It is the start of Autumn and it has been the height of harvest season for a few weeks now, beginning around the beginning of July marked with the celebration of Lammas – Lammas is the Pagan festival of the first harvest, the main indicators are the readiness of berries . The blackberries, rowan berries and hawthorns add such pretty colour to the hedgerows. Also, our kitchen garden kicked into overdrove in late July with an over flow of beans, peas and squashes.

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Now we are at the beginning of Autumn and the blackberries are absolutely heaving and mushrooms are bursting out of tree trunks and the forest floor. Everyday I go walking with a tupperware box or basket in anticipation of the edible treasures that are impossible to walk past without tasting or picking.

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I share the hedgerows with my neighbours within our valley. Some days I have to climb the stone walls to reach the hazelnuts that are a further than arm’s reach. Other times I get to a mushroom patch before a friend and and know to leave more than half to share, for my friend and for the earth (to let the mushroom spores drop to propagate for next year and for the birds and insects). After all, there will always be more blackberries or mushrooms ripening or fruiting by next week.

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This is a busy time of year! Each day is a day for foraging as well as sowing our over winter seeds, such as the onions, asian greens and mustards and planting out autumn kohlrabi and over winter spring cabbage. There is a great fever in our kitchen of drying mushrooms, making chutneys, jams and wines, and freezing the extra berries and extra meals for winter.

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The First Harvests

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