The third Art Plumstead foraging walk was a revelation to all who attended; not just in terms of the variety of edible plants in the area, but as an introduction to some of the hidden nooks and crannies of the local streets and open spaces nearby. Everyone tasted at least one thing they had never tried before and even if it was something they never want to taste again, at least they know from personal experience! The foraging experience also showed that everyone’s tastes differed, with differences of opinion expressed on the edibility of the various fruits and berries.
There were fewer attendees than last year, but it made for a more intimate experience, with more produce to go round. 35 plants were explored, including wild plants, street trees and garden escapees. Although the blackberries and elder berries had been trashed by the heavy rain of the previous weeks, there was consolation to be had in sampling rosehips, late plums, fuchsia berries and even a goji berry. The jury was out on Swedish Whitebeam berries (still a bit too early for them to have bletted and develop a tropical fruit taste) and the rowan berries were found to be sharp, but appealing to some palates. Not Karen, though, who pronounced the orange rowan berries to be ‘just as horrible as the red ones, but in a different way!’
Having wound up the back streets to the margins of Shrewsbury Park, the walk took in an intriguing downward trajectory through wooded pathways (unfamiliar to most) to emerge further over to the east before concluding at Slade Library. Even in the precincts of the library there are a number of edible plants, including chickweed, yarrow, Swedish Whitebeam and hawthorn. After 2000 steps, all had seen, felt, smelt and tasted the environment in a different way, with an enticement to return and harvest later.