On a misty early morning you might well find him on Hackney Marshes, scrabbling around the undergrowth, clearly a man on a mission. But lest you think his purpose might be unsavoury, fear nor, because the bearded gentleman in question is none other than George Fredenham, AKA Flavour Fred, whose passion for wild food foraging has taken him from a desk job in the city to the wide open spaces of East London, in a quest to find nature’s bounty, be it wild herbs, vegetables, fruit or fungi.
Wild foraging has become a way of life for George and one he loves so much, he wants to share, through the series of walks, courses, classes and workshops @Flavour_Fred. “You get to know what grows in abundance in certain places, and what you can responsibly pick,” says George. “And while we love going to new places, looking for new stuff to forage, we always come back to Hackney Marshes, as it’s where my foraging really first began.”
Indeed as a Stoke Newington resident, distance-wise the favoured destination makes perfect sense, although perhaps it takes someone with the knowledge and vision of George to realise the iconic grassland’s wild food potential. Right now wild garlic, cherries, Wood avens root, Chicken-of-the-woods and the Tawny Grisette & The Blusher mushrooms are top of his foraging list, with much dependent on the time of year.
Foraging is a tremendously fun and fulfilling way to spend a day or just a few hours
Given his way, George would be out foraging every single day, but as is he manages to notch up around 16-hours a week. And it’s not just delicious meals he makes from his finds, but boozy concoctions too – wild herb absinthe or mushroom stout anyone! “Foraging is a tremendously fun and fulfilling way to spend a day or just a few hours,” says George with a grin, and to prove his point, he’s off back in the undergrowth. It seems you can’t keep a good forager down.
Whether just a few hours or a whole day, with friends or with work colleagues, George is happy to create an experience that suits. Whatever you decide, you’re guaranteed a memorable time, as you find and identify plants, fruit and fungi, learn some science and folklore and then taste the boozy concoctions and delicious wild dishes that can be made from your finds.
Book tickets here for the upcoming Festive Foraging Walks at the Spread Eagle pub, Homerton.
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