As the autumn starts to blow in, the jewels of the hedgerow start to catch the eye and here at Grow Heathrow we keep a very close eye on the abundance of wild food which grows around the Heathrow villages.
Our weekly Foraging Friday event has been a huge success and a wonderful way to regularly observe, harvest, make preserves, fresh meals and medicinal remedies from the plants growing around us – from dandelions in early spring this year to the dark elder and black berries which grow in masses around us this autumn. Its time to take advantage of autumns bounty and get as many people as possible skilled up with a a fortnight of foraging!
Please come and join us for one or more of the events taking place at Grow Heathrow, whether your an experienced wild food gatherer or completely new to it all come down to share, learn and hopefully take away something from the harvest as well as plenty of knowledge of what grows around us.
If you can only make one event we are having a big scrumping apple day on Friday 5th October exploring and havesting Harmondsworth barn’s old orchard and other apple and pear trees in the area. On Saturday 6th October we will will sort the apples, pressing some into juice for drinking and cider making and keeping the best for winter stores, apple rings, chutney and jams with a harvest soup for lunch, bring your whole family to this one – was a massive success 2 years ago – we want to make it bigger and better this year with as many kids as possible!
Heathrow village apple havest 2010
Below is the an outline of the timetable for the fortnight – all changeable depending on who comes and what they want to forage, all free events.
The whole family can learn to make seed bombs, nettle soup, rosehip syrup, pickled spicy seeds and horseradish sauce for free. And what a delicious dinner those ingredients would make together! Take home a free nettle bracelet you’ll have made yourself; it’s softer than cotton and harder-wearing. I promise it won’t sting! (Gloves are provided.)
If you wish to stay over night at Grow Heathrow or for a few days we have limited indoor sleeping places so let us know before hand or bring a tent as there’s plenty of room for camping! The forages will always start from the Grow Heathrow site, if you need directions to us you can find them here
Elderflowers and red clover
2pm – 5pm
Wild food walk around Grow Heathrow, discussion of foraging law and safety, and make and taste nettle soup
2pm – 5pm
10am – 12pm. 12pm: join bike tour
Seed bombs. At 12pm, join CAAT’s bike tour (see below)
10am – 5pm
Nettle bracelets and nettle soup
2pm – 5pm
2pm – 5pm
Guelder rose jelly
5pm – 7pm
Dried fruit: hawthorn berry leather
2pm – 5pm
Apple and pear scrumping with trailers and panniers
10am – 5pm
10am – 5pm
2pm – 5pm
Preservation including pickling
2pm – 5pm
Wild food cycle to Cranford Park
2pm – 5pm
Rosehip syrup and dried rosehip tea
No need to book – just drop by.
On the second day of Harvest Heathrow, and we cried and cried. We wailed and sobbed, tears streamed endlessly, unstoppably like the Ganges. We were grating horseradish for horseradish sauce, and we now have a vat that could feed 100 people purely on horseradish. This experience put us off biological warfare, and also conflict in general.
So on Saturday 29th, we will be joining CAAT’s cycle ride. At 10am, we’ll make seed “bombs”. Seed bombs are a mix of clay and useful seeds, which can be thrown onto barren land to plant marigolds or nasturtiums. Then at 12pm we’ll get the train into Paddington and cycle to 11 Strand, WC2N 5RJ, where the bike tour begins!
This blog is a bit late but here goes. The rain held out and joining plenty of other stalls, including dance classes, giant jenga, gnome painting and the Com.Cafe puppet show, Transition Heathrow had a great day with Heathrow villagers at this years Sipson Spring Fair.
In the Transition Heathrow area we had a mini selection of all the spaces from the Grow Heathrow site giving residents who haven’t yet visited a peek of what goes on in Vineries Close. A growing area giving away free tomato, salad and coriander plants and wild flower seed bombs, an energy space with a bike powered phone charger, arts and crafts with face painting and mural art, bike doctor and tandem riding and information stall, plenty of new friends were made.
A big thanks to all who came out for the day, its community events like these which bring everyone together and make people value and protect what we have here in Sipson.
Have a look at some pictures from the Uxbridge Gazette. And a big thanks to Kate Birch (Heathrow Villages Community Development officer) for making it all happen.
-Thinly sliced onion. Minced fresh ginger root. Dandelion flower buds (tightly closed – before they have opened). Vinegar (apple ciders nicest). Light soya sauce. Pinch of sugar. Pickling spices (mustard seed, coriander seed etc).
Pack them all into a jar and pour over vinegar and soya sauce, as salty as you like. Leave for 2 weeks minimum; eat in salads, sandwiches, sauces, on pizzas as caper alternative…
Dandelion Flower Syrup
-As many dandelion flower heads as you can manage to gather – more hands make faster foraging! Sugar. Lemon. Water
Add sparkling or still water to drink as a cold cordial; add to a variety of alcoholic / non alcoholic cocktails, deserts, tea…For the best results pick the petals off in to a large cooking pot, add a whole lemon, halved and squeezed (organic! Unwaxed!) pour boiling water over, cover and let sit for a good few hours (we left it over night!) strain the petals and add lots of sugar (more than you think) boil down to a thin syrup, this make take a good hour or so.
Join us in the coming Fridays for…
Nettle and Cleaves – Natures Spring clean for the body!
Elderflower Cordial and Champagin
Medicinal Herbal Forage; Tinctures and Teas.
So, it seems 10am was a little too early for our foraging frolics, so from now on we are going to start with lunch at 1:00pm and head off at 2pm join us for both!
On the 27th May, Transition Heathrow and the Community Food Growers Network will be joining a large group of bakers, retailers, growers, grassroots food campaigners and concerned food eaters to take action against the current open field trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat.
We invite you to join us for the day. We support this action because we believe that the trial is unsafe – it risks contaminating other crops, and the effects on human health and on insects vital to pollination haven’t been properly tested; and it is completely unnecessary – to reduce world hunger and decrease the use of pesticides we need equitable systems of food distribution and access to land, and sustainable methods of agriculture. More reasons why the trial is such a bad idea can be found on the Take Back the Flour website.
We will meet at Rothamsted Park, Harpenden, Herts, at 12 noon to share picnics, swap seeds, try bread from organic bakers and hear live music from Seize the Day. At 1.30pm we’ll take a 20 minute stroll on public footpaths to the trial site where those who wish to can participate in removing the GM crop.
The day will bring together people who oppose GM in the UK with people resisting GM in other parts of the world, with voices from Latin America, Asia and Africa sharing their experiences of the social and environmental effects of GM crops.
This action is for everyone who feels able to help remove the GM crop, and for those who wish to show their support for them. Families and wearers of customised aprons particularly welcome!
How to get there: Frequent trains run from London to Harpenden – the journey takes 30 mins from St Pancras. A ten minute walk from Harpenden Station gets you to the park. Directions are available at Harpenden station.
See www.taketheflourback.org for more information about the day, and other ways to take action if you can’t make it on the 27th.
A Dandelion you weed out of your lawn. Nettles growing tall out of a crack in the paving. An Elder tree you always notice walking down the road…There’s too much growing wild for us not to explore and harvest!
Here in Sipson we have a whole backland which has exploded in a most beautiful spring green, over the coming seasons every week, we will be exploring, learning, gathering, cooking, preserving, drying, brewing, drinking, eating Celebrating natures wild abundance at our Foraging Friday sessions at or around the Grow Heathrow site.
Gathering at 1pm fo lunch.
2pm we will head out to the hedgerows, fields and forests surrounding the Heathrow villages, from the beautiful Cranford Park to Harmondsworth Lake – bring your foraging bags, notebooks and wild food knowledge.
Each week we will pick 1-2 plants to concentrate on learning where they grow, when to harvest, what to make with them, their medicinal properties, folklore and myth of these magical plants many people call weeds.
Returning to the Grow Heathrow site in the later part of the afternoon we will create something with what we have foraged; maybe an evening meal, a herbal Tincture, a pickle or preserve, syrups, wines, beers, teas….anything we want. Finishing at 5:30pm we will all take away a wealth of knowledge and a jar of something delicious to share with community, family and friends.
The common Dandelion we will discover this Friday
Starting this Friday 11th May at 10am we will start with a spring herbal tonic and a quick introduction to some ideas around wild food foraging. At 2pm we will leave Grow Heathrow and discover the well know Dandelion with fresh eyes.
Taraxacum officinale, a common weed every child knows for its right happy yellow flowers and ‘clock’ seed heads which we can mainly find in grassy areas through out spring and summer. Did you know their flower buds make a punchy pickle very similar to capers and a their yellow petals make a lovely refreshing spring cordial? Well come and join us in making these treats and also learn of its abundant medicinal properties… a nettle and thyme soup for lunch?
With this knowledge we can all tap into the lives of our ancestors for who gathering wild foods and medicine was central to their lives, communities and respect for the wilderness. In our city lives we’ve lost connection with what’s growing all around us, no longer will we ignore and be frustrated with the ‘weeds’ we find in our garden – we will use them, appreciate their benefits, always for free.
“The land occupied by Transition Heathrow has been cleared by themselves with the support of the local community and others. It has shown that it can be a workable market garden and resource for the community and environment. They should be able to continue their work for the benefit of all.” by KAREN WILLIAMS, LOCAL RESIDENT