A MAP of places to pick wild fruit in Oxford is proving a hit with shoppers tackling a surge in food prices.
The online Oxford Wild Food map has been viewed more than 34,000 times since 2010.
Anyone can click on the Google map, created by Rose Hill resident Jack Pritchard, to add a tree, bush or clump.
Apples, pears, plums, cherries, figs, mushrooms, sloes, and even bamboo shoots sprouting through the pavement in Cowley Road can be found.
The map so far boasts 116 markers, about three-quarters of which were added by visitors.
Mr Pritchard, 27, who works in logistics, said: “Sometimes I’ll meet someone who says ‘you’re the food map guy? wow!’ “I just find it really sad when I see food going to waste. Even a 50p tomato, someone went to all the effort to grow this thing, now it’s been thrown away.
“Recently I was walking down the road and saw a plum tree, and on the ground beneath were rancid plums and wasps.
“Mostly food goes to waste just because people don’t know it’s there.”
The Hunsdon Road resident mostly picks apples and other fruit to make alcoholic drinks. Recent creations include a cider from apples picked on the southern bypass and blackberry whisky which he has yet to try.
The website says: “Just because food is included on this map does not mean that picking it is sensible, safe or legal.”
Mr Pritchard added: “This is only meant as a guide, and shouldn’t be relied on as a plant identification service.
“You get people saying ‘wild food, that’s dangerous isn’t it?’, but then they will pick blackberries.”
Dot Tiwari, co-founder of Abundance Oxford, a not-for-profit community harvesting and preserving group, said: “Jack is a wonderful gentleman and we promote the wild food map at Abundance because we think it’s great.”
Pick your own
- Tomatoes – Large tomato plant growing beside Holywell Street, through the pavement outside one of the college buildings. South side of the road.
- Mushrooms on Port Meadow – Have a look when the plain is dry, lots of horses and cows mean good picking. But consult an expert to be sure what you collect isn’t poisonous.
- Sorrel – A patch of common sorrel near the start of Back Lane off Marston Ferry Road. Fresh leaves have a lemony flavour, becoming more bitter with age.
- Bamboo shoots – Pushing up through the pavement at the bottom of Kenilworth Avenue. Not tasted yet.
- Crayfish – Lots of crayfish in the Thames north of Donnington Bridge. Catching them requires nets and an Environment Agency licence.
Wild food and the law
- Picking wild food, fruit or mushrooms on private land, or “scrumping”, is illegal.
- If a plant species is protected, no one can pick, destroy or sell it, including the landowner, without committing an offence.
- Any fruit growing on public land or open country may be picked legally.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration
1:34pm Friday 24th October 2014
ADMINISTRATORS have been handed full management responsibility for the Caterham Formula One team in a bid to find a new buyer.
11:40am Friday 24th October 2014
HUNDREDS of people have gathered outside St Mary Magdalene's church in Woodstock to pay their respects to the 11th Duke of Marlborough.
1:01pm Friday 24th October 2014
AN ELDERLY woman was taken to hospital after two cars crashed on the A4074.
9:30am Friday 24th October 2014
James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.
7:00am Friday 24th October 2014
A £110m cancer research centre is planned for Headington to study pioneering treatment with hundreds of county patients.
6:30am Friday 24th October 2014
MULTIPLE roadworks that cause city traffic gridlock are “worth it”, a minister has said.