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quixoticgeek

Commercial foraging

Just been out to pick sloes. Went to my usual foraging spot that normally is so heavy in sloes that you barely have to walk more than a dozen yards and have enough sloes to make more gin than you can healthily drink.

Well, for the second year in a rowing, every tree has been picked clean to a height just above head height. This has also happened to every hedgerow within walking distance of Canterbury.

I can't imagine that this is purely people making sloe gin for their own consumption. So my conclusion is that someone is picking them for a commercial operation. I was under the impression that to pick wild fruit for commercial purposes was illegal unless you had the permission of the land owner. I doubt that said operation has the permission of every farmer for 10 miles.

What is the law on this? Any ideas how I can get them to stop being so selfish?

Julia
sean

I don't know what the legal position is but I don't think there's much that you can do really. Unless the people who own/administer the land are a) bothered, b) prepared to police it.
Jamanda

Could it be that that's the height at which the flail was set when they were in blossom?

What does the other side of the hedges look like? Maybe you could could ask one of the farmers if you could pick from their internal hedges?
quixoticgeek

Could it be that that's the height at which the flail was set when they were in blossom?



No, as these hedges haven't been tended by anyone other than them being picked.

Quote:

What does the other side of the hedges look like? Maybe you could could ask one of the farmers if you could pick from their internal hedges?


Everything you can reach from any path (short of standing upto your arm pits in nettles), is picked clean. We're not talking about one hedge, we're talking about the hedges over an area of several miles. From Blean to the north, down to Sturry to the east.

Julia
Jamanda

No, I meant picking from inside the fields, not the paths.
quixoticgeek

No, I meant picking from inside the fields, not the paths.


Same situation on all sides. Really cleaned out.

Julia
Hairyloon

Re: Commercial foraging

What is the law on this? Any ideas how I can get them to stop being so selfish?
First problem is to find out who them are.
sueshells

Lots for sale on eBay - here are some from Kent!

151404403101 (put the item number in the search box)

Doesn't solve your problem but may provide an explanation.
Hairyloon

As to the question of what is the law, I think it is theft:
The Theft Act 1968 wrote:
A person who picks mushrooms growing wild on any land, or who picks flowers, fruit or foliage from a plant growing wild on any land, does not (although not in possession of the land) steal what he picks, unless he does it for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose.


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/section/4

Most people would consider theft to be a matter for the police... possibly with the exception of the police. Confused
Mistress Rose

This is a problem with lots of wild food. Some places have even enacted bylaws and police the area to prevent commercial mushroom harvesters.

I don't object to people picking wild fruit and fungi in our woods, although I know in law I can't stop them, but think it reasonable to share anyway. I do get rather cross when something has obviously been picked completely though. Not only do I not get my share, which I think is reasonable as the landowner, but nor do the animals that may depend upon the crop.

It rather depends on the police force in the area. If they are mainly town based they may not understand the problem. If they are country based, they may take steps and at least warn off the perpetrators. By the sounds of it they are not going to be hard to find if they are advertising on e-bay.
Ty Gwyn

This is what happens when certain people get educated by others that charge for the education? quixoticgeek

Thanks everyone for your replies. Spent an afternoon wandering the hedgerows near Sandwich, and picked 1.7kg of sloes. More than I need to make slow gin with.

Also got 600g of what I think are Damsons. Haven't worked out what I want to do with them yet.

J
Midlandsman

Damson Vodka's good! Wink

MM
quixoticgeek

Damson Vodka's good! Wink

MM

You have my attention. Do you have a recipe?

J
Midlandsman

Sorry, it's the same as sloe gin. My base recipe is:

Sloe Gin

1 70 cl bottle gin
1lb sloes
7oz sugar

Whatever I do - damson vodka, blackberry whisky, blackcurrant brandy, raspberry vodka etc, I just make it to the sloe gin recipe and adjust the amount of sugar to what I think is about OK according to how much sweeter the fruit is than sloes.

HTH

MM
ceridwen

My sympathies with this. It is very frustrating. I noticed what looked a lot like theft (aka commercial foraging) back in my home area (recently moved from). Certainly elderberries, hazel nuts and apples got stripped bare and my suspicions lay with "commercial foragers", rather than "greedy guts". Though, goodness knows, I've had problems with "greedy guts" as well. pollyanna

I don't quite understand. Someone got there first and picked the sloes. Is this bad? Maybe the someone had permission from the landowner.

Quixoticgeek got there first, elsewhere, and picked the sloes. Is this OK?

If commercial foraging is theft, surely it is the landowner who lost not people who wanted to pick the sloes for their own use. It may be greedy and selfish to pick them all but I presume the police would laugh if this was reported to them.

IME it is a toss up between leaving the sloes for the first frost and their being blown off by the Autumn gales or eaten by birds. It is far simpler to freeze them for a couple of days before making the sloe gin, then the skins split.
Mistress Rose

Pollyanna, quite often commercial foragers don't get permission from the landowner. The thing about foraging is that as far as I know, it is legal and acceptable if it is for your own use, but not if you are selling it either processed of unprocessed without the land owners permission.

Another point you made is that 'it will get eaten by the birds'. Well the birds, mice, voles and all sorts of things depend on these things for their food to build up for winter. Stripping a bush means they are less likely to survive. Those that get blown off are eaten by the small mammals.
pollyanna

The OP is all guess work. Was the picking for commercial gain? Maybe it was done by a family of people, all for their own use.

It is very frustrating when you have your eye on a tasty crop of anything, but that's the name of the game. He who gets there first, gets the crop.

In our area the best hedge was flailed; and there wasn't much crop anyway. Flailing hedges does more damage to winter-feed for birds and animals than foraging.
Mistress Rose

I would agree with that Pollyanna, but completely stripping a bush is foraging is bad too. dpack



In our area the best hedge was flailed; and there wasn't much crop anyway. Flailing hedges does more damage to winter-feed for birds and animals than foraging.

this really annoys me round here ,tis a urban/semi urban setting and the timing of things done with a flail would attract legal intervention in an agricultural context
isnt about me losing my tasty snacks but the wildlife losing winter forage that there was no reason to destroy

flail early and there is plenty of grub for everyone
Mistress Rose

One problem with urban/suburban is that people like things to 'look tidy' and get onto the council if they don't. We have a lovely patch of downland grass down the road, and every time things like the scabious start to flower, someone comes along and mows it. Similarly with the pyramid orchids on the verge the other side of the road and the harebells on a bank further down.
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