Foraging Tuition and Private Bookings
To really learn and gain the confidence to identify edible species it is extremely useful to go out in the field with an expert. No guide book, no matter how good, can give you that 100% certainty of identification that will allow you to eat and enjoy wild foods. The very best way of gaining confidence is to book Mark for foraging instruction tailored to your own needs. Its a great fun way to spend time in the outdoors with family and friends too! And as Mark is Scotland’s only full-time foraging tutor, you know you will get the very best learning experience.
Sessions or whole days can be tailored to your interests and location. Perhaps you are fascinated by fungi, or want to learn how to unearth spoot clams. Maybe you’d like a celebratory day with friends followed by a wild food feast. Often there will be a host of delicious ‘weeds’ up your lane that you have been ignoring for years!
If you book Mark for an afternoon or a day and let him know where you are and what interests you, he can recce your area before hand and ensure that you get most out of your session. If you want to learn about things that don’t grow in your area, he can advise on a good place for the foray. Or just say what sort of day you want and let Mark suggest some options.
Tuition is not restricted to Dumfries and Galloway – Mark has foraged in many areas of Scotland and N England and can help you get the most out of any area.
The highlight of any foray is normally eating the days haul so GWF can provide portable outdoor cooking facilities and home made bread at any event as part of the standard price. A gazebo is also available.
“…thanks for giving us the confidence to find and pick such delicious mushrooms! We are now getting enough to put chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms and giant puffballs on our menu – but we keep the ceps for ourselves! The best thing is that after a 3 hour session with you we can now harvest our own little patches year after year!” – Helen, Owner and Head Chef, House O’Hill Hotel, Bargrennan.
As locations, group size, food etc vary greatly between bookings, I generally quote a price for individual requirements.
Please email Mark on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
The following should give some guidance on what you might expect:
- £50 per hour based on a minimum 3 hour session for up to 10 people.
- £15 for every further person up to 20 (maximum).
- Travel/accommodation where applicable
- If reconnaissance is required out with the day of the booking, this may cost extra
- All walks/sessions include tasters (eg. wild seed cake, fruit leathers, drinks etc) during the walk, and a cook-in of in-season wild foods (eg. wild sushi, flambeed mushrooms) afterwards, where weather and shelter allow. (Not a full meal).
- If you’d like a fuller eating experience for your group, I can quote for more substantial wild catering, foraged cocktails etc
“We had a fabulous time last Sunday – I still can’t believe that we were all outside in that filthy weather for nearly 4 hours – kids and all – and completely absorbed. No doubt, helped by cha-cha bomb and sloe gin!!! And delicious fruit leathers and hogweed seed cake. Feedback is only the highest praise. You are so knowledgeable, and such a good communicator, and your cooking and drink mixing legendary! We are so lucky that you came to our patch to show us what is on our doorstep and treat us to the most delicious and imaginative food and drink. Thanks so much for dealing with weather and location without fuss. Everyone I have spoken to since Sunday thought it was the BEST DAY EVER!! And so it was! They all thought you – and your cooking – were brilliant, and were all amazed by what we found. Those who had less of an expectation of what it was all about were totally blown away; but equally those to whom I had explained in more detail or are already keen foragers, were equally blown away by how much they learned and how engrossing it was.
My excuse for my delay in thanking you is that since imbibing the cha-cha bomb, I have been ADDICTED to mushroom hunting by day and drying them by night! Having been on the look out for ceps for 2 years, can’t believe that it was on sunday that I found my first! Then found 5 more on Tuesday… Then on Sunday dragged hubby with me – and we filled another huge trug!! So in the evenings, when the girls are asleep, I have been busy creating a mushroom drying factory next to the wood burner!” – Alice Stilgoe, Thornhill
Promote Your Own Event
Mark regularly does walks for other businesses. Selling places for your own event is a good way to make bringing Mark to your area more affordable and often profitable. See here.
If you would like to arrange some tuition tailored to your interests/location/group, host a foray at your business, get some help identifying something you have found or just say hi, please contact Mark.
Example 1: An extended and far-flung family had got together for a short holiday in Ayrshire. They asked Mark to come up with an interesting venue for an afternoon’s foraging. Read about it here.
Example 2: A stag weekend wanted to do some bonding out in the wilds. Mark joined them on the Isle of Arran and they spent an afternoon gathering wild food before returning to a bothy to cook a huge wild feast washed down by sloe gin!
Example 3: A retired couple who were keen cooks hired Mark to come to their rural home and help them get to know the free ingredients that lurked in their local woods. They invited a few friends round, had a fun afternoon, and learned how to use their wild larder in their everyday diet.
Example 4: A michelin starred chef hired Mark to take him and his brigade out near his restaurant. He now harvests some of his very finest (and most expensive) products for free. See more here and here
Example 5: A group of friends had rented a cottage for a birthday celebration. After some elderflower champagne to sharpen the foraging senses, Mark took them foraging around the nearby woods and coast for 4 hours. The group then spent an hour laying out and labelling our finds over wild cake and herbal teas, while Mark introduced them to some wild ingredients from further afield. Mark demonstrated how to prepare a whole pheasant and those wishing helped to prepare a dinner of wild salad with smoked fish, pheasant casserole with wild mushrooms and wild seed cake with foraged berries and woodruff cream for dessert. A great day was rounded off with sloe and meadowsweet gin and the birthday boy said it was the best birthday present he’d ever had!