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Meet the Kiwi forager living off the land

Meet the Kiwi forager living off the land

Skilled forager Peter Langlands sources wild ingredients for restaurants, runs workshops and publishes guides on local species.

Meet the Kiwi forager living off the land

Ask anyone about foraging in New Zealand and they’re likely to direct you to Peter Langlands.

When it comes to picking out his ingredients, he favours the rugged outdoors to the supermarket aisles.

As a forager for wild foods, Langlands says it’s the sense of discovery that excites him most about foraging.

“You’re always surprised with what you find,” he says. “It’s the spontaneity, I’m always exploring new things and new ways of using new ingredients.”

Watercress, wild radish, edible flowers and kawakawa are just some of the species he finds in the wild.

Every trip, he discovers something new.

“There are 250 main foragable species, but potentially there are over 6,000 species that are out there that have some culinary value – the diversity is massive,” he says.

Foraging in New Zealand: what you can find

His foraging takes him all around the country. Right now, he’s based in South Canterbury and has been exploring the Mackenzie Country.

“It’s really good for wild mushrooms in South Canterbury,” he explains. “You get a lot of flavour from the conifer trees and we’ve still got some types of pine mushrooms coming out late in the season.”

While you may think winter would be a hard time to forage, Langlands says there’s an abundance of wild ingredients to be found in the colder months.

“Banks Peninsula is really good because it has a good all year round diversity of wild plants and a lot of good edible greens,” he says. “They tend to come into their own in the cooler winter months. We start getting a lot of fragrant, flavourful wild greens and herbs.”

His foraging in New Zealand also takes him to the coast where he harvests seaweed.

“Around Matariki, that’s a really good time for seaweed foraging around the coastline. There’s a big diversity. Earlier this year, I found a type of round, green seaweed with amazing flavour. They’re really good as a garnish for oysters,” he says.

Having done this all his life, Langlands has become a bit of a foraging guru, sourcing ingredients for restaurants, running workshops and publishing guides on local species.

He says he’s happy to see others around the country picking it up.

“There are a lot of people going out recreationally and foraging a lot more,” he says. “People are using a lot more local ingredients and starting to do more with preparation, such as fermentation, drying, smoking. It’s exciting to see people using all the species.”

Our favourite foraged-food recipes

Horopito Lamb Salad with Lentils and Kawakawa Pesto

Seared Beef Tataki with Ponzu Sauce & Watercress Salad Recipe

Minted Peas, Sprout, Quinoa and Radish Salad with Minted Greek Yogurt

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