When the first lockdown limited our ability to leave home and increased shortages in the supermarkets, the UK public had their eyes opened to nature and its abundance.
Between March 23rd and July 4th 2020 Suttons, the long-established supplier of seeds, bulbs, and other horticultural products, saw record numbers of customers purchasing seeds; the top performing being beans, with a staggering 127 thousand seed packs sold, up on the previous year’s figures by almost 1500%!
Plus it seems that lockdown gave way to a rise in rural and urban foraging with hedgerows left unclipped and full of edible opportunity as their keepers were furloughed.
That’s Why this year Suttons have teamed up with Totally Wild UK to put together an exclusive gift of experience in their new Gifts for Gardener’s range; a Foraging, Cookery and Lunch for two. The perfect present for anyone that wants to nurture their know-how on living a self-sustained existence.
Molly Leslie of Totally Wild Food said:
“We have noticed a real increase in a curiosity for what nature can provide, especially when it comes to foraging for wild food. Unable to go on their usual holidays, people are now looking to their local green spaces for inspiration. We run engaging and exciting foraging courses to connect people with nature and equip them with the knowledge to find food for free. We can show you the exciting side of nettles, wilting them with a bit of butter and garlic or sharing recipes on how to make acorn bread or even acorn panacotta. Our courses are for total beginners or those wanting to expand their foraging knowledge.”
Wross Lawrence author of The Urban Forager published 2020 by Hoxton Mini Press said:
“There is no doubt that foraging has increased in popularity of late. People are spending a lot more time in their local area, getting to know it more intimately, watching the seasons change, noticing plants, flowers, trees and berries they may have rushed past before.
We have had a lifestyle reset, which has shown us the importance of interacting with nature on a daily basis and people are feeling the direct health, medicinal and wellness benefits of it.”
Rosebie Morton is the founder of the Real Flower Company. She thinks that foraging for leaves and flowers to use as decorations – or as edible treats – is a wonderful way to bring us closer to nature. She said:
“Teaching ourselves to notice – and identify – the plants and flowers we encounter on woodland walks or in the hedgerows enhances our appreciation of the natural world, as well as being a fun (and free!) way to embellish our homes. But if we want to forage, we need to understand the do’s and don’ts and to make sure we do no damage to ourselves or the environment, so going on a course like this is the perfect way to learn to do it properly.”
Rosebie has also produced a guide for anyone new to foraging.
Hilary Cutler, Suttons Commercial Director from Suttons said: “With the uncertainty around the pandemic it seems that holidaymaker hopefuls are looking at staycations for 2021 as a financially safer and less stressful option. Plus, with people wanting to feel as if they are getting the very most out of life, trips with ‘experiences’ built in are even more popular. That’s why we have added the foraging course and other wonderfully different experiences to our Gifts for Gardeners catalogue.”
The experiences offered within Suttons’ Gifts for Gardeners catalogue also include a chilli tour and tasting, a cider making workshop, a visit to Kew Gardens, a tea blending workshop, and urban beekeeping.