Tampere boasts many lovely forest areas in and around the city – you can find peace of nature nearly everywhere you turn. On a late summer’s day, you can take a bucket or a plastic bag with you, head to the nearest forest, walk off the path for a bit and you’re likely to find either berries or mushrooms, or people who are picking them.
Did you know that in Finland you are allowed to just walk in the forest and start picking any berries and mushrooms you find, as much as you want, freely and free of charge? Well you can, and you should – foraging a very relaxing way of gathering healthy, fresh food straight from nature!
Everyman’s rights, or public access rights, give everyone in Finland equal rights to move freely in nature, forests and other areas (excluding private gardens and areas marked as private property) and pick their own berries, mushrooms and flowers, and even camp on the grounds with no special permits. It also allows you to take a boat out to the lakes, fish with a rod and hook, and in the winter also to walk on the iced lakes and fish through a hole in the ice.
There are some restrictions to bear in mind though: camping is not allowed for a longer period of time nor too close to houses, and not in the public parks in city areas. When foraging, please note that some varieties and species are hazardous or poisonous. Ask local pickers for advice or check the safety of the findings in a book or online before consuming any.
The best time to pick for example blueberries (or bilberries) and lingonberries, as well as most of the mushrooms is in the autumn, blueberries ripen in some places already at the end of July. Some of the more common (and very tasty) mushrooms to be found are chanterelles and the yellowfoot, as for berries in most forests you will find bilberry and lingonberry, you might also find wild strawberries and raspberries. Most avid berrypickers might head towards marshy areas, where you might find cranberries and cloudberries. Remember to take your insect repellents with you to the forest, as late summer and autumn are also the best time to encounter mosquitos, gnats and deer flies too!
Read more about everyman’s rights and different mushrooms and berries here.
PS. There are also some berry farms, where you can go and pick your own strawberries in the summer for a fee. Find out more from here!