Freedom is something to be cherished: freedom of speech, freedom to roam in nature, freedom to be with friends and family. These values have been tried and tested this year: valued beyond price and denied to us at times due to COVID 19. Lucky we are to live in a democracy where we can speak freely, albeit with consequences and acrimonious words exchanged at times! Our right to roam gives us freedom to enjoy nature, forage sustainably, gaining good health and fitness in both body and mind along the way. Our population’s social media is proof, if needed, of our desires to visit coast and countryside – although sadly not all visitors leave it as they find it …but that’s another story.
The freedom least available to us for now is our need to be sociable, with feasts and festivals, weddings and events cancelled or postponed at every turn… but this weekend Orkney has a wonderful online event lined up for you with wall to wall inspiration from science and wild foods for the next two weeks. The Orkney Science Festival is one of the world's oldest and most varied science festivals, in an island setting, and this year (their 30th) is joining forces with Foraging Fortnight to generously host some additional mainland online events.
Howie Firth and his merry team of dedicated specialists and volunteers have created a mind-blowing selection of online events for you to sit back and enjoy in your hammock, rocking chair or sofa wherever you are in the world! You can virtually pop into to a Peedie Kirk Lunch or the Festival Club, dive into pools of seaweeds, imagine the tastes and flavours of foraged ingredients, be inspired to learn a new craft or read a fascinating book – there are authors, scientists, adventurers, cooks and foragers to motivate and enthuse you further.
Here are a few foraging excerpts to tempt you but for the full programme, all free, visit https://oisf.org thanks to the on-going tremendous support from Orkney Islands Council, along with LEADER and Scottish Natural Heritage.
HEDGEROWS TO COASTLINE: A MORAY OUTING
August 29 → 3:30 pm ─ 4:15 pm
From the hedgerows of Marcassie to the Moray coast, Dan Puplett shows some common plants with a long history of uses. After the film, there’s an opportunity for live questions. Dan who is involved in numerous projects in outdoor education and conservation across the north. He is also the author of the FSC Guide to British Bird Tracks and Signs.
FORAGING, FISH AND FIFE COAST TALES
August 30 → 3:30 pm ─ 4:15 pm
Our host is chef and food writer Wendy Barrie, leader of Slow Food Scotland’s Ark of Taste, and founder and director of the Scottish Food Guide. In a Nordic kitchen in Aberdour, with herbs and berries from cliff and shore, she creates three fish dishes. Followed by live discussion and debate.
From the Trossachs…
September 13 → 2:00 pm ─ 2:45 pm
An opportunity to unwind amongst trees and woodland, with a look at some of the plants and the stories behind them, with Rox Madeira, creator of the Little Alchemists’ Club. Followed by live discussion and debate.
BENEATH THE APPLE TREES
September 13 → 3:30 pm ─ 3:35 pm
Andrew Carmichael of Carmichael Estate with the view from one of the old apple orchards of the Upper Clyde Valley. https://carmichael.co.uk
…and because I have a soft spot for Scotland’s First Slow Food Presidium, the North Ronaldsay Sheep…
SHEEP ON THE SHORE
September 3 → 1:00 pm ─ 2:00 pm
North Ronaldsay’s native sheep forage seaweed. Siân Tarrant, warden of the 13-mile-long stone dyke confining the island sheep to the shore, introduces researchers Dr Katerina Theodoridou of Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Jessica Adams of Aberystwyth University to discuss the benefits of dietary seaweed.
Wherever you are and whatever the weather, get yourself online and be part of this very special event – we shall be!
...and whilst on Orkney, HOT OFF THE PRESS IS ORKNEY BORERAY MUTTON FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. This will be available by mail order via Macbeths on this link in a few hours!! Very limited availability so don't miss the chance to taste another unique Slow Food Ark of Taste Orkney born and raised product https://www.macbeths.com
Please note my website Scottish Food Guide is currently proceeding with a major upgrade over this weekend so may briefly be offline from time to time as a result ...as more of you need e commerce and online action, I invite you to explore the fabulous benefits of www.scottishfoodguide.scot