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.
“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.
|You may:||You must not:|
|walk, ski and cycle freely, except near people’s homes or in fields and gardens||disturb people or damage property, disturb animals and birds|
|pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers as long as they are not protected species||cut down or damage trees, leave litter, light open campfires|
|fish with a rod and line||collect moss, lichen or wood on other people’s property|
|set up a camp temporarily, at a reasonable distance from homes||let your pets off their leash, fish or hunt without the relevant permits|
Download a booklet about Everyman’s rights.
By Päivi Brink, July 2016