A Manchester food collector has launched a delivery service in an attempt to revitalize our taste buds
Oak leaf tea, acorn coffee, Scots pine pollen syrup. These are just a few of the weird and wonderful items that collector Jim Parums sends to subscribers to his wild food delivery service.
Forage box displays unusual ingredients that grow abundantly in the British Isles but are routinely overlooked by inexperienced eyes.
“I got fired in 2018, which was sucky,” said Parums, whose wife Cat encouraged him to do something he really wanted to do next. So, he joined a food collection company based near Manchester as a collector. “It gave me the error and I thought: this is what I want to do.”
Then came the confinement – “the kick in the butt I needed” – and the Forage Box was born. Parums now spends most of his days stomping around the country, searching for wild flavors. One morning you might be scouring the coast for sea beets or samphire; the next he might be in a forest, shaking the Scots pines to collect pollen syrup.
“The flavors are big and bold, that’s the point. The idea is to show that many more things are happening when nature comes to cultivate them. “
The boxes are delivered to subscribers every month. Each contains fresh ingredients, as well as items made by Parums, who says their practices are sustainable.
“The flavors are big and bold, that’s the point,” Parums said. Image: Forage box
“Most of what I ship is a wild and more exciting alternative to something people will be familiar with,” he said, citing sea beets as a bold substitute for spinach, for example.
All the “complicated stuff,” he says, is done last, like straining the pine pollen syrup or roasting the acorn coffee. “When subscribers get the products, they are one step away from consuming them,” he added, noting that this is what sets his startup apart from other commercial food-seeking ventures.
The idea is to show that much more happens when nature comes to cultivate them.
At £ 15 a month plus postage, the boxes are, by Parums’ own admission, ‘a luxury’, especially in tough times.
“They offer a snapshot [of what’s out there], and the idea is that people get excited and go and do it for themselves, with caution, obviously, “he said. “I don’t send meal kits, I send easy-to-use ingredients that people can substitute for something they could have eaten 50 times at the supermarket and get bored with.”
Main Image: Forage Box