Friday, July 23, 2010

Urban Foraging

2 posts in 1 day after a period of laziness.  Does that make me a bad blogger?  Well I wanted to tell this story but I had to explain the whole Going Primal thing first to put everything into context.

Last week I did a cool thing, which I got way too over excited about - perhaps it's an indication of how rock star exciting my life is as I approach my late late 30s..

On a run recently I noticed some cherry trees on Tooting Bec Common.  I've been running there for years and I never noticed the cherry trees.  Anyway they're fruiting and so I thought, hell why not do a bit of urban foraging and get me some cherries - the ones in the shops are way too damned expensive.  So after the run I got a bag and went and collected some.  Now I've done some research and these are bird cherries - they're pretty small and not massively sweet, but hey they're free right?

So that's not the story.  It gets better.  A few days later my lovely coach has set me a hill training session - 60 second reps uphill with a 90 second jog recovery.  There's only really one hill near me I know and I've been there a few times before, so I head on over.  Now after my previous experience I'm hypersensitive to fruiting trees, especially cherry trees (and plum trees).  I'm seeing them all over the place.

I jog down to the bottom of the hill and I see one of my well known bird cherry trees.  No big deal.  And then I see one next to it.  I stop. I stare. Dress me in a Tutu and call me Bernard, now THAT is a goddamn cherry tree!  Huge fat dark cherries hanging off this mother in massive numbers.  My HR goes out of the aerobic zone and I haven't even started my session yet.

I do my session all the time thinking about these cherries.  And I know exactly what to do.  I go to the house of the person whose front garden hosts this amazing find.  At first the old black lady is very suspicious of me, sweaty and panting in my run kit, but when I ask her if I can collect some cherries and give her some and maybe take a few myself, she's all smiles and gives an enthusiastic thumbs up to the plan.

The next day I come back, climb up the tree and get me some cherries.  The old lady gets some, her neighbour gets some and yours truly gets a pretty good batch too.

At home I de-stone most of the cherries as they're very ripe and put them in the freezer. With a few others I make up a cherry smoothie - oh mama! Here's the photos of the full haul so you can compare against the bird cherries:

Those beauties in the freezer made for plenty of desserts with a dollop of yoghurt and the odd smoothie. I think I got so excited not only because I felt like I was getting this cool free stuff that costs a bomb in the supermarket, but also because I connected with a couple of neighbours in my local area, and brightened up their lives a little bit too.  And it's all top Primal food that tastes awesome and is good for you.  Going Primal does not mean having to miss out on great food.

There's opportunity everywhere if we just look around us.


  1. Dude, that's awesome. Interesting posts on nutrition too. I'll check out the website you referenced. I also read a good book recently on the subject which you might like to check out: "Eat, Drink and be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating" by Walter Willet. Available on Amazon and pretty cheap - worth a look.

  2. Mate looks like an interesting book. Would be good to see if what he says fits/conflicts with some of the Primal theories.

    Will have to add to the burgeoning list of books to read!