Friday, August 12, 2011

Foraging Friday...The rules of harvesting free food...

My Tray of Bliss today holds six passionfruit, two green paw-paw, some rosemary, six oranges, some garlic chives and a basil plant.

I haven't been shopping.

I've just been doing my usual morning walk and foraging as I go.

Free food foraging is another good reason for getting to know your neighbourhood. And here's a News Flash. You can't do it from your car.

Over a period of years, I've got to know which of my neighbours on my walking route have produce that simply falls from it's tree or vine and rots. They simply aren't interested or have too much to worry about it. So I've asked for, and received many little bits and pieces that supplement our diet when harvest allows.

But there's a courtesy involved here. I ALWAYS ask first. I don't want to feel like a thief in the night. A note in the letterbox with a phone number will usually suffice. Some people call back, some don't. I usually give them an incentive. Eg. Passionfruit curd made from their own passionfruit, jam in exchange for pawpaws, orange and poppyseed muffins from thier oranges and so on.

If I don't hear anything, I keep careful watch, and harvesting only from what has already fallen on the ground, and in public space, I save many a stray passionfruit or orange from simply becoming compost.

I NEVER take from the tree or vine without prior permission. I NEVER put my hands inside someones fence. I NEVER take anything without asking first.

If I take from what's fallen on the footpath, I still will leave a little something in return. Sometimes it's some hand made greeting cards, or some relish or a little bucket of something from my own garden as a gift with a note saying that I gathered up what would have otherwise rotted and have left this in return.

What I harvest in my foraging would not feed us on an ongoing basis, but gosh, if you're doing it tough, you could do worse than getting to know your neighbours! You'd be surprised what they might share.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?


  1. Was that you pinching my mangoes last year?!?! :P :P :P


  2. He-he-he Kimmie...If I knew where you jolly well lived...yes it would be!!!

  3. Ha!

    We came home one night from grocery shopping to find a fella lurking in the half dark under our mango tree. He had a large Milo tin attached to a broom handle. He rattled the ripe mangoes off our tree and into the tin. A very nifty homemade device hehe (for your future ref perhaps?!?). Unfortunately the bugger had not knocked nor came back with any mango chutney made from his stolen bounty hehehe ;]

  4. Hmm..interesting technique :)

    A bit naughty not to at least ask though!

  5. Most especially given the tree is in our fully fenced rear yard!!!


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