Jane Fairman, Forager
Meet Jane Fairman, who describes herself as a Hedgewitch. Jane believes that Nature gives us what we need and when we need it: a lot of the plants appearing now have a gentle cleansing action which we need to spring clean ourselves after winter. Then we will be ready for the light salads etc. when early summer comes.
“I grew up in Wiltshire where my Mother used to make jams and marmalades since before I can remember” says Jane. “My parents were both keen walkers and they dragged us with them wherever they went. Even when I went off to London to work in advertising I would still be making jams and chutneys during my spare time.
Now Jane lives with her husband and three children aged between seven and seventeen in Lewes. She has developed a passion not just for foraging, but for bringing the unique nutritional benefits of wild plants and berries to an ever widening audience. Jane runs a series of seasonal foraging trips to the beach, meadows or woodlands where you can learn how to identify, harvest and prepare wild foods.
Jane first started selling cordials made from cherry blossom, nettle and lemon balm, may blossom, elderflower and honeysuckle, at the Farmers’ Market. Four years ago she became a founder Friday Market stall-holder. Since then she has widened her range of foraged foods to include such delights as wild garlic and nettle pesto, wild garlic mayonnaise, syrups, jams and chutneys, all made from locally foraged plants and berries – and now seaweeds!
Jane is especially excited about the cross-over between foraging and the culinary art, using natural ingredients that have been available for centuries. She freely admits she’s unlikely to get very rich from the hedgerows but she gets her reward in a different way by opening up the huge larder that we have on our doorstep and sharing it with others.
Currently she’s busy harvesting young nettles – already waiting to be foraged in sheltered sunny locations - and Alexander plants – brought to the UK by the Romans and described as the forgotten vegetable of old England and the wild garlic growing strongly through the snow, unaffected by the cold.
Come and meet Jane at the Friday Food Market and have your taste buds and questions ready. For info on foraging trips, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org