June Barton shares the rules of samphire picking

Public speaker June Barton, taking bookings for 2016. Photo (TIM WILSON): S061114-107TW
Public speaker June Barton, taking bookings for 2016. Photo (TIM WILSON): S061114-107TW
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There are strict rules governing the harvesting of samphire from the marsh.

It cannot be sold – that seen in shops and supermarkets is imported – and its roots should never be disturbed.

June Barton says the plant’s cycle starts in the autumn when its seeds land in quicksand in the creeks. With warm weather and a mix of both fresh and salt water it will germinate in late April/May, growing over a number of years to about a foot high.

It is harvested through the summer, using scissors or a sharp knife, traditionally starting in early August, though June says warmer weather has brought that forward to July.

June, who prefers pickled over fresh samphire, says the plant only survives in the same spot for about eight years. She says it is now growing further out towards the sea.

June says: “I am glad to see the season here and twice as glad to see the back of it because people are always phoning to ask what to do with it.”