4. Veldkool (Trachyandra ciliata)

5. Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea )

6. Pelargoniums (from the Geraniaceae family)

7. Nettles (from the Urticaceae family)

8. Sea lettuce (ulva & monostroma species)

9. Ice plant (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis)

10. Kei-apples (Dovyalis caffra)

11. Cape Chestnuts (Calodendrum capense )

12. Mussels (there are two edible mussels – Black mussel (Choromytilus meridionalis) and the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). Always eat the Mediterranean mussel first – it’s an alien!

©Roelien Steenkamp, 2015