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I ought to define why I describe myself as the Urbane Forager as opposed to just an urban forager; otherwise it could simply look misspelled. There are lots of people who describe themselves as urban foragers and what they practise will vary from someone who once read a book and picked some Fat Hen – to someone living in a hollow tree, eating roots for breakfast, twigs for lunch and leaves for supper. I do not fall into either of these categories; what we do is far more practical and enjoyable.
Ready For Some Autumnal Apple Action
When people title themselves urban foragers you expect to find them up to their beards in borage - whereas I am happy just to eat apples or cherries straight off the tree and then take the surplus home to be converted into cakes, pies, juice or alcohol. I simply can’t be bothered with all the complicated and fussy stuff.
A Beautiful Bee in Summer
Like most people, I work for my living and as a result we visit the greengrocer or supermarket to buy much of our food. However, I want to encourage my children and other people to explore and engage with the land, enjoy being outside and know where their food comes from; also I'm not going to turn my nose up at a tree full of free fresh fruit.
Foraging is one of the oldest human skills; being out in the open air, walking, observing and learning is known to be good for mental and physical well-being. For us is also about having fun and maintaining a healthy balance. It is the opportunity to do something hearty and sociable; it also gets me up trees with the kids, and helps prevent anyone from getting rickets, scurvy or just too fat. Processing and cooking the produce is another skill to learn together.
What Time Is It? Springtime!
You do not need to be a lentil-weaving, sandal-wearing hippy to forage, maintaining a realistic and practical outlook will make it much more enjoyable. It is, important to be properly equipped and suitably attired when foraging and the following simple list will offer some handy tips and hints.
ü   A bicycle is very useful, if equipped with a wicker basket, rack and panniers, this will help whisk you to the fruit trees and home again with your fruity booty. If you are returning with 45Kgs of apples – you will probably need a bike trailer or even a car.
ü  Sensible clothing and sturdy footwear is essential; climbing trees in flip-flops will not cut the mustard.
ü  A picnic rug or blanket can be used to catch fruit (or children) thrown down from the tree.
ü  A picnic basket brimming with sandwiches is always a welcome addition to any adventure. Naturally, you can always eat the fruit/nuts as you pick.
ü  Some kind of fruit picker (a tool, not a minimum-wage worker) to help you reach the higher fruit.
ü  A camera is handy, to capture and share the exciting action.
ü  Suitable containers in which to return the fruit to base camp without turning it into purée en-route, unless you happen to want fruit purée of course.
ü  Health and Safety rules are there to protect individuals and organisers, so make sure that everyone attending knows that they are responsible for their own actions – before they start dropping out of trees.

To help you to identify various common fruit trees through the seasons on your own, we have created free downloadable identification sheets.