We are very excited to be welcoming Fore / Adventure to GrowEatGather this month where they will be sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for the great outdoors.
Based on the beautiful Dorset coast, Jade, Dan and their children have escaped city life to create the perfect haven to encourage people to learn and embrace all that nature has to offer. In the coming issues they will share their love of foraging, recipes using the ‘outdoor larder’ which surrounds us all, and take us on some amazing journeys… with a little bit of adventure thrown in of course. Meet Jade and Dan …
Tell us about Fore / Adventure – who you are, what you do, location etc.
We wholeheartedly believe in life through adventure, and we live it by getting up to whole heap of antics on our little patch of wild in Dorset, through foraging, feasting, adventuring and simply being in the great outdoors, passing on the batten for these nature loving days to as many people that happen to stumble across us as we possibly can.
What is your background and what inspired you to start your own business?
We spent our former years living and working in cities, Jade trained as an Architect and spent her waking hours glued to the computer screen, Dan was a manager in an outdoor centre and ended up spending more and more of his days overseeing others running the activities which got him hooked in the outdoor lifestyle in the first place. We got married and had our first daughter Molly and our perspective just shifted, we yearned to escape the rat race, to give our family a different way of life, to make a difference to our lives and hopefully others too.
We started up the business with a little hut and 4 sea kayaks, we built up a good reputation for kayaking but over the years the direction of the business changed as we did, we added more strings to our bows and Jade became more actively involved, not just running the behind the scenes but training to become a beach school and forest school leader so she could work alongside Dan. Add 2 more daughters to the mix and there’s all the inspiration you need!
Why did you choose your location?
Why we chose Dorset? well it’s the same old story for most people who relocate for a slice of the ‘good life’, we’ve been visiting here since we were children and carried fond memories of care free enid blytonesque days that we felt a burning desire to recreate. Studland is such a diverse environment with woods, heathland, seashore and beach, which guarantee a whole scope of adventure. And there is a very strong sense of community here. We just wanted the dream of being by the sea and bringing up our little people somewhere magical.
Can you tell us a bit about the variety of outdoor encounters you offer?
We get up to all sorts on our coastal patch, from foraging to fishing, bushcraft to beachschool, kayaking to coasteering and wild food to wild camping, but the common thread that ties our adventuring days together is our die-hard love; food. For us it’s not about the end goal; it’s about the actual going out catching and hunting and identifying everything. The adventurous process underpins all our foraging.
One of the key things we have at our disposal is that we can reach amazing areas you can’t reach by foot. We can access secret coves by kayak and headlands by stand up paddle board and when we’re snorkelling or coasteering it opens up the realms of underwater and seashore foraging for us. Seaweed and sea vegetables might be more “on trend” with chefs but, for most of our clients, when they come out with us for the day and start collecting and preparing wild food, it’s a totally new experience for them and one that we hope they will continue to encounter from there on.
You believe strongly in making that connection between our environment and our plate, can you tell us why this is so important?
We strongly believe that seeing is believing and making the connection with where our food comes from is key to our understanding and our respect of the environment. We are becoming so desensitised to the root of our food sources that we really feel that by helping to encourage families and schools to engage with nature in this way it will join the dots again for future generations and help us all to live happier, healthier lives.
Foraging for wild food plays a big part in making this connection, how so?
When it comes to foraging seeing people first recognising that glorious relationship between the outdoors and what they eat is always a special moment. Donning your wellies, basket in hand and exploring the hedgerows and seashore is like a treasure hunt of the natural kind. Being able to eat what you find in this adventurous way is an added bonus – it becomes about the journey. There is something deeply satisfying in finding and cooking up your own food, which is so clearly evident when working with children as well as grown ups – it appeals to all the senses.
What are some of your favourite wild ingredients to forage?
Each season brings new bounty and we love to share what we find and use it to make up recipes for our foraged feasts and post on our blog to inspire others to seek out wild ingredients and forge some good times of their own. We look forward to foraging for cockles and razor clams, setting pots to catch crabs and lobster, trolling for mackerel from our kayaks, and at the end of the day cooking up our loot on the campfire with some wild greens, flatbreads and something really simple like an aioli made with samphire and sea purslane. You have to love berry season too, rosehips and blackberries are some of our ultimate family favourites treats. The simple forages are often the best and there is nothing better than seeing your smalls grabbing handfuls of blackberries and trotting home basket laden with muddy knees and stained faces.
What wild ingredients should we be looking out for at the moment?
Being lucky enough to be sited a toe dipping distance from the shore, a hop skip and a jump away from the heathland that hugs the harbour on the other side of the peninsula and within easy reach of surrounding woodland, we have a whole array of foraged goodies to pick and choose from, but apart from the seaweed which is at arms reach pretty much all of the time some of our favourite wild greens springing up at the moment are the simplest ones to spot; cleavers, nettles, wild garlic, hairy bittercress, chickweed, wild chives, alexanders and then there’s the sea vegetables; sea purslane, scurvy grass, samphire….the list goes on.
What’s next for Fore / Adventure?
What is key for us is the sensitivity of how we operate, because we work in a sensitive area there is only so much work we feel that we can responsibly and ethically do in our location with
Fore / Adventure but we are always on the lookout for opportunities in the future and within the next few years we hope to offer more strings to the Fore bow in other locations.
We get such a buzz from the work we are developing with the wild food workshops, recipes and foraged feasts and sharing what makes us tick with others is such a privilege for us that this part of the business is an area we are strongly developing and we are now looking for partners who share this passion and can help us spread the message further.
Our little saying is that we are not searching for world domination and it’s so true. We want to keep progressing and challenging ourselves and we would love to develop those lightbulbs moments and ideas if and when the time feels right, but within the immediate future we just want to refine what we are offering and maintain the smiles on both our own and our customers faces.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FORE / ADVENTURE