We work closely with the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) to deliver Game Changer, a programme designed to help young people aged 15 to 24 to develop new skills and get back into employment or education.
On Wednesday 17 July, we took a group of participants from the programme on a trip to 7th Rise for a day of foraging, butchery and wild food cooking.
Founded in 2012 by Thom Hunt, 7th Rise offers traditional Cornish nature experiences from their Penperth headquarters on the banks of the River Fal.
We arrived at 7th Rise and were greeted by manager, Izzie Macqueen, and expert forager and master wild brewer, Stuart Woodman (owner of award-winning micro-brewery, Woodman’s Wild Ale).
After a welcome drink and introductory chat it was straight into action. Stuart talked us through the 4 Fs of foraging; Fruit, Flowers, Foliage and Fungi, and the importance of foraging sustainably. The group were then taken on a walk around the surrounding woods whilst Stuart identified a number of edible flowers, roots and herbs including alexander seeds which have a peppery flavour and hogweed seeds which have a taste similar to parsley
Being located on the edge of the River Fal, there was also plenty to be found on the shoreline including sea arrow grass which tastes similar to coriander and rock samphire which tastes very much like carrots.
When foraging, it is important to take precautions and remember that not all ingredients are edible. To demonstrate, Stuart took us to the Valley of Death to show us the deadly water hemlock, which can easily be confused with wild parsley or celery.
By this time the group had worked up an appetite and after a short break, we built an open-air fire and began to prep our freshly foraged ingredients.
Stinging nettles were used to make flatbreads and a variety of herbs were mixed with bulgur to make a delicious tabbouleh. Stuart had collected some fresh mint earlier in the day which he used to dress freshly boiled new potatoes.
Once the side dishes had been prepared, Stuart showed the participants how to skin and butcher wild rabbits (caught by the local farmer the evening before). Each participant had the opportunity to prepare their own rabbit with several taking up the challenge and doing a great job! The prepared meat was then roasted over the open fire and served alongside the flatbreads, tabbouleh and new potatoes.
The group worked really well together to make a meal that they could all enjoy and the knowledge and practical experience that the participants gained during this trip will really benefit their future development.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our unique, wild experience at 7th Rise and would like to say a big thank you to Stuart and Izzie for being such fantastic hosts!