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.

Kate's Birthday Forage

Kate’s Birthday Forage

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.

Fascinating Fungi

“…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.

Prices

As locations, group size, food etc vary greatly between bookings, I generally quote a price for individual requirements.

Please email Mark on mark@gallowaywildfoods.com 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

Mushroom sushi

Let Mark cook you a gourmet wild feast after your foray

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.

glen trool layout

Access your wild resources

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!

Stag/Hen adventures

Stag/Hen adventures

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

roe deer and bens

Wild butchery lessons

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!

All very pretty...until you have to loup a fence or round up the crushed cranberries.

9 Responses to “Foraging Tuition and Private Bookings”

  1. Hi is there anyway to contact you via telephone to ask you whether you can obtain some gorseflower for me to purchase from you?

    Please email me back, or telephone me on 07985d83484.

    Thanks,

    • Hi Ross, thanks for your message. Your phone number was incomplete.
      Of all the things I expected to be asked for, I reckoned gorse flower was the least likely! Its absolutely everywhere in Galloway just now, and as I type I can see swathes of it out of the window. I guess you must live somewhere less rural, or have trouble getting to it?
      Anyway, I could look into getting some to you and would just charge for my time plus postage. I could pick a fair amount in an hour, so possibly around £20, depending on how much you require? Can I ask what you are intending to do with it?
      I am away on holiday for the next 2 weeks, but can look into sending you some when I get back if you wish to proceed?
      Regards, Mark.
      Mark

  2. stacy smith Says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice on the best place in the d&g region to find elderflower & sloes?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Stacy,
      You are in luck – elder and blackthorn are extremely common all around Galloway and most of the UK. My page on elderflowers has plenty of tips on where to find them. Sloes will not be obvious until late summer – I will publish more info by then. Please also read this: http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/?page_id=970
      Happy hunting,
      Mark.

  3. Mandy Meikle Says:

    Dear Mark – I am trying to identify a plant I found growing wild on Arran. I emailed info@castlekirkarran.co.uk and Vicky suggested I contact you. Couldn’t find an email so hope you find this message!

    I doubt it’s an edible plant, and was growing by the coast, north of Brodick, last week (we were on hols there). What stood out were the green berries on a bright purple stalk – tried an online ID site but to no avail! Beautiful small purple flowers too. I’ve never seen anything like it & wondered if you could shed any light. If not, do you know who might?

    • Hi Mandy,

      Its very hard to ID anything from just a description. If you have any pictures, feel free to email them to me or share via twittter or FB and I will be happy to try to help.

      Mark

      • Mandy Meikle Says:

        Hi Mark – I didn’t have a camera but Vicky warned me that it might be deadly nightshade so I Googled and it was! I feel that colour combination of purple stalks and green berries should be as much a danger sign as red toadstools with white spots! So beautiful though.

  4. katharine coulthard Says:

    Hi, we live on a farm in Longtown, just over the boarder, and have an area of woodland that we planted 3 years ago, but has lots of piles of wood. There seem to be lots of different fungus around, but I’m struggling to identify any for sure. I was wondering about trying to organise for you to come to us maybe next Autumn now? I just wanted to get an idea of cost, and what it might entail. If you email I can give you a phone number to call.

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