Foraging Tuition and Private Bookings

Book Mark for your own private foraging event at any time of year

You’ve really changed my life with the exceptional knowledge you passed on to me on the foraging day. I have just finished a delicious meal of chanterelles, amethyst deceivers, puffball and ceps! So ecstatic that the rest of my life is now an everlasting treasure hunt. Life changing! The skills you passed on and the enthusiasm for observance was a true gift and I now see the world through an extra dimension!”

– Kit Cubitt, E. Lothian

Private Foraging Tuition

To really learn and gain the confidence to identify edible species it is extremely useful to go out in the field with an experienced foraging teacher.  The very best way of gaining confidence is to book Mark for foraging instruction tailored to your own needs. Learn the hidden foodscape of your own back yard, have fun explorations with family and friends in a beautiful place, and delving deep into foraged cocktails, our wild spice rack or fascinating fungi….

Private Foraging Tuition during Covid 19 Restrictions

As we emerge from Covid 19 Lockdown, Private Bookings are a great way to to learn about foraging while staying safe and within the phased exit protocols.

“My family wanted to connect a bit more with what was in our our own backyard so, on discovering that Mark was offering bespoke guided foraging tours as we exit from full lockdown, we jumped at the chance. Mark helped us discover the edible treasures we had around our pond, all this while respecting the social distancing measures. After 2 hours of tailored tasty tuition, we now know the “yellow thingy” is a pineapple camomile (yum!), that spruce tips really jazz up your gin as well as dozens of other delicious treats! Mark even left us some foraged cocktails and other tasty wild treats, which really was the icing on the cake!”

– Annie, Galloway.

Socially distanced Foraging Walks during Phase 1

Here is what I can offer while keeping us all safe and remaining within the letter and spirit of the Scottish route map out of Lockdown.

Notes:

  • There are currently no set dates for when these phases begin and end)
  • Prices vary between phases to reflect demand

Phase 1 (Up to Friday 19th June):

  •  (Single Household tuition (ie.your household + Mark = 2 Households)
  • Your Household must be within 10 miles of Gatehouse of Fleet (ie. Each household can travel 5 miles to a meeting point)
  • Socially distanced tuition, with no group cooking/sharing/passing round of foods/plants (but I will bring you some foraged treats as gifts!)
  • Observing regular hand washing/sanitising etc
  • Cost: From £50/hour
  • Email mark@gallowaywildfoods.com to book

Phase 2 (Commencing Friday 19th June):

  • 2 Household tuition (ie. your household + another family/friends household (max 8 people) + Mark = 3 Households)
  • Your Household(s) must be within 50 miles of Gatehouse of Fleet (ie. Each household can travel 25 miles to a meeting point)
  • Socially distanced tuition, with no group cooking/sharing/passing round of foods/plants (but I will bring you some foraged treats as gifts!)
  • Observing regular hand washing/sanitising etc
  • Cost: From £75/hour
  • Email mark@gallowaywildfoods.com to book

Phase 3 (From 3rd July):

  • Galloway Wild Foods Public Events Resume (with reduced numbers, no group cooking/eating and social distancing)
  • Private tuition for multiple households (max 10 people in total on the event)
  • No restriction on where
  • Socially distanced tuition, with no group cooking/sharing of foods/plants (but I will bring you some foraged treats as gifts!)
  • Observing regular hand washing/sanitising etc
  • Cost: From £75/hour + travel time & mileage
  • Email mark@gallowaywildfoods.com to book

See Also: Online Wild Food Mentoring

Click Play to listen to a Visit Scotland Podcast, recorded on a private booking with a family.

Sessions or whole days can be tailored to your interests and location. Perhaps you are fascinated by fungi, or want to learn how to unearth spoot clams. Maybe you’d like a celebratory day with friends. Often there will be a host of delicious ‘weeds’ up your lane that you have been ignoring for years!

Kate's Birthday Forage

Kate’s Birthday Forage

If you book Mark for an afternoon or a day and let him know where you are he can design a session that will ensure that you get most out of your time. If you want to learn about things that don’t grow in your area, he can advise on a good place for the foray. Or just say what sort of day you want and let Mark suggest some options.

Gift Vouchers are also available, and can be used to book tuition at a later date –

click here for info.

Coastal Forging with Friends

Coastal Forging with Friends

 

Tuition is not restricted to Dumfries and Galloway – Mark has foraged in many areas of Scotland and N England and can help you get the most out of any area.

“…thanks for giving us the confidence to find and pick such delicious mushrooms! We are now getting enough to put chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms and giant puffballs on our menu – but we keep the ceps for ourselves! The best thing is that after a 3 hour session with you we can now harvest our own little patches year after year!”

Helen, Owner and Head Chef, House O’Hill Hotel, Bargrennan.

Prices

As locations, group size, food etc vary greatly between bookings, I generally quote a price for individual requirements. Please email Mark on mark@gallowaywildfoods.com for an information sheet and to discuss your specific requirements.

“We had a fabulous time last Sunday – I still can’t believe that we were all outside in that filthy weather for nearly 4 hours – kids and all – and completely absorbed. No doubt, helped by cha-cha bomb and sloe gin!!! And delicious fruit leathers and hogweed seed cake. Feedback is only the highest praise. You are so knowledgeable, and such a good communicator, and your cooking and drink mixing legendary! We are so lucky that you came to our patch to show us what is on our doorstep. Thanks so much for dealing with weather and location without fuss. Everyone I have spoken to since Sunday thought it was the BEST DAY EVER!! And so it was! They all thought you were brilliant, and were all amazed by what we found. Those who had less of an expectation of what it was all about were totally blown away; but equally those to whom I had explained in more detail or are already keen foragers, were equally blown away by how much they learned and how engrossing it was.
My excuse for my delay in thanking you is that since our day, I have been ADDICTED to mushroom hunting by day and drying them by night! Having been on the look out for ceps for 2 years, can’t believe that it was on sunday that I found my first! Then found 5 more on Tuesday… Then on Sunday dragged hubby with me – and we filled another huge trug!! So in the evenings, when the girls are asleep, I have been busy creating a mushroom drying factory next to the wood burner!”Alice Stilgoe, Thornhill

Promote Your Own Event

Mark regularly does walks for other businesses. Selling places for your own event is a good way to make bringing Mark to your area more affordable and often profitable. See here.

If you would like to arrange some tuition tailored to your interests/location/group, host a foray at your business, get some help identifying something you have found or just say hi, please contact Mark. I can answer your initial questions and send an information sheet to help you to know what is involved.

glen trool layout

Access your wild resources

Example 1: An extended and far-flung family had got together for a short holiday in Ayrshire. They asked Mark to come up with an interesting venue for an afternoon’s foraging. Read about it here.

Example 2: A retired couple who were keen cooks hired Mark to come to their rural home and help them get to know the free ingredients that lurked in their local woods. They invited a few friends round, had a fun afternoon, and learned how to use their wild larder in their everyday diet.

Example 3: A michelin starred chef hired Mark to take him and his brigade out near his restaurant. He now harvests some of his very finest (and most expensive) products for free. See more here and here

All very pretty...until you have to loup a fence or round up the crushed cranberries.

19 Comments

  • ross says:

    Hi is there anyway to contact you via telephone to ask you whether you can obtain some gorseflower for me to purchase from you?

    Please email me back, or telephone me on 07985d83484.

    Thanks,

    • mark says:

      Hi Ross, thanks for your message. Your phone number was incomplete.
      Of all the things I expected to be asked for, I reckoned gorse flower was the least likely! Its absolutely everywhere in Galloway just now, and as I type I can see swathes of it out of the window. I guess you must live somewhere less rural, or have trouble getting to it?
      Anyway, I could look into getting some to you and would just charge for my time plus postage. I could pick a fair amount in an hour, so possibly around £20, depending on how much you require? Can I ask what you are intending to do with it?
      I am away on holiday for the next 2 weeks, but can look into sending you some when I get back if you wish to proceed?
      Regards, Mark.
      Mark

  • stacy smith says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice on the best place in the d&g region to find elderflower & sloes?

    Thanks!

    • mark says:

      Hi Stacy,
      You are in luck – elder and blackthorn are extremely common all around Galloway and most of the UK. My page on elderflowers has plenty of tips on where to find them. Sloes will not be obvious until late summer – I will publish more info by then. Please also read this: http://www.gallowaywildfoods.com/?page_id=970
      Happy hunting,
      Mark.

  • Mandy Meikle says:

    Dear Mark – I am trying to identify a plant I found growing wild on Arran. I emailed info@castlekirkarran.co.uk and Vicky suggested I contact you. Couldn’t find an email so hope you find this message!

    I doubt it’s an edible plant, and was growing by the coast, north of Brodick, last week (we were on hols there). What stood out were the green berries on a bright purple stalk – tried an online ID site but to no avail! Beautiful small purple flowers too. I’ve never seen anything like it & wondered if you could shed any light. If not, do you know who might?

    • mark says:

      Hi Mandy,

      Its very hard to ID anything from just a description. If you have any pictures, feel free to email them to me or share via twittter or FB and I will be happy to try to help.

      Mark

      • Mandy Meikle says:

        Hi Mark – I didn’t have a camera but Vicky warned me that it might be deadly nightshade so I Googled and it was! I feel that colour combination of purple stalks and green berries should be as much a danger sign as red toadstools with white spots! So beautiful though.

  • katharine coulthard says:

    Hi, we live on a farm in Longtown, just over the boarder, and have an area of woodland that we planted 3 years ago, but has lots of piles of wood. There seem to be lots of different fungus around, but I’m struggling to identify any for sure. I was wondering about trying to organise for you to come to us maybe next Autumn now? I just wanted to get an idea of cost, and what it might entail. If you email I can give you a phone number to call.

  • chris says:

    Hi Mark

    is there a chance that you might post your ketchup recipe I’ve tried various but with no success if you don’t want to reveal it I will understand

    regards

    chris

    • mark says:

      Hi Chris,
      I don’t have “my own” mushroom ketchup recipe, but will work on one and share when I do. May be next season before I get around to this now!
      Mark

  • Iain nicholson says:

    Hi

    would you come to an estate to show us around and see whats available?

    we are new to the area and from looking around the site you have already been to the are in question, ardnamurchan… could you possibly contact me with info and prices to take 2 chefs out? for a day or two

    also do you supply to any restaurants?

    Iain Nicholson

  • Joe Lee says:

    Hello Mark,

    Chris Dolphin was saying a few years ago he went on a walking trip in Gallowway with you and recommends you highly.

    The whole family is now starting to get extremely interested in the idea of learning to forage and I am contacting you to try and get a little information on the costs of a group 4 of us attending a course or arranging a private one. The skills everyone seems very keen on are: the shore side foraging, collecting edibles from hedgerows/ woodland and fungi identification.

    Chris mentioned that you did some courses on wild butchery/ roadkill prperation courses that myself and Chris would be very interested in arranging.

    We are happy to travel to Galloway for the courses as we are fairly local.

    Thanks in advanced for the infomation.

    Joe Lee

  • Hi Mark ,

    we foraged for shrooms with you last autumn at Cardoness and loved it , we would love to book you for a day here at Grobdale to see what we have on our land that we can eat .. We are only up the road as such from you so hope this is an easy commute 🙂 let me know max numbers and a cost if you could, i would like to do autumn again as we have tons of fungi berries and foliage all around us and its my fave time of year for preserving stuff.

    thanks
    Sarah and Andy

  • Jamie Melly says:

    Hi Mark,

    I was just wondering if you do foraging tuition for just one person?

    I live in Lancaster, so coastal foraging is something that really interests me, being so near to Morecambe Bay, but I’d honestly be more interested in coming up to Galloway, for a change of scenery more than anything since it’s reasonably close to me.

    Thanks,

    Jamie

    • Mark Williams says:

      Hi Jamie,
      Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I can certainly do 1:1 sessions. Its a great way to really focus on what’s most useful to you, from your level of knowledge. I do charge for my time rather than per person though, so potentially costly for one. Drop me an email if you’d like more information (mark[at]gallowaywildfoods[dotcom]. Another way is Online Mentoring, which i’ve seen great results with. See here:
      Cheers
      Mark.

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