Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Wild Food & Chilli Fair, Essex

Sadly I'd had to miss the Bushcraft Show this year due to a bereavement and had seen the Wild Food and Chlli Show advertised for the first time and saw this as a plan B to visit. I initially noticed that Woodland Ways and The Bushcraft Journal were going to be there as sponsors, along with Will Lord so I thought it would be worth a visit, and decided to investigate who else would be there. Maybe I'd find stuff that comes under the new outdoor traditionalist title. There was...

The show is divided into different arenas namely although in reality it was just that birds of a feather were just put together. The show was spread out a little more than it needed to be but I guess it was hard to judge how many people would turn up and the site was smaller and loads visit did we'd be saying it was packed too close together!

 On the day I saw/ visited the following amongst others...

Fred Gilliam Wild Side of Life - author of Poisonous Plants in Great Britain, food foraging, field butchery The Wild Side of Life 

Beaver Bushcraft (Shark Tinderbox)

I had a job finding the actual site on the day because whilst I saw some local adverts there needed to be some actual direction arrows. Now I'd wondered why I hadn't heard of the show before and that was because it was the first one and to be honest it wasn't overly full of visitors, which is good for those that did visit. It meant that I could spend a fair amount of time with several of the bushcraft related personnel.

My first view was a glimpse of the Wild Man of the Woods talking to a young lad (who turned out to be Will Lord's little lad.

A brief visit to the Bushcraft Journal stand which also had Big Man of the Woods, IEAT and Sheri Lake from Frontier Bushcraft, and then to see Will Lord, not only to discuss attending some of his courses next year but to say that I'd pick up a length of lime that he didn't want and kindly agreed to bring to the show for me.

And on to most of the above list...I caught the Woodland Ways pigeon and muntjac prep (I think I doubled my muntjac knowledge listening to Jason's talk).

Then back to see Will and had a long talk to him and then watched him process a lump of flint effortlessly into a usable tool with reference to mountains and headless angels on the knapping journey.


Then a long talk to Greenman knives, then Shark Tinderbox. As you can tell the ability to see stands almost at will was easy.

I left the bushcrafty bit to head to the food area and to be honest, some of the stands selling chilli products had rather scary names and being a sensitive little dewdrop I actually just gave them a quick look. Dinner was from Durban chicken curry bunny chow from the Now Now South African stand and was excellent.


And so back to take some pictures of some of the Bushcraft Journal members flint knapping with Will which was an extended stay with a lovely chat with his wife.

The tannoy announced soon after that there was squirrel prep at the Bushcraft Magazine stand with it being cooked afterwards in the Mongolian stove which recently featured in the magazine.

The squirrel was roadkill and Steve, the magazine's editor, skillfully worked around the damage and shortly after the prep I headed off for regular five minute visits to other stands and arrived back to see that a DIY smoker had been set up to smoke some pigeon breasts. As I have a shop purchased smoker I was interested to know what wood shavings were being used and I was pine which I found an unusual choice as I would naturally think of it being quite a powerful taste, coupled to the fact that I am trying to educate my 'lame game' palate this dish had my attention. I twas bloody lovely and the smoke added a great flavour.

The squirrel was ready soon afterwards and was piri piri with chopped veg and noodles and I commented that the colour of the dish matched with the cooker itself.

And the lime log? I said thanks and goodbye to Will and his wife and picked up the sizable length, and yes it did squeeze in the car but I'd brought along a folding saw and took a small length off it as it was a little close to the windscreen! I also sorted out some bits and bobs for my seven month work sabbatical next year (a long service award) with Will, The Wild Man of the Woods, Bushcraft Magazine and Kaos blacksmiths but that's another blog...

Now it was the first show and naturally it has to start somewhere. There definitely needs to be more arrows on the route pointing the way which is easily rectified and perhaps a redefining of the advertising because I asked several locals for directions and none knew of the show, yet there was advertising on the tube in London. 

I can't really think of a similar show in the South East so I sincerely hope it does flourish as there was a good feeling whilst there, and with the interest in bushcraft maybe the Bushcraft, Chilli and Wild Food Fair may be a good rebrand? Oh, and most of the stall holders I spoke to are supportive and said that they's return.

As a quick post script I'm adding a section from an individual called Clive Bilby who read this blog entry and suggested the following via Facebook:- 

Totally agree with review. Signage, even just from Heybridge town centre, would have helped. Layout could be better too, with a central display area to pull in the crowds and ensure that there is always something to see going on, with sponsors stalls around to maximise on footfall. Also needed a programme, or just a poster of activities and displays to keep visitors on the site longer. Did you find Kundalini Yoga? Way at the top end of the field, with very little footfall. Or the archery? Which was around the corner from the Bushcraft circle but nothing to promote its existence. As a first event I thought it was really good.

1 comment:

  1. It's far better to gather a few fruit, wild greens or mushrooms and to add these to your everyday cookery. Thank you for the information of his article is very nice and I like to read this article.