The Matt of the land: Surviving without the supermarket

10:45, Apr 27 2014
tdn matt stand
Matt Rilkoff is attempting to live off the land and avoid the supermarket for 10 days.

If you know where to look there is food to be had everywhere.

Trouble is, unless I'm on the air- conditioned floor of a supermarket I don't know where to look for it, which is a bit pathetic really.

In a bid to fix this ridiculous shortcoming I'm soon turning my back on the food shop and embracing mother nature to supply me with sustenance.

It's the old sink or swim method of learning. Class starts Monday, January 28, and ends February 8, 12 days later.

During that time I hope to fish, hunt and forage from the land everything we need to get by. I largely expect to expend a lot of energy for minimal result because I've strayed so far from my hunter- gatherer roots as to be unrecognisable to my ancestors.

Which is why I'm asking for help.

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I've already had pointers to community orchards, well-stocked and poorly-guarded vegetable gardens and fail-proof fishing tricks.

On Sunday, Ray Potroz of Upclose Safaris came through with an offer to help me get some meat on the second day of the trip.

"A pig, a goat, a deer. Even some rabbits if you want," he said.

What I wanted to say was "all of them", but I didn't want to seem greedy so we settled on a goat, though I'm having second thoughts about that.

A spit-roasted pig would be delicious. I would walk over broken glass for venison steaks pan-fried outdoors over a white-hot fire of manuka logs.

But Ray is around for just one day, just three meals and there are another 33 to account for. Hopefully we can tap into some resident expertise around the province to fill those currently empty plates.

If all goes well our Taranaki menu will read like that of a top-class restaurant - paua, crayfish, pheasant, venison, freshly-laid eggs, milk straight from the teat and butter freshly churned. Then there are wild mushrooms, wild fennel, garden-borrowed avocados, new potatoes and watercress, just to name a few.

Should it not go well, should it end up with me relying on my skills as they exist now, that menu will probably consist of snapper, kahawai, seaweed salad and cold, salty tears.

Hunger, even temporary, makes me emotional.

Taranaki Daily News