"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
Taste the Wild courses focus on three different issues: sustainability, seasonality and locality. The core of our business is teaching people about wild food foraging. Our courses are run often from the same locations and so we collect wild edible plants from these same places throughout the season. As we teach and forage from these wild places year after year we teach people to look after the environment. We want them to understand the ecosystem that relies on the plants from which we are harvesting and only collect a proportion of what is there.
Besides teaching we also manage Taste the Wild’s eighteen acres of woodland for biodiversity, creating a range of habitats and managing them for both animal and plant life. The woods have become a haven for wildlife such as Buzzards, woodpeckers and deer in an area of predominantly intensive arable farming. We have an area of young conifer species which we are gradually thinning to help the natural regeneration of Birches, willows and oaks. We have created ponds and glades for insects and amphibians and along the rides we are planting smaller native broadleaf species for nuts, berries and fruit. These species give wild food to the birds, insects and mammals of the wood as well as us. We have a growing diversity of flora and fauna as shown by our species list which gets longer every year.
Our facilities are basic to keep our carbon foot print as small as possible: cooking is on a wood fire (wood produced from our trees), we have composting toilets and our waste water is filtered through lava stones and sand.
Taste the Wild is a small company that, although known nationally, plays its part in the local economy.
We buy as much as possible from local farm shops and butchers using local seasonal ingredients to compliment the wild edible foods that we forage. Some of the seasons for wild foods are short but there are some amazing natural partnerships between them and cultivated fruit and vegetable varieties. Elderflower and gooseberry or hogweed seeds and pumpkin are good examples.
The seasonality of fish and meat is distinct too and we buy accordingly marrying up our wild plant ingredients to the most local meat or fish available.
For our new artisan food courses and we have found some fantastic local food producers with the same ideals. They care about seasonality, sustainability and animal welfare and these core principles show in their teaching.
We know the importance of communities and our coastal residential courses support local fishermen, hoteliers and food producers from the area. Over the years we been able to help some the people we work with to run courses themselves and generate revenue for local people.
Our local links with The Women’s Institute, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Scouts have created some great partnerships and friendships, but best of all is local charity “Open Country” who do nature conservation work with us in the wood.
They have cradled you in custom,
they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching --
But can't you hear the Wild? -- it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.
"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools."