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
9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014
BIKE safety campaigners have warned that cyclists are risking their lives, after an Oxford Mail survey found more than half of them were riding without lights.
5:18pm Saturday 25th October 2014
A FOOTBALL match was abandoned this afternoon after a bottle was thrown onto the pitch.
1:40pm Saturday 25th October 2014
With an extra hour to enjoy - or recover with - tonight is the perfect night to celebrate one of Oxford's biggest nights of music
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
FILM buffs were given a taste of how movies used to be watched as they turned out for a silent screening in Witney.
8:49am Saturday 25th October 2014
Police have said the 21-year-old Oxford University student who was reported missing has been found safe and well.