Thursday, September 11, 2008

Liberate the Land

Forget your Waitroses, your Tescos and your Sainsburys, your Asdas, your Morrisons and your Lidls. There's an even cheaper source of food - it's free - and I have seen it with my own eyes. It is unlikely to sustain even the most minor human though. Yes it definitely will not sustain you, unless you are a fruitatarian.

Blackberries are ready and waiting to be picked in a piece of countryside near you. Nature's wonderful bounty - packaged in fruit form and accessible to those who ramble through the brambles.

It is a wonder of Britain - the fact that there is land in private ownership ("common land") over which we, the masses have certain rights. Whether those rights extend from the grazing of cattle, something I don't have much call for, to the picking of fruit and fungi seems to be in dispute. However, the general consensus seems to be that if you are picking them for your own use, then you are on safe ground.

When we went picking last weekend the dismal weather seemed to have produced a crop of small and incredibly soft fruit, but with a small team of highly trained pickers we managed to snaffle up a couple of pounds of purple berries in just over an hour.

The unseasonal downpours had turned the byways to small inland waterways, so care was required not to get bogged down or to fall unceremoniously into a deep puddle whilst straining off balance to reach the most inaccessible ones.

Quite why they are called blackberries is a mystery, since after our stint in countryside crop collection, my hands were stained purple with flecks of red, ravaged with cuts from the vicious thorns. I must make a note to tell whoever is in charge of these things that they are definitely wrong on this one.

So, the food to feed your family is out there. Forget the credit crunch and go get 'em people.

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