October 30, 2015
It would be an understatement to say that Wildcook’s Garry Eveleigh is simply ‘well known’ to Berthon. In fact, he’s made it a habit, and of course our pleasure, to regale us with tales of his foraging exploits for as long as we’ve been willing to print them!
‘The Mushroom Man is a name that I have acquired over the years from taking friends and friends of friends to the forest to identify and gather a basketful or two of edible and delicious wild mushrooms’. (Lifestyle VII)
‘Foreshore foraging can be equally as exciting and rewarding whether the tide is in or out’. (Lifestyle VIII)
‘As the tide slowly ebbs away and gradually exposes more and more of the varied sea bed, I lick my lips and almost salivate with thoughts of the delights that will fill my awaiting empty buckets’. (Lifestyle IX)
‘While doing that rather tedious once or twice weekly trolley dash at your supermarket, a great many of you regularly pick up a small bag of washed and prepared salad leaves. What you probably don’t know is that- yep even city folk are not much more than a stone’s throw away from the most delicious, succulent, green, totally organic and completely free, mind-blowing little wild salad leaves that are shouting “pick me.”’ (Lifestyle X)
‘In bygone years, the freshly gathered gull’s eggs were used to barter anything from meat from your local butcher to even a pint or two at your local ale house, or the eggs were simply eaten at any mealtime, omelettes, scrambled or fried by the half dozen.’ (Lifestyle XI)
Starting as a Berthon apprentice in the 1970s, he’s since gone on to become an expert in his ‘field’; continuously expanding upon his now lifetime of exploits in both finding and selecting the most delectable wild food ingredients the New Forest has to offer.
Today, amongst other things, Garry forages on a professional basis, supplying chefs at the fêted Lime Wood, and The Pig hotels with the freshest ingredients. He takes guests on foraging walks, which of course, receive rave reviews – both for the way he shares his unique and deep knowledge of the world around, and the feast that awaits them on their return.
“For more than five decades the New Forest, its outlying regions and foreshores have been my home, livelihood and wonderland. In all those years I’ve never tired of it.’
“Of the three thousand or more varieties of fungi that grow in the New Forest my personal picking list is whittled down to just twenty or so and my top ten are the most delicious mushrooms that money simply can’t buy.”
Marry these words with his continued running of the Lymington Quay based Puffin Cruises, and a seemingly uncapped spice for all things locally grown, it is very hard not to believe this man when he says ‘I know the best bits of the forest like the back of my hand’.
Now, after some time in the making, Garry and team have written and released their first book – Wildcook; ceps, shrubs & rock ‘n’ roll. Marketed as an ‘easy-to-use field guide and cookbook’; recipes by James Golding, Director Chef, The Pig Hotels.
If you like to cook and enjoy local ingredients, it is well worth a second glance and we wish Garry well with it. If you are familiar with the forest and foreshore close to Berthon you will recognise much of the imagery, and the recipes look delicious…
It’s available on The WildCook Website, Amazon, elsewhere online, and in high-street booksellers.