Every year since 2015 the Association of Foragers, an ever growing group of wilderness experts and enthusiasts from around the world, gather in the wilds of the UK to discuss, debate and celebrate all things wild and wonderful. It is a chance to compare findings, recipes, foraging practices and sustainability strategies that will ensure wild spaces are protected and kept thriving for generations to come.
It’s an organisation that the Buck & Birch have been a part of since its inception. It is our commitment to adhere to the Association’s core values of promoting sustainability and ecological stewardship through our brand and products. It is also our chance to learn from others and share our findings along the way.
So last weekend Rupert shook off the winter slumber and headed off to West Lothian for the annual gathering with a boot-full of wild treats to share with the crew.
Packed full of interesting talks, engaging workshops, and the tasty offerings gathered by the gang over the past year, these weekends also give us a fantastic opportunity to get some wildly creative feedback on our drinks range. This year we decided to set them lose on Birch and the results didn’t disappoint - the Forest Martini proving a particular favourite (Learn how to make it here)
Continuing a tradition that began at the meet up 6 years ago in Ardkinglas, Rupert was again asked to create a haggis for the ages. Dubbed the ‘staggis’ this creation is massively meat heavy and about as decadent as it comes. Partly to coincide with Burns night(ish), and partly an excuse to empty a few foragers freezers, this particular incarnation featured venison, pheasant, hare, and goose along with Rupert’s blend of herbs and spices.
With our kitchen motto of "It might work ", the final result turned out quite triumphantly, judging by the reaction and interest it generated. Paired with the ever popular Aelder (both as a drink and in the Aelder braised red cabbage) and punctuated with Mark William’s outstanding address to the fully formed, steaming and tumescent pudding, it’s fair to say the main event was a success. (Make your own haggis dish here)
Rounding off Rupert’s culinary creations was the Birch cheesecake. Not only does this most indulgent of desserts include our Ana birch syrup caramel liqueur and Rum & Cake it is also drizzled in the black liquid gold that is birch syrup - a fitting tribute to this most incredible tree we think you’ll agree.
Now reading this you may be forgiven for thinking that the annual gathering is merely about food, fun and frivolity but rest assured it is far more than that. It’s a platform for discussion, learning and education and a reminder to every member of their commitment to protect the environments we cherish so much.