There's an element of naivete to all this talk about getting back in touch with the land. It gets sold to us as an idyllic paradise where waste is greatly reduced, the sun always shines, and if you really wanted, you could trace the origins of your organic, handmade, artisanal honey to the beekeeper who lifted the honeycomb from the hive. Seduced by all the blogposts and clothbound coffee table books, I dragged a group of friends thirty minutes from the city to gather what I thought was elderflower and I'd imagined I would turn into the best, homemade elderflower cordial. "Harvesting" made me feel like mother-goddess incarnate, thrifty as hell, and very morally superior. I'd already started mentally designing my artisanal elderflower cordial label and plotted which Sunday markets around Wellington I would hawk my wares at. As it turned out, the elderflowers weren't elderflowers at all. They were cow parsley. Which, if you're interested, are basically good for nothing, slightly noxious weeds which are often mistaken for elderflower. The fact that others had made the same mistake was small comfort. Still, it could have been worse. I could have been Nicholas Evans (author of Horse Whisperer) who foraged for mushrooms on a country estate and ended up losing his kidney along with his wife. Okay, this autumn I'm going to stick with picking wild blackberries. I can't mistake a blackberry, right?
♥ Photos by Rob on a Yashica Mat with Fuji Pro 400H ♥