A wild day out at 7th Rise

This week the apprentices and some of our team had the pleasure of visiting 7th Rise at the Lost Cottage of Penperth on the banks of the River Fal. 7th Rise is probably best described using their own words…

“Nestled away in a wonderfully magical and secluded corner of Cornwall, besides the River Fal, 7th Rise offers castaways the opportunity to experience the great outdoors in the most exciting way possible. They learn how to read it, learn how to eat it and learn how to survive it. Removed from the digital world, 7th Rise provides freedom, space and time, three things rarely found in our modern day to day lives, in an authentic outdoor setting where we teach the forgotten and innate skills of fishing, foraging and bush craft.”

Penperth Farm
7th Rise

We gathered at Penperth Farm in Roseland where we met Matt Vernon, an experienced forager and wild food chef who walked us down to 7th Rise. Matt talked us through the four F’s of foraging which are flowers, fungi, fauna and foliage and discussed key identification features of the wild spices we foraged on the way, including hard, black alexander seeds which have a peppery flavour. He also explained the importance of sustainability whilst foraging and ensuring that when you look back, there’s no indication that you’ve been there, or taken too much.

Foraging for alexander seeds
Alexander seeds

After exploring the beautiful woodland surroundings and wielding an axe whilst learning how to correctly split wood, we went to the bank of the river to catch shrimps, but also discovered crabs, oysters and queen scallops. Matt talked about the importance of respecting these ingredients and to appreciate the time and effort spent by our suppliers to source the produce we use in the kitchen. We took the shrimps back to the wild kitchen to cook and eat.

Cohort 12 - Shrimping
Oyster
Crab
Queen scallop
Cohort 12

We then went foraging in the woods, with the aim of finding more wild spices. We found hogweed seeds, which have a similar flavour to parsley and sea arrow grass which tastes like coriander. Matt was also able to administer a remedy for a horsefly bite by finding ribwort which instantly relieved the symptoms and provide us all with a pick-me-up from nettle seeds which he described as a wild Redbull. Obviously before going foraging it is very important to understand the plants which are harmful and be vigilant about recognising them. With this in mind, Matt took us to the Valley of Death to show us the deadly water hemlock which could easily be confused with wild parsnip or celery.

Wild, 7th Rise
Wild, 7th Rise
Cohort 12 - Foraging

Back at the wild kitchen we lit an open fire and prepared flatbreads and bread twists which we cooked over the fire on hazelnut twigs. Matt then showed us how to skin and butcher wild rabbits. The apprentices were split onto two groups, one group made a rabbit curry and the other made a rabbit stir-fry using the wild spices we had foraged during the day, both of which were delicious.

Flatbread dough
Cohort 12
Cohort 12, 7th Rise
Cohort 12, 7th Rise

We all thoroughly enjoyed our unique, wild experience at 7th Rise and would like to say a big thank you to Matt and the team. This was our second visit and we hope to return again next year.