8 of the Best Places for Fruit Foraging
Wild Strawberries – Strawberry Lane
Barnstaple, North Devon, UK
Nothing says ‘quintessential British summer’ quite like a bowl of ripe strawberries with lashings of double cream. But fruit foragers in the UK know a secret, wild strawberries (the farmed fruit’s smaller, firmer cousin) are bursting with superior flavour. Book yourself in to Huxtable Farm, just down the road from the appropriately named Strawberry Lane, and tuck in to some little red bundles of foraging joy.When to forage: Early summer
Paw paw – Potomac River
Washington D.C, USA
Referred to as America’s forgotten fruit, the paw paw is a tropical treat worth searching for. Paw paws love moist soil, so creek banks are ideal hunting grounds. Found from Georgia to New York these rare fruits range in flavour. Some say the yellow flesh tastes just like banana custard, others say they are a cross between a mango and banana. If you’re up for a paw paw gathering adventure take a kayak along Washington, D.C’s Potomac River, where paw paws have been kayaker’s secret snack of choice for years.
When to forage: Mid August through to the first frost
Not every wild fruit expedition demands a trip into the countryside. You can pick urban oranges (usually with the help of a long stick or net) from Rome’s numerous ornamental fruit trees. Oranges, lemons and clementines are all fair game – you’re even doing the city a favour by picking the fruit. A website and app – Frutta Urbana – has been set up to pinpoint tree locations and you can work with organisers to add trees, distribute fruit or buy products. Any harvest that isn’t picked just falls to the floor and creates a slippery rotting fruit hazard. So, when in Rome – pick fruit!
When to forage: January – May
Sea Grapes – Accra Beach
Barbados, Eastern Caribbean
Coconuts have invaded our supermarket aisles, and while we’re sure a super fresh one is worth tasting, why not search for something even more exotic on your travels? Sea grape trees frame one of Barbados’ longest white sand beaches, Accra beach. Due to its stunning scenery it can be a tourist trap, for quieter pickings check out beaches on the eastern coast. Ripe when the fruit turns purple, these plump, sand dwelling beauties will pack a sweet punch of antioxidants just when your holiday paunch needs it most.
When to forage: August to October
Swedish forests are so abundant with berries in the height of summer that locals invade the woods to fill their baskets full of plump pickings. Infamous for their ‘blueberry’ harvest, what they are actually picking are bilberries. Closely related, the purple cousin of the American muffin-dwelling fruit are just as tasty. So prevalent in Sweden, bilberries are often seen growing by roadsides. For a drive with a difference, head north on the 233 from Ramnäs and stop off at Kolarbyn Ecolodge. Get back to nature at Sweden’s most ‘primitive hotel’ where bilberries grow wild on the cabin roofs.
When to forage: Mid to late summer
Wild Cherries – Cairngorms National Park
If you’re keen on foraging, but would like an expert field guide to walk you through the highs and pitfalls of gathering your own food,
why not book a ‘fruits of the forest’ weekend in the Cairngorms?
Tutored wild foraging awaits you, along with whiskey and roaring fires. For those who know their wild cherries from their sloes, the wooded forests of Scotland are for you.
With 9 other resident berries to hunt for, your only problem will be carrying your fruity booty home.
When to forage: June (for cherries)
Wild Native Raspberry
Short on bush tucker? No problem; eight different species of raspberry are indigenous to Australia, all of which can be found in the rainforest regions of Queensland. Rubus moorei (the silky bramble) is black when ripe, unlike the red raspberries typical to the UK. For a foraging holiday with a difference why not book in to O’Reilly’s Guesthouse? This luxury retreat tucked away inland, just a short drive from the Gold Coast, is a wild raspberry hotspot and ideal gateway to Queensland’s lush rainforests.
Tip: Raspberry leaves also make a delicious tea, noted for curing upset stomachs and easing flu symptoms.
When to forage: Summer
Cloudberries – St Lunaire-Griquet
Newfoundland, Northern Canada
Difficult to cultivate, cloudberries are usually only sampled fresh by eager foragers. Native to northern tundra or peat bogs, these golden clouds of honeyed, apricot heaven can be tricky to gather. However, a drive to ‘Dark Tickle’ in St Lunaire-Griquet should see you right. The company makes a variety of sweet treats from wild berries picked in the surrounding area. Pick up a jar of cloudberry jam off-season or scout around the area in Mid-August when locals are out in force seeking out these juicy little numbers.
When to forage: Mid August