My first major commission in Berlin: writing project texts for Farmlife, a coffee table book by Gestalten about farm to table culture and all its worldwide proponents (young and old).
The Last of the Horse Fishermen
Stefan Hancke is one of the world’s last horse fishermen keeping the tradition alive
When Stefan Hancke and his horse enter the sea’s rolling waves early in the morning, they are actively maintaining a fishing technique that is slowly dying out. Dragging a net, the strong legs of the calm draft horse trot on in the deep water as the fisherman, clad in a bright yellow raincoat, catches scores of local grey shrimp. Horseback shrimp fishing has been a tradition for more than 500 years and Oostduinkerke is the last place where it continues to be practiced, mostly for the sake of tourism. Two days a week Hancke sits on his horse at one with nature, fishing for three hours before and after low tide.
Of course, the draft horse is not naturally inclined to walk right into the sea and such ability requires about a year of training as well as a unique trust between man and animal. Despite an uncertain future, Hancke and his loyal horse continue to represent an indefatigable pride for a past more in tune with the natural world.
Culinary Excellence Inspired by Nature’s Solitude
Chef Magnus Nilsson returns to his roots to create dishes composed of nature’s seasonal bounty
Solitude is the precursor to appreciation and understanding when it comes to one of the world’s most exclusive dining experiences.
Chef Magnus Nilsson’s restaurant Fäviken Magasinet stands alone in nature and relies entirely upon it in order to bring forth the unexpected taste culminations for which it has become famous. The restaurant is housed within a converted grain store, where simplicity allows for dishes to exude the grandeur of their tastes.
All ingredients are sourced locally through foraging, fishing, and hunting, and the menu abides by the cycles of the natural world that silently thrive outside. During the summer and autumn, what grows bountifully is harvested, and in the dark winter, stores are filled through pickling, salting, jellying, and bottling.
Nilsson himself grew up hunting and foraging on a 50-acre farm, and believes that creativity is intimately connected to past experience. His creation is a 20,000-acre refuge that mirrors the serenity of Jämtland’s remote beauty.
How Fiona Haser Bizony Turned Horticulture into Art with The Electric Daisy Flower Farm
The Electric Daisy Flower Farm is like an animated impressionistic painting of the most colorful sort. It comes as no surprise that its founder, Fiona Haser Bizony, is an artist and curator who gave up an office job to study horticulture. With every season the effervescent hues and shapes of the floral world change, creating another installation carefully choreographed by its loving team.
Using only sustainable gardening practices, the harvest is not only stunning but also ethical, with a diverse group of pollinating insects and no chemicals whatsoever. At the end of the journey, every blooming flower is given new life as it becomes part of Bizony’s exceptional floral designs, each telling an individual story through visual language. Composed of seasonal offerings, no two bespoke bouquets are the same, and each is deemed a small exhibitions that expresses the unique elements of the chosen occasion. From Queen Anne’s lace to Verbena bonariensis, antirrhinums to Echinops, Bizony’s floral world is a true wonderland.
A Return to Childlike Wonder
Forager and farmer Britt Kornum and Norway’s edible wild weeds
Just outside of Oslo, Norway, a group of people gather at the start of each new season to wander the pastoral landscape in search of wild, edible weeds. Like carefree children, they kneel on the ground, pick weeds, and eat flowers as spring’s cool wind rustles the trees.
This Get Away workshop culminates in a dinner hosted four times a year that aims to lead the local food system toward a more sustainable path. One of the foragers heading the group is Britt Kornum, an interior architect who transformed her home in Eidsvoll to make room for permaculture gardening and a few friendly goats and chickens.
Kornum knows exactly what the local landscape has to offer during each season, with flavors as wild as they are delicious, far removed from the steady palate-numbing drone of supermarket chain products. Foraging rather than shopping, here pancakes made with fresh milk, eggs, and local spelt bubble on the frying pan and are served with homemade ricotta cheese and wild garlic pesto.
(Page photos by me, book cover images courtesy of Gestalten)