Sitting on an upturned bucket in the blazing early morning summer sun, severing nettle tips, I think to myself, Mmmm possibly, a private education was wasted on me! I have little Artisan food company called ‘Wild about’ which we run from our small permaculture farm in Co. Wexford. We make hand crafted chutneys, preserves, syrups, cordials and fresh pestos from the wealth of native, seasonal and wild ingredients, Celtic Roots Chutney, Ginger Beets, Rosehip Jam, Raspberry Beret, Crackin Carrot Chutney, Nettle Syrup, Fennel Cider Butter to name a few That’s what floats my boat really, the native and wild fruits, herbs and berries which grow in such abundance in our hedgerows. I’m not a nutritionalist, herbalist or horticulturalist, actually I’m a documentary film producer by trade, but I’m madly drawn to learning more about their flavours and uses, digging deep into the meta research on nutritional values and medicinial properties of what grows freely and abundantly in my own environment. Many of our core ingredients are what is modernly termed as ‘Superfoods’ rich in mineral salts, vitamins, calcium, potassium like nettles or chickweed. Scientifically proven to be packed with antioxidants, riboflavin’s and salicylates such as primrose and dogrose; others are acknowledged to aid digestion (fennel, wild celery, mint) aid circulation (hawthorn, beetroot), while others have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties (wild garlic, marigold, rosemary, elder, thyme, nasturtium). Harnessing the properties of wild native ingredients in our food is not a new idea. . . . . “The Fruits of indigenous trees became a common food source about six thousand years agofollowing forest clearance by the first farmers on the island.”-Fergus Kelly, Early Irish Farming The Celts recognized the benefits of wild fruits and seasonal harvests and set about devising agricultural and horticultural practices which form the basis of our agricultural and cultural heritage. “Trees like the Elder, Rowan, Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Crab apple were accorded magic qualities by the Celtic Druids and were symbols of the agricultural year”.-E. Estyn Evans: Irish Folk Ways So Why don’t we use them ? Why can’t we buy them in our supermarkets ? Why aren’t we selling them to the rest of the world who still see Ireland as one of the cleanest, greenest, most fertile lands on the planet ? WILD ABOUT is challenging that, bringing the native and wild ingredients to the forefront through innovative, new products and flavours combinations that utalize the wealth of our local, seasonal and wild harvests. We’ve had a huge response. People GET seasonality, they get LOCAL economy “Without a prosperous local economies, the people have no power and the land no voice” and they GET the huge potential of what we have sitting in our hedgerows. Wild native herbs, fruits and berries are part of our history and our heritage. Wild about is working to make them part of our future too ! Wild about recently won the ALL IRELAND FARMERS MARKET COMPETITION for its products, ethos and display. Wild about trade weekly at Marlay Park and the Peoples Park in Dublin and Food Festivals nation wide.