I first discovered Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods in Autumn 2013 when I signed up for a fungi forage at Mugdock Country Park. Even though I hated mushrooms I knew I needed to up my game foraging-wise (zombies etc.) and this would be the beginning of my foraging adventures.
Since then I have had the privilege to attend not one, not twelve, but six of his guided foraging walks in and around Glasgow. From fungi to coastal, all through the year. These walks, together with following Mark and others on Twitter, have sky-rocketed my knowledge and appreciation for all things wild and that’s why I’m sharing reasons why you should sign up to forage with Mark.
Firstly, his wild food cooking is exquisite. I believe Mark used to be a bit of a chef. At the end of the forage he usually prepares a feast and it never disappoints! Seriously, this is probably the main reason I go along. Just kidding. Not really.
Try his fermented wild garlic if you get the chance. Just don’t expect to snog anyone for about two months. Unless they were on the forage with you. 😉 Also, his elderberry vinegar is ALWAYS a massive hit. All his creations are good and inspirational!
He is passionate about what he does and this comes across on his forages and his website. He teaches responsible foraging and respect for nature in a way that is suitable for everyone from beginners to the more advanced. There’s normally a good selection of people on his walks and he responds well to questions.
I always learn something new every time I forage with Mark. I still count myself as a beginner even though I can identify quite a few plants. Foraging is an ongoing learning journey and I love that!
When you come across a plant on the forage, Mark will give you ideas on how to incorporate it in to your meals or drinks. Check out this awesome post on how to ferment wild greens.
He always brings hogweed parkin. Here is the recipe. I keep threatening to make a healthy version, sans sugar. I truly will one day. Tasty snack breaks throughout the forage are a definite plus!
Speaking of which, he usually starts each forage with a cup of elderflower champagne. No further explanation required there…
If it wasn’t for Mark I would never have learned about fried hogweed shoots in butter. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to crack cocaine, this is it. I’m not exaggerating when I say fried hogweed shoots are the best food you will ever taste your whole entire life. Ever.
Mark’s knowledge is comprehensive but he doesn’t bamboozle you with the Latin. He keeps things upbeat and light-hearted. At the end of every walk he does an information board to help solidify what you’ve learned on the walk. More recently he’s been making a ‘drink of the walk’, a wild food drink made up of the plants you’ve found during the forage. This makes the whole experience come alive. Imbuing your forage. Marvellous.
He’s started to do foraging with a botanical booze element. Hello, foraged cocktails! Just when you thought foraging couldn’t get any more exciting! I had to forego his recent Glasgow booze related forage what with the whole being pregnant thing. Just wait til this second baby is out!
I now like wild mushrooms. 🙂
He offers private tuition as well as guided walks. You and your mates can club together to get Mark’s wealth of knowledge and experience in your very own area. You could organise a boozey forage hen-do. That’s what I’d do if I was getting married again…
If you aren’t free to attend Mark’s events any time soon, I highly recommend you follow him on Twitter.
He’s a really down to earth, lovely guy and I’m so grateful for how much he and his walks have taught me.
Check out Mark’s foraging events calendar for more info