Expert’s warning to food foragers

Patrick Harding, a fun guy and and an expert on mushrooms and wild foraging.
Patrick Harding, a fun guy and and an expert on mushrooms and wild foraging.

SHEFFIELD wild food expert Patrick Harding is warning a new generation of natural food lovers to be cautious this autumn.

Patrick, who has been studying fungi for over 30 years, said: “There are so many cooking programmes on TV and so much interest in healthy eating that I’m seeing scores of people out and about foraging.

“But you really need to know what you are picking and that’s especially true for fungi. Just because something looks tasty does not mean it will be and in the worst case scenario you could end up in hospital – or worse.”

He added: “There are over 4,000 species of fungi and only 100 or so are edible. Even experts are not infallible, but armed with basic knowledge, you can enjoy safer and more enjoyable forages.”

Patrick, who teaches at Oxford, Cambridge and Sheffield universities and is the author of numerous guides, will be running Forestry Commission fungi workshops in Sherwood Pines Forest Park, near Clipstone, Nottinghamshire, on October 9 and 20 between 11am and 3.30pm.

The cost is £25 and booking is required. Tel 01623 822447.