In her second book, Alys Fowler combines the fast-growing trend for foraging with the necessity for thrift, and the result is marvellous for countryside and urban dwellers alike. Fowler encourages us to expect discovery of a tree full of mulberries, or blackberries ripe for picking, in a car park as much as a country lane; she reveals that figs and raspberries often grow in parks; and that you can eat poppy leaves or mahonia berries picked from a city’s edible landscape. Since reading the book, I must confess to having started scanning the side of the railway track on the way home from work for signs of dinner.
As you’d expect from a former presenter of Gardener’s World, Alys Fowler’s knowledge is comprehensive, covering all you need to know to get started, what to pick and when and the dos and don’ts of foraging, combined with a deep understanding of land use and management.
Case studies such as the community gardens in Todmorden, near Manchester, whose residents have gone beyond growing their own to create a whole sustainable village, are inspirational, while a plant directory packed with specific information and a seasonal ‘at a glance’ foraging table are helpful features in the final part of the book.
Fresh, verdant, attractively designed and a tad quirky, The Thrifty Forager is highly recommended.
The Thrifty Forager by Alys Fowler (Kyle Books) £16.99