Wild and wonderful

ThisisFINLAND Magazine 2016

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Wild food is a big international trend, but only in a few places is nature as accessible as it is in Finland. Pick or catch your own food and enjoy.

“Wild food is local, organic, seasonal, healthy and free. It includes plants, berries, mushrooms, honey, sap, fish and game. It’s the best kind of Finnish food, and it’s accessible even in Helsinki”, says wild food expert and enthusiast, Chef Sami Tallberg.

He’s a wild food ambassador for the ELO Foundation, which promotes Finnish food culture. Tallberg takes groups of food lovers into their local natural environment and teaches them how to gather their own food.

There are more than 75 edible and tasty wild plants in Finland, and with many regional differences in that variety.Photo: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry/ Archive

“The best time to go is in the morning, when the plants are at their best to be picked. By roaming in forests we also keep our bond with nature alive. Plus, it’s good for your health to exercise in fresh air and eat food consisting of wild plants, berries and mushrooms. It’s a great activity for the whole family.”

For tourists, a foraging course is a wonderful chance to see the richness of Finland’s nature.

“For many it’s unbelievable to find food growing in the wild so near to the city centre, for instance, in Central Park in Helsinki. This closeness to the forest is really unique to the Nordic countries. After two hours, the tourists just want to stay in the forest! It’s astonishing to see how many plant species you actually can eat,” Tallberg says.

“Every season has its own delicacies. Our summer is short, but it’s possible to find edible plants from April until October. You can also dry and freeze plants and berries for the winter,” Tallberg concludes.

Everyman’s rights

You may:You must not:
walk, ski and cycle freely, except near people’s homes or in fields and gardensdisturb people or damage property, disturb animals and birds
pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers as long as they are not protected speciescut down or damage trees, leave litter, light open campfires
fish with a rod and linecollect moss, lichen or wood on other people’s property
set up a camp temporarily, at a reasonable distance from homeslet your pets off their leash, fish or hunt without the relevant permits

Download a booklet about Everyman’s rights.

By Päivi Brink, July 2016

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