The Urbane Forager


Have you ever heard adults saying, "It doesn't grow on trees" ?

What they mean by this is that the thing you want is not free. Also implicit is the fact that you can't have it because it costs (too much) money. Fortunately, this cannot be said of fruit and nuts, simply because these delicious snacks do grow on trees - they are also free, but first you need to know how, where and when to find them.

Luckily, it turns out that finding a supply of fruit and nuts so vast that you will never be able to eat them all and will end up having to give (or sell) some to your friends/Mum/Nan/next door neighbour, is not only really good fun but it also teaches you a lot of useful things.
You can learn Science, Healthy Lifestyles, Geography, Cartography, Numeracy, Planning, Business, Cooking and Preserving. You can also learn how to make your own recipes for tasty snacks and drinks. You may even to save your Mum or Dad a trip to the supermarket.

As a result of all this wholesome activity and useful education, your teachers, parents and school should be very happy to give their full backing to any related new projects that you propose, provided you ask them in the right way.

Questions Questions Questions

Q. Is it dangerous to climb trees?
A. No, but falling out of them can be, so please be careful. Keeping at least three limbs on the tree at all times is a good tip. Practice on easy trees and safe, low branches at first.
Q. Is it legal to pick fruit from trees that are not in my garden?
A. If the tree is on public ground then yes, as long as there are no signs indicating otherwise. If the tree is on someone else’s property, then you must ask their permission first, even if it hangs over public ground.
Q. Is it OK to eat fruit straight off the tree/bush?
A. Yes, of course it is. That’s where it comes from and it tastes better unprocessed.
Q. Do we need to wash the fruit first, before we eat it.
A. It’s always a good precaution to wash fruit before eating it but in an emergency, a quick rub of an apple on the jumper will normally suffice.
Q. How do we know that what we are picking is a healthy fruit and not a poisonous berry?
A. You can download our seasonal fruit and nut tree id sheets for free but you really just need to learn these things as you go along. Stick to things you know at first and ask someone who knows, preferably a responsible adult, if you have any doubt.
Q. What is the difference between a Bramble and a Blackberry bush?
A. Nothing, the Blackberry is the fruit of the Bramble bush. You will start find them late July Early August.
Q. Is it safe to pick blackberries on the roadside?
A. You can pick and eat blackberries anywhere you find them. It’s best to steer clear of busy roads as they can be quite dirty and always pick from above the height where a dog could wee on them. It’s nicer to get out into the countryside but brambles do grow everywhere, even on urban waste ground.
Q. Are there any other things I should consider?
A. It’s better and more fun if you go picking fruit with a friend or family member.
Wear suitable clothing.
Bring something to carry the fruit home in.
Don’t eat too much fruit in one go or it could upset your tummy. Anyway, it’s nice to bring some home for the family.

Q. What about poisonous berries?
A. Don't eat them,that would be silly and could make you ill. The Urbane Forager says, just stick with fruit and nuts that you know and are sure about. If you don't know what an apple, plum or cherry looks like - look it up in a book or ask an adult.

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