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Return to the wild

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Wild foraging is back in fashion with a growing number of wild food innovators in the area, says Roushanna Gray.

Wild foods are considered to be anything not cultivated by humans and are usually indigenous, from edible weeds and flowers to seaweeds and shellfish. They’re sourced depending on the season. Always check with a professional before picking, cooking and eating foraged items!

But more on Veld and Sea – Roushanna is the kind of individual that radiates warmth, her demeanor online offering up the same positivity as she does in person – a detail that is so rare in this age of social media posturing. Most of the Veld and Sea workshops are held at Good Hope Gardens nursery.

Since 2013, Gray has been sharing her love of the edible landscape with locals and tourists through seasonal workshops. Gray runs the workshops through her company Veld and Sea in Cape Point, around 70 kilometers south of Cape Town, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.

A cosy cabin filled with all manner of curious objects and two large tables pushed together is the congregation point. Roushanna takes you through each plant that would be used to cook with so as to better make us acquainted with what the surrounding veld had to offer. Truly a sensory experience.

What with over 9000 kinds of fynbos plants growing in the Western Cape alone, it goes without saying that when foraging, many rules apply.

As Roushanna explained, the general decree is what grows together, goes together – complimentary flavours can be found alongside one another. Other rules include the essential one of being 100% sure of what it is that you’re picking, before you pick it. Also only harvest what you need and always allow the plant enough flowers or leaves to regenerate itself and for the wildlife and pollinators to benefit. Roushanna herself is sure to rather pick leaves or flowers from multiple plants instead of just one so as to prevent any environmental impact – great or small. Foraging close to highways or city parks is often not a good idea, as the surrounding plants take in whatever emissions are present in the air around them. And when it comes to foraging on reserves, forestry or private property, they are just that – private, and illegal to pick from. Best to ask permission before you pick.

The most sustainable way of working with these wild flavours is to be planting indigenous edible plants into your own gardens. They are waterwise, suited for our harsh climate and wildly delicious.
This is also a wonderful way to form a relationship with these plants and to introduce them conveniently into your everyday meals.

After harvesting your fill, it is time to prepare lunch. On the menu in the Veld and Sea kitchen is always a selection of seasonal treats such as edible flower spring rolls, homemade ricotta with pesto made from veld greens, a wild salad, nettle and veldkool soup, wood fired pizza with foraged toppings and fynbos-infused gin cocktails. The latter were made with Bloedlemoen gin and featured the soft pink hue of the num-num berry and the fresh green notes of pelargonium and African cucumber.

Unquestionably the most enjoyable workshop you will attended, we can’t stress enough how wonderful the experience at Veld and Sea is. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops through Roushanna’s Instagram or on the Veld and Sea website.

 

The age of foraging, fynbos and fresh botanicals

Course: Coastal Foraging – Summer

Aimed at adults but children are welcome to join their parents. Anyone who has an interest in wild, foraged and local food. Chefs wanting to discover new ingredients or foodies wanting to play with the diverse wild flavours in our shellfish and edible seaweeds and discover their unique umami flavours. People interested in healthy living, coastal living, self sufficiency, in the Slow Food movement or those that just want to have a delicious experience in the beautiful outdoors.

This course will introduce you to some of our local edible seaweed, explore the magical world of rock pools, meet like minded people, learn how to sustainably harvest and prepare your macro-algae and shellfish, make various recipes together that will end in a feast.

We will start off the day meeting at the beach, and after an intro on the rocks we will make our way down around the tidal pools where we will forage for edible seaweeds and mussels. This beautiful coastline is abundant with food, but as we always forage sustainably we will be focusing only on the seaweed that is prolific in the area and the invasive mussel species, stressing how to treat the wildlife with respect. After our morning on the rocks, we will head to the Veld and Sea classroom in Cape Point (a 5km drive from the beach) with our foraged food to prepare and create a coastal inspired lunch banquet.

This half day course includes wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious three course lunch based on ingredients foraged and prepared by the group. Notes include intro, identification, recipes and tide charts.

WHAT TO BRING: Beach gear, slip-slops or booties, your mollusk permit (essential – available at your nearest post office), cameras, water bottle, a sense of humour and an appetite! Also please bring your drink of choice to enjoy with the meal (beer, juice, spring water, wine etc whatever you prefer)

BONUS: Collect seaweed to take home and preserve in methods learned on the day.

REFUND POLICY: 50% Cancellation fee. Non refundable within 72 hours of event. Tickets are non transferable.

DURATION: 5 hours

VENUE: Scarborough beach + the Veld and Sea HQ in Cape Point

IS THIS SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS: Yes – there are a variety of dishes and vegetarians will not go hungry!

Please let us know well in advance if you have any food allergies so we can cater accordingly.

 

With courtesy from Veld and Sea | roushanna@hotmail.com | www.veldandsea.com | @veldandsea 

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