“Experiencing the beach isn’t just swimming between the flags and eating a Calippo on the way home.” Oliver Brown
Thus begins our coastal foraging adventures, experiencing more of what nature provides.
Quite some time ago now, I watched an episode on Kate Humble’s ‘Back to the land’ TV show featuring seaweed foraging. The show was about a Welshman named Jon Williams who left his busy office job in Swindon and moved back to his hometown in Pembrokeshire, Wales. He had a love for the sea and began seaweed foraging, incorporating the seaweed he collected into burgers, seaweed brownies and other items he sold. His business grew from there, becoming quite a thriving business. It was quite a fascinating story.
Just the other day, I came across a free resource created by Milkwood, a beautifully designed guide on seaweed just for kids, The Milkwood Kids Seaweed Guide. It has specifically been created for the seaweeds of Eastern Australia, so I hope to explore how this may differ for the non-eastern places around Australia.
I have learnt that there are 48 species of seagrass all around the world with the exception of Antarctica. And of these species, there are four sub groups referred to as the Zosteracea, the Zanichelliaceae, the Hydrocharitaceae and the Cymodoceaceae lineages. Australia has 50 of those species; our South West being particularly rich in variety. Point Peron which is near where we live, has 7 or 8 species. Learn more about the ecosystem services seagrasses provide in this article: How Seagrasses mitigate against climate change.
Some of the seagrasses spotted around Perth include Mermaids Fan, Oyster Thief, Sea lettuce, Dead Man’s fingers.
This article by Dr Anne Brearley is on the Seaweeds and Seagrasses of the Cottelsoe Area.
There are some rules around collecting kelp relating to the different locations around Australia. You can find more information on these rules at this very informative webpage by Diego Bonetto, a foraging expert. Golden Kelp: How to identify and collect edible seaweeds
Diego’s website also provides recipes and other great information including this great clip we watched about being a ‘Coastal Forager’ featuring Oliver Brown. Watch here – Gardening Australia ‘Coastal Forager’
I look forward to posting updates of our own foraging adventures with pictures and the knowledge we gain along the way.