What I Love About Where I Live: Wild Food and Country Wine

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I have big plans for my yard and my kitchen. Here are my three most recent book purchases:

 I love the abundance of good foraging everywhere I go– whether it’s walking Amelia to school (plums, cherries, nettles, poppies…) along footpaths/ greenways in town (elder flowers, berries, more nettles and plenty of other herbs) or the sides of fields and country roads– hedgerows full of berries, sloes, and haws. I’ve had to learn about new fruits since I arrived. There are local TV shows about eating foraged foods, and plenty of recipe books for these free goodies.

I love this allotment (garden plot, for Americans!) guidebook, organized by months. It tells me exactly what to think about, a month at a time all year, for growing things in my own garden year-round. It’s exactly what I need, and I have just been loving the garden/ sustainability/ foraging section of our local book store. I would love to get all of Alys Fowler’s books, too!

 This was my birthday present from my butcher: a potato-based country wine, made with raisins and oranges. His son made it under the guidance of the grandmother. Awesome, right? It tastes really good– like a light port wine. Jeff has a batch of parsnip wine that is tasting really wonderful, and will hopefully be ready in about a month.

This is Jeff’s most recent book purchase, which I heartily support. Good, old-fashioned country fun!

What are your favorite local foods?

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15 Responses to What I Love About Where I Live: Wild Food and Country Wine

  1. Marisa July 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I’m very interested in foraging too and would like to take an urban foraging class one of these days. Take a look at this local blog https://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/ This guy takes foraging to another level!

    And who gets a bottle of homemade wine as a birthday gift from their butcher??? LOVE that! 😀

    • Ariana July 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Marisa, I have been reading that blog for years!! I love it, and aspire to try so many more foraged foods. It’s such a cool project, and I’m sure he has really encouraged a lot of people to look at their landscapes differently.
      I am seriously going to find a mushrooming guide this fall.
      And, about the birthday present… I know, so cool!

    • Marisa July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      Oh yay – I should have known that blog would be on your list already!!

  2. MeMock July 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Your butcher not only knows your birthday but gives you a bottle of plonk as well? And here I was thinking (after reading your blog) that you didn’t know anyone in your village!!

    • Ariana July 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      MeMock– actually the butcher and his wife are my #1 social contacts. I see them twice a week (sometimes more) and get endless insider tips about Bury from them. In fact, they are the ones that have helped me understand British culture (and all the cold shoulders I’ve come across) the most. It also helps that my husband went there to buy meat for my birthday dinner, so they found out when my B-day was. If I could only know one (or two) people in Bury, I would definitely choose them!

    • Marisa July 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Did you ever think you’d utter the phrase “actually the butcher and his wife are my #1 social contacts?” haha – so awesome!

    • Ariana July 13, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      Well, you really never know who will be an important friend/ contact! Be kind to everyone– who knows which stranger will be the one to eventually hook you up with country wine?!

    • Marisa July 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Yes! I am such a believer in this! One of my favorite mottos is “practice kindness.”

  3. greatdana July 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I love every one of your reads, maybe Jeff’s best of all! 🙂

    • Ariana July 13, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      I’m sure, Dana! We actually bought that one and the Hedgerow handbook at a book store on a National Trust property– it’s all part of the local heritage, and there are many experts around to consult (the butcher’s 74 year old mother is the best brewer around, he says.) We’re thinking of keeping bees, and the flow of mead that could create. I just don’t know how long it would take to age it enough to really tame the sweetness. Any experience there? Have your meads stayed really sweet?

  4. Emily @Random Recycling July 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Lovely assortment of books! Good luck.

    • Ariana July 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks, Emily– it should be a fun summer and fall!

  5. Emily July 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Have you tried sloe gin? some friends up in Market Drayton shared some with us last spring and it was really lovely. How cool that your butcher knows you that well!

    • Ariana July 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      I have seen sloe gin all over the place, but haven’t had any yet myself! It’s a local specialty, though, so I need to get on it. 🙂

  6. Rebecca July 17, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    I’ve been so busy teaching lately that I’m way behind on my fun reading but it was so nice to take a quick break from lecture prep tonight and catch up with you. I love this post! I wish you were my neighbor – I feel like I could learn a lot about making our own little veggie plots produce more. My husband has been a bit obsessed with The Self-sufficient Gardner. Have you read his books? I also just discovered there is a podcast which looks like it has some interesting stuff: https://theselfsufficientgardener.com/category/podcasts
    Speaking of work…. I better get back to it.

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