Sunday, November 20, 2016

Foraging with Rangitane Marae in Marlborough/ Wairau

Foraging along the edge of the top of the south with Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau Copyright
- All rights reserved Peter Langlands/ Wild Capture 7 November 2016 Lying on the South Island’s north eastern coast the Wairau Region is a place of diversity in landscapes and environments. A temperate and productive climate, with lots of sunshine hours and a relatively settled environment allows for a wide range of wild-foods to thrive. The Wairau Plains and adjoining Marlborough Sounds, including Port Underwood, as well s the connection of Marlborough’s largest river, the Wairau itself help define this region. For mahinga kai and kai moana the Rangitane region also provides . A rich productive coastline and the Wairau Lagoons make this region a rich food basket. The South Island’s own “bay of plenty”.
In September this year I was lucky enough to be invited to lead a foraging workshop/ wananga thanks to Keelan Walker. For me and my partner, Melany Wright, the opportunity to explore a new foraging region was one that we accepted immediately. (We are based in Canterbury) . Staying at the Rangitane Marae was a fantastic base. Being all in the one place made preparing and cooking the days foraged bounty easy. The modern kitchen and spacious dining environment on the marae was ideal. From the diversity of foraged greens on the edge of the Wairau Bar, to a collection of shellfish from Port Underwood, including some pauas we were spoilt for choice on the Saturday night. Sunday morning followed through in good measure with fresh flounders from the Wairau and some pre-foraged whitebait. The samphire (a salt-marsh plant with a salty asparagus like taste) eluded us on the day but the Wairau does have rich samphire beds and it is always good to have a reason to return to Rangitane Marae!
While each region has its own unique mix of foraging opportunities there are also some general rules for foraging that allow you to locate foraged foods in New Zealand. In many ways foraging is a basic instinct and allows you to slow down and appreciate nature. It is relaxing and allows you to be in the moment as your eyes dart across the landscape looking for opportunities. In many ways foraging is a very engaging activity that allows you to tune into the quality of the local environment, it also goes without saying that the most diverse foraging areas are also those that have high biodiversity. Often the best places for foraging are the edge zones- the edges of rivers, wetlands, the coastline, road margins and city edges. It is in these often forgotten about places that wild plants will flourish and escaped seeds from commercial crops will go wild. Wild parsnips are a case in point. With their sprawling form wild parsnips take a little more preparation than their cultured relatives but the flavours are more intense as is often the case with foraged foods.
Foraging takes you into the moment; it is a practice of mindfulness that puts food on the table. Really when you are actively foraging, scanning the diversity of plants and their myriad forms you easily forget about everything else. It allows you to tune into nature and to have some time out from the pressures of modern life and the families on the day seemed to enjoy have some time to chill out while getting an exciting range of plants, seaweeds and shellfish for the evenings’ meal. A picnic lunch and an excursion into a cave at Rarangi also was a great interlude to the foraging. With foraging you get a direct connection with your food. Knowing where your food comes from is increasingly important for our health. It is also deeply satisfying and after each forage meal you eat it is hard not to re-live in your mind the day’s events, the places and people that you foraged with, the smell of the sea air and the calls of the birds- the sense of adventure. In fact the more you forage and become aware of the diversity around you the smaller your foraging area becomes. It really allows you to fully appreciate the local environment. The Wairau is a meeting place of landscapes and people, a rich and diverse area that supported the first Maori settlements in the South island. Today that richness is still there and in a relatively small space many foraging fishing and hunting environments exist. It is also our responsibility as foragers to be involved actively in protecting the environments that we forage in. So much is within a stone’s throw for a days foraging and fishing in the Wairau. Certainly foraging also means taking caution, avoiding areas that have been sprayed, and being aware of water quality. Also taking the time to become familiar with poisonous plants and fungi is also important. One the day we encountered the native tutu and the introduced hemlock which are two very poisonous plants. When trying new foods start with a small amount as some foraged foods will not agree with everyone. Really with foraging you will spend your lifetime learning- going one species at a time. It is therefore great to get kids involved early as they will reap the benefits of a life-long learning. The advantages of foraging are many. Firstly you get healthy food that tastes good. Plants foraged along the shoreline will be pre-seasoned by the sea air. You also get to experience a diversity of flavours which are often expressed more intensely in foraged foods. Also for many of the seaweeds there is very little available commercially so for some species like bull kelp you can simply not just pick it up from the supermarket as there is no commercial quota to allow its harvest. It is the seaweeds that are one of the bounties in the forager’s realm and we are lucky to have over 900 types of seaweeds in New Zealand of which over fifty can be readily foraged. The waters of the Rangitane region, and especially in Port Underwood, have a very good diversity of seaweeds as ocean currents meet nearby in Cook Strait. Seaweeds gathered from clean waters are known to be some of the healthiest and most sustaining foods available on the planet. We celebrated this with some crispy bull kelp chips and wakame seaweed salad at the end of the day. Foraging is suited to all ages and the kids eyes are closer to the ground and will see things that we adults will overlook! Everyone will spot something different and that is the fun aspect of foraging. Like a spontaneous treasure hunt. For me I always find something new or unexpected when I go out foraging. Even familiar species can be exciting to find in certain seasons, such as fruiting kawa kawa. Through time and place everything is dynamically changing, the total opposite of controlled supermarket production. Indeed there is a rebellious aspect to foraging, working outside of the “system”. In many ways the growth of foraging will take place at the family and community level, sadly there is not a lot of commercial incentive to promote foraging.
Yet through Whanau and Iwi initiatives we can advance foraging. Social media is also very useful, especially in confirming the identity of new forage species that you find. At present I am working with a wide diversity of people to build up a comprehensive database of the forage species that we have available in New Zealand and I am more than happy to assist people with indenting new species that they find ( contact details below) . Taking a photo with a phone and sharing it to identify something new is a fun aspect of foraging. Foraging is all about sharing knowledge and respect for the environment. Ultimately the excitement of foraging is the ever changing bounty that is available. In many ways foraging is a timeless pursuit that takes us back to the ways of our ancestors, before the land was transformed into an abundance of red meat production. Yet somehow a Smartphone does not look out of place and in this modern age is one of the forager’s most effective tools, along with our eyes and a kete to put the day’s bounty in. Foraging is a bridge between cultures and ages- a real equaliser that’s grounds us all. I look forward to returning to Rangitane and continuing the exploration and sharing- a meeting place for people, waters and landscapes For more information Wild Capture - wild foods and foraging – NZ https://www.facebook.com/forageNZ/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1 Seaweed foraging- New Zealand https://www.facebook.com/groups/324733514387077/ Photographs- Captioned photographs in Dropbox. Copyright- Peter Langlands/ Wild Capture 2016 Draft two – 7 November 2016 Copyright- All rights reserved Peter Langlands/ Wild Capture 7 November 2016 Lying on the South Island’s north eastern coast the Wairau Region is a place of diversity in landscapes and environments. A temperate and productive climate, with lots of sunshine hours and a relatively settled environment allows for a wide range of wild-foods to thrive. The Wairau Plains and adjoining Marlborough Sounds, including Port Underwood, as well s the connection of Marlborough’s largest river, the Wairau itself help define this region. For mahinga kai and kai moana the Rangitane region also provides . A rich productive coastline and the Wairau Lagoons make this region a rich food basket. The South Island’s own “bay of plenty”. In September this year I was lucky enough to be invited to lead a foraging workshop/ wananga thanks to Keelan Walker. For me and my partner, Melany Wright, the opportunity to explore a new foraging region was one that we accepted immediately. (We are based in Canterbury) . Staying at the Rangitane Marae was a fantastic base. Being all in the one place made preparing and cooking the days foraged bounty easy. The modern kitchen and spacious dining environment on the marae was ideal. From the diversity of foraged greens on the edge of the Wairau Bar, to a collection of shellfish from Port Underwood, including some pauas we were spoilt for choice on the Saturday night. Sunday morning followed through in good measure with fresh flounders from the Wairau and some pre-foraged whitebait. The samphire (a salt-marsh plant with a salty asparagus like taste) eluded us on the day but the Wairau does have rich samphire beds and it is always good to have a reason to return to Rangitane Marae! While each region has its own unique mix of foraging opportunities there are also some general rules for foraging that allow you to locate foraged foods in New Zealand. In many ways foraging is a basic instinct and allows you to slow down and appreciate nature. It is relaxing and allows you to be in the moment as your eyes dart across the landscape looking for opportunities. In many ways foraging is a very engaging activity that allows you to tune into the quality of the local environment, it also goes without saying that the most diverse foraging areas are also those that have high biodiversity. Often the best places for foraging are the edge zones- the edges of rivers, wetlands, the coastline, road margins and city edges. It is in these often forgotten about places that wild plants will flourish and escaped seeds from commercial crops will go wild. Wild parsnips are a case in point. With their sprawling form wild parsnips take a little more preparation than their cultured relatives but the flavours are more intense as is often the case with foraged foods. Foraging takes you into the moment; it is a practice of mindfulness that puts food on the table. Really when you are actively foraging, scanning the diversity of plants and their myriad forms you easily forget about everything else. It allows you to tune into nature and to have some time out from the pressures of modern life and the families on the day seemed to enjoy have some time to chill out while getting an exciting range of plants, seaweeds and shellfish for the evenings’ meal. A picnic lunch and an excursion into a cave at Rarangi also was a great interlude to the foraging. With foraging you get a direct connection with your food. Knowing where your food comes from is increasingly important for our health. It is also deeply satisfying and after each forage meal you eat it is hard not to re-live in your mind the day’s events, the places and people that you foraged with, the smell of the sea air and the calls of the birds- the sense of adventure. In fact the more you forage and become aware of the diversity around you the smaller your foraging area becomes. It really allows you to fully appreciate the local environment. The Wairau is a meeting place of landscapes and people, a rich and diverse area that supported the first Maori settlements in the South island. Today that richness is still there and in a relatively small space many foraging fishing and hunting environments exist. It is also our responsibility as foragers to be involved actively in protecting the environments that we forage in. So much is within a stone’s throw for a days foraging and fishing in the Wairau. Certainly foraging also means taking caution, avoiding areas that have been sprayed, and being aware of water quality. Also taking the time to become familiar with poisonous plants and fungi is also important. One the day we encountered the native tutu and the introduced hemlock which are two very poisonous plants. When trying new foods start with a small amount as some foraged foods will not agree with everyone. Really with foraging you will spend your lifetime learning- going one species at a time. It is therefore great to get kids involved early as they will reap the benefits of a life-long learning. The advantages of foraging are many. Firstly you get healthy food that tastes good. Plants foraged along the shoreline will be pre-seasoned by the sea air. You also get to experience a diversity of flavours which are often expressed more intensely in foraged foods. Also for many of the seaweeds there is very little available commercially so for some species like bull kelp you can simply not just pick it up from the supermarket as there is no commercial quota to allow its harvest. It is the seaweeds that are one of the bounties in the forager’s realm and we are lucky to have over 900 types of seaweeds in New Zealand of which over fifty can be readily foraged. The waters of the Rangitane region, and especially in Port Underwood, have a very good diversity of seaweeds as ocean currents meet nearby in Cook Strait. Seaweeds gathered from clean waters are known to be some of the healthiest and most sustaining foods available on the planet. We celebrated this with some crispy bull kelp chips and wakame seaweed salad at the end of the day. Foraging is suited to all ages and the kids eyes are closer to the ground and will see things that we adults will overlook! Everyone will spot something different and that is the fun aspect of foraging. Like a spontaneous treasure hunt. For me I always find something new or unexpected when I go out foraging. Even familiar species can be exciting to find in certain seasons, such as fruiting kawa kawa. Through time and place everything is dynamically changing, the total opposite of controlled supermarket production. Indeed there is a rebellious aspect to foraging, working outside of the “system”. In many ways the growth of foraging will take place at the family and community level, sadly there is not a lot of commercial incentive to promote foraging. Yet through Whanau and Iwi initiatives we can advance foraging. Social media is also very useful, especially in confirming the identity of new forage species that you find. At present I am working with a wide diversity of people to build up a comprehensive database of the forage species that we have available in New Zealand and I am more than happy to assist people with indenting new species that they find ( contact details below) . Taking a photo with a phone and sharing it to identify something new is a fun aspect of foraging. Foraging is all about sharing knowledge and respect for the environment. Ultimately the excitement of foraging is the ever changing bounty that is available. In many ways foraging is a timeless pursuit that takes us back to the ways of our ancestors, before the land was transformed into an abundance of red meat production. Yet somehow a Smartphone does not look out of place and in this modern age is one of the forager’s most effective tools, along with our eyes and a kete to put the day’s bounty in. Foraging is a bridge between cultures and ages- a real equaliser that’s grounds us all. I look forward to returning to Rangitane and continuing the exploration and sharing- a meeting place for people, waters and landscapes For more information Wild Capture - wild foods and foraging – NZ https://www.facebook.com/forageNZ/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1 Seaweed foraging- New Zealand https://www.facebook.com/groups/324733514387077/ Photographs- Captioned photographs in Dropbox. Copyright- Peter Langlands/ Wild Capture 2016 Draft two – 7 November 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wild Capture Foraging Tours

I am a forager based in Christchurch and the Waipara Region in North Canterbury. My foraging tours are based around Banks Peninsula and the wine growing regions of North Canterbury. Typically foraging trips range from 3- 6 hours and a wide selection of foraged foods is collected and prepared at either a local restaurant or out in the field with simple dishes that allow the tastes of the foraged ingredients to be savoured. I have lived in Canterbury all my life and have an intimate knowledge of the region and it's natural resources. I have written a range of regional foraging guides that are available online and am working on a comprehensive photographic guide to the forage foods available in New Zealand. I often travel around NZ and work with chefs (such as James Beck at Bistronomy in Napier and Giulio Sturla at Roots in Lyttelton) and have involved with the implementation of foraged foods into a range of tertiary institutions My business name is Wild Capture and I can be contacted on 0274501916 (NZ) or Email E: langlands@xtra.co.nz Foraging tours are customised for group requirements. We can also visit local vineyards and match foraged foods to locally produced wines Peter Langlands Wild capture Foraging Tours

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Forage North Canterbury 2016

Local foraging event celebrates diversity of wild-foods (and the opportunity to prepare a wide range of seafoods). Peter Langlands 1 February 2016 The second North Canterbury Forage event was held on the 30th of January 2016 . The event initiated and organised by Angela Clifford has been an outstanding success. Angela represents a range of vineyards (Tongue in Groove wines) in the Waipara Region, and the event was to profile the regions high quality wines alongside the range of foraging ingredients available within a stone’s throw of the vineyard. Eight teams of people headed out from the iconic Pegasus Bay Vineyard forage, fish and hunt a wide range of foods for a range of some of New Zealand’s top chefs to prepare in innovative and exciting ways. Yet while a wide range of seafood was gathered it was a 150 kilogram wild boar that stole the show, shot by local vineyard manager Nick Gill. Seafood featured well in the day’s bounty with a wide range of seaweeds, shellfish and fin fish collected in addition to some freshwater eels. The event showed just what a large variety of food can be gathered in a small area. The event helped to profile the diversity of fish species that can be used outside of the traditionally known species. Scarlett wrasse and sea perch were served up with steamed seaweed and seaweed butter to create an impressive on the table dish for some international visitors. An octopus even made it onto the table. Even small yellow eyed mullet caught by using a bait net were transformed into tasty boquerones, a Spanish perpetration which involves marinating the mullet and serving them as a snack before the main meal. Increasingly there is more awareness about matching vines with seafood and freshwater fish. White wines overall are the best for seafood matches , with aromatic wines like Gewürztraminer going well with strongly flavoured oily fish. A crisp and light Riesling , chilled is also a compliment to many types of seafood. Some of the stronger flavour fish species like kahawai can be matched with a Pinot noir. The Waipara Region is very well known now with wines winning international awards. Many international wine writers attended the event, along with some of the country’s top chefs - with the aim of making the Waipara Region a food and wine tourist destination. Overall many chefs and vineyards feel that we need to make our country more of food and wine, destination, to rival adventure tourism. The event is planned to take place again in 2017 Link to North Canterbury Forage 2015 – https://vimeo.com/124989478 Photograph – 1-Small yellow eyed mullet are prepared to make boquerones.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Coastal foraging in winter Peter Langlands For me one of the most exciting aspects of heading down to the beach is gathering wild foods. Why? Firstly hunting out “Wildfoods” can be incidental to tramping. It makes sense to gather edible things that you come across. In many cases the food will be very healthy and organic, and you have the benefit of knowing where it come from. Other benefits include that the food is often more intense in taste than commercially available options and in some cases, especially pauas there aren’t many (if any!) commercially available options. Bountiful shellfish I love shoreline foraging with its wide diversity shellfish available. Interestingly during the Irish potato famine many people starved on the doorstep of rich shoreline food resources, a great tragedy, due in part upon reliance primarily on potatoes and an ignorance of shoreline foods. Shellfish are readily available and are best taken after periods of low rainfall, or a hundred metres or so away from any significant freshwater source (if it is running off agricultural land). Green shell mussels are a mainstay and grow to a good size. I like to snorkel for mussels, as often the mussels below the low tide mark are of larger size and better condition, than those in the inter- tidal. Blue mussels are smaller than green lips and grow higher up on the tide line and are as good, if slightly different in taste, as the better-known green shell mussel. Rock oysters, which proliferate round much of our coastline, are often overlooked. Several large rock oysters are equal to a Bluff oyster and in my opinion their taste is more intense. The rock oyster tends to be a more southern speceis with the Pacific oyster growing from the northern South Island and throughout the North Island, often on sheltered parts of the coast around mudflats or sheltered waterways (such as the Marlborough Sounds). On more exposed parts of the rocky coastlines pauas are the top prize or the shoreline forager. On remoter parts of our coastline legal sized pauas can be gathered at low tide, but often snorkelling gear is required to get legal sized pauas in many areas these days. Magic of wharves I love chilling out and fishing from wharves. The key to success here is to use small hooks. Large spotties and yellow-eyed mullet make great eating when fresh. I love eating whole fish, off the bone, after crisping them up and serving with a tomato and chilli pesto. Jack mackerel can be caught around many wharves in the northern parts of New Zealand and are delicious when hot-smoked. Potting Potting for paddlecrabs or “piecrust crabs” is a fun activity. A simple hoop pot baited with an oily fish such as a mackerel works very well. Wharves make good spots for potting for piecrust crabs (which have beautiful meat in their claws). If you have a kayak then placing pots in further from shore, over open sand, will allow you to catch paddle crabs. The other exciting part of hoop potting is the by-catch- anything from brittle stars to seahorses will turn up to fascinate the kids. Healthy seaweeds On the rocky shoreline don’t overlook the wide range of edible seaweeds that occur there. Seaweeds are incredibly healthy with high levels of trace elements. Bladder kelp is one of my favourites. The blades of the kelp, when dried slowly in the oven, turn from a brown to green colour. Once crispened by baking in olive oil, and with a little cracked pepper, they make delicious “seaweed flavoured potato chip”. Neptune’s necklace when likely blanched and added to a salad makes a point of interest. Karengo, dark bladed kelp growing high up on the inter-tidal, is often in its prime in late winter. When fried with a mix of olive oil and butter, along with some cracked pepper it is delicious. Karengo has grown significantly in popularity in recent years as a point of interest by many chefs, and is commercially harvested in areas such as Kaikoura. Undaria, the seaweed accidentally introduced from Japan, is also a prime food source when dried out. As people look to more healthy forms of food, interest in gathering seaweeds is growing. Coastal herbs The shoreline area is not only a rich source of shellfish and seaweeds but many types of herbs grow wild along the shore. Wild fennel is often very prolific in dry stony areas. The fennel makes a great herb for favouring seafood dishes, and can also be brewed to make a refreshing tea. The seedpods, from fennel, when ground down also make an intense flavouring. Italian parsley often grows prolifically along shoreline areas in the rank shrub just above the high tide mark. Winter is a good time to gather Italian parsley and having go at making homemade pesto with it. There is nothing to me more comforting than cooking freshly gathered wild foods and cooking them up over a beach fire. If local regulations prohibit the use of an open fire, then a gas cooker is a passable substitute. There is nothing like dining alfresco, even in winter, and looking out over a beautiful coastal view. Brewing up a strong espresso is often a good way to “sign-off” from a days’ shoreline foraging. So next time you head down to the beach take a bucket or two, a chilly bin, a gas cooker, a sharp knife, a hammer and chisel (for the Pacific and rock oysters), some snorkelling gear, a couple of fishing rods and have dinner. At the end of the day there is nothing like some fresh sea air to clear away the cobwebs of city living. By bringing some food back to the table you can also re-live the days events. Happy foraging.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Update for 2016

Thanks all for your interest in wild-foods and foraging. I will regularly update this blog in 2016. It is an exciting year for mapping out our wildfoods resources. In the meantime check out Meghan Walkers excellent article in the latest copy of NZ Wilderness magazine. Foraging should be a way of life in our land of plenty, but make sure that you return the favour and stand up for the environment upon which we are all dependent . Article in latest Wilderness by Meghan Walker. ‪#‎wildcaptureforage Cheers Peter

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wild foods along the Kaikoura Coast.

Peter Langlands The Kaikoura Coast with its temperate climate offers a range of wild plants that can be gathered from the roadside or on walks around the peninsula. Fennel is a common herb that thrives along Kaikoura’s coastal roads and the young shoots provide the best taste and can also be used in a salad. The distinctive yellow seeds can also be used as flavouring and especially compliment fish dishes very well. Another common coastal herbs the Italian parsley which likes to grow along the rocky coastline from Oaro up to Kaikoura. Italian parsley is very flavourful and like fennel is a great match with seafood. A native species, the native celery which looks very similar to the Italian parsley but grows further out on rock outcrops is a very tasty herb (but as this is a rare native species harvesting should be minimal). The most exotic plant is the banana passion fruit which occurs in vines from west of Oaro to Kaikoura Peninsula with the ripe fruit available in the autumn. On the drive up to Kaikoura there are also numerous wild apple trees on the roadside which offer an autumn harvest. Calendula flowers will add a little colour to your wild harvested salad. Wild spinach is also very common along the beaches, especially at South Bay, and again the fresh leaves provide the best eating. Make sure that you give any wild gathered plants a good wash and pick the fresh growth. Wild herbs will add a little bit of local flavour and many of the herbs occurring along Kaikoura Coastline compliment seafood dishes well. So with a little insight you can produce your own locally gathered salad. Certainly Kaikoura is a bountiful environment along the coastal strip.

Banks Peninsula Wildfood Guide 2015

Banks Peninsula Wildfood Guide - now available with updates for 2015 A 40 page guide outlining wildfoods that can be foraged on Banks Peninsula. Text, photographs and illustrations by Peter Langlands. Banks Peninsula represents a diverse foraging environment with a mix of woodland and shoreline foods that can be foraged. There is also a range of native and introduced species. This guide is primarily an identification guide to the species available with some outlines on habitats and locations for foraging also. Guide is sent out electronically in PDF format. To order email E:langlands@xtra.co.nz Peter Langlands. Available for $10