Mary Bulfin - wild mushroom foragerWith a background in science, chefing, and natural medicine, foraging has been part of my life since I could walk and accompany my granny on woodland strolls.

My mum also taught me so much about nature, and we were brought up on a very healthy varied diet which included plenty of wild food, from rabbit and pigeon to mushrooms and watercress. Mushrooms have caught my attention in last few years and I can now identify, with confidence, over a dozen different edible species from black morels gathered on April 12th through chanterelles, ceps, millers etc all the way to wood blewits which were showing here in Offaly right up to December 12th. A good long season!

Having identified and collected your bounty next step is to use it. I have lots of recipes and ideas to post here over the coming year, so look in often to see what’s going on or add a suggestion of your own. I grow a garden and combine our permaculture crops with wild foods and also fabulous cheese and produce from Mossfield organic farm next door.

Living at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains we are blessed with a great variety of habitats – from mixed woodland, coniferous forest, hedgerows to bog – making for rich and varied picking. The seashore is a little distant but as my work takes me to Galway on a regular basis I do get to harvest seaweeds and other shore goodies, the seaweeds are something I want to get much better acquainted with in 2012.

Lots to do see and learn, I am loving this year already!

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