In 2004, John Rensten opened a successful gastro pub, The Green, in Clerkenwell EC1 and soon found that he could combine his love of foraging with his enthusiasm for running a busy eatery. Actually it was the perfect excuse to get him away from the hectic side of the business and get some more peaceful time in the woods or by the coast. They started to add various foraged items to the menu. Initially he picked lots of delicious wild edible mushrooms, his hobby for a few years previously, also plants like wild garlic and sorrel that he gathered each Easter in Devon and their chef used to make wild garlic mash or garlic and sorrel soup. Seabeet from Dorset was always popular too and soon he had the menu dotted with foraged treats, wild fennel, rose hips, elderberries, samphire, borage, mallow and various seaweeds.
He doesn’t have the pub anymore but since then, and on a daily basis, he studies wild food, picks wild food, obsesses about wild food and loves sharing what he has leant, running city foraging walks and taking groups mushroom hunting in The New Forest or combing the seashore in Dorset. He set up Forage London to give city dwellers like himself a chance to enjoy and discover some of the amazing wild foods that grow all around us.
Join John for a short forage on the festival grounds on Saturday and Sunday.