Ian’s month eat­ing only food grown, for­aged - or ‘scraped off road’

Bristol Post - - NEWS - Heather PICKSTOCK heather.pickstock@reach­plc.com - Ian Evans.

ASELF-CON­FESSED cof­fee and curry fan has set him­self the chal­lenge of sur­viv­ing for a month eat­ing food that he has ei­ther grown, for­aged or ‘scraped off the road.’

IT con­sul­tant Ian Evans had al­ways fan­cied tak­ing more of a ‘good life’ ap­proach to food since he moved from Bris­tol to the ru­ral vil­lage of Wring­ton 15 years ago.

And this Oc­to­ber he has set him­self the task of only eat­ing food which he, or oth­ers, have grown them­selves and items he has for­aged.

And he’s al­ready packed his freezer with meat - af­ter find­ing a deer which had been knocked down on the road out­side his house.

“I had al­ways dreamed of self suf­fi­ciency,” said Ian, a fa­ther of two. “But I never got round to it.

“So I thought a good month to do it would be Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber at har­vest time.”

Ian spent time pre­par­ing for his chal­lenge - which he has named Bac­to­ber - buy­ing a bread maker and start­ing to brew his own beer.

His mum also found a yo­ghurt mak­ing ma­chine which she used in the 1970s and was squir­reled away in the loft.

Ian also for­aged wild gar­lic and col­lected net­tles to make net­tle soup.

“I am a type one di­a­betic and have been for most of my life, so I have to be quite or­gan­ised al­ready when it comes to food, “he said.

“But this chal­lenge has taken it to a whole new level.”

As well as the food which he for­ages, grows and finds, Ian has also al­lowed him­self very ba­sic sup­plies of rice, flour, vine­gar, but­ter, rice, por­ridge oats and milk to use as in­gre­di­ents in mak­ing meals.

He also has some veg­eta­bles in his gar­den, such as toma­toes and chill­ies and the ben­e­fit of a green fin­gered fa­ther-in-law who has an al­lot­ment in Pill who has been sup­ply­ing him with veg­eta­bles.

Other good­ies, in­clud­ing mush­rooms, have come from for­ag­ing trips in nearby woods.

One thing Ian is re­ally miss­ing though is po­ta­toes.

“We haven’t grown any po­ta­toes at home, and I had re­ally started to miss them,” he said.

“But the other day a friend of mine in Wring­ton ar­rived with some.

“She was clear­ing out her sta­ble and found a load of po­ta­toes grow­ing wild in a pile of horse ma­nure, so I had them.

“They were de­li­cious.”

The lo­cal scout leader in the vil­lage also sup­plied Ian with some home­made el­der­fower cham­page, while an­other friend gave him some wal­nuts which he had grown on his tree at his place in Slo­vakia.

Ian has also be­come quite a whizz in the kitchen.

“I had a fan­tas­tic pizza the other night” he said. “I made the dough base and then made a paste out of the toma­toes I had grown in the gar­den.

“I then added some onions we had grown and some of the veni­son from the freezer. It was the most de­li­cious pizza - one of the nicest I’ve ever had.”

He’s even man­aged to keep up his so­cial life, tak­ing his own beer to the pub.

“I or­gan­ised to take my beer to the

so­cial club in Con­gres­bury and pay them cork­age, “he laughed.

“So my so­cial life hasn’t suf­fered. “Some of the lo­cals asked to try my beer and said it wasn’t bad at all and bet­ter than some you buy in pubs.”

Ian has hit a low point though - when one of his meals didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“I’d had a hard week and hadn’t planned well enough so I ended up with just some rice for tea, “he said.

“I put some of the wild gar­lic that I had picked in with it. It was ined­i­ble - to­tally hideous and it ended up go­ing in the re­cy­cling.

“In­stead I had a flap­jack for din­ner. At that point I did won­der if I’d make the whole 31 days.”

Ian says the chal­lenge has made him have a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of food.

“You hear sto­ries about the Sec­ond World War when there was a real short­age of ap­petis­ing food,” he said.

“But peo­ple used their imag­i­na­tion and came up with some great meals and had a good diet.

“Now peo­ple just go to their lo­cal su­per­mar­ket to get what they need, when they need it.

“This chal­lenge has al­lowed me to learn new things and I am ap­pre­ci­at­ing food more.

“My taste­buds have prob­a­bly been wrecked over the years by strong cof­fee and the fact I put Tabasco on ev­ery­thing.

“But now they have had a re­prieve and I am re­ally start­ing to taste food bet­ter.”

Eat­ing such a diet also has other ben­e­fits. In the first 10 days of his chal­lenge Ian has al­ready lost a quar­ter of a stone.

“Al­though it was never part of the plan, the weight is just fall­ing off,” he said.

Ian still has a few weeks to go to com­plete his chal­lenge but says there are part of its he will con­tinue af­ter Oc­to­ber. “I am go­ing to con­tinue to make my own bread and yo­ghurt as it tastes bet­ter than any­thing you can buy in the shops,” he said.

“And I will keep brew­ing my own beer. “We tell our­selves that be­cause it came from the su­per­mar­ket it’s bet­ter than what we can make our­selves but this is so not the case.

“It does take time to plan and pre­pare but it’s more pro­duc­tive than sit­ting in front of the tele­vi­sion in the evenings.”

Ian does have a few things he is look­ing for­ward to tuck­ing into when he goes back to ‘nor­mal life.’

“I re­ally fancy a curry,” he smiled. “And I have missed tea and cof­fee in­cred­i­bly.

“Oh and a nice, good old English fry-up will go down a treat too. And per­haps a McDon­alds and a tomato juice with Lea and Per­rins and Tabasco sauce.”

Ian is writ­ing a daily blog about his chal­lenge. You can fol­low him on Face­book at Bac­to­ber

We tell our­selves that be­cause it came from the su­per­mar­ket it’s bet­ter than what we can make our­selves but this is so not the case

Ian Evans

PHO­TOGRAPHS: DAN RE­GAN

Ian Evans is spend­ing a month eat­ing only food he has grown or for­aged - he is pic­tured in­set be­low with the heart of a deer which he found dead at the side of the road

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