Forage and Plant Walks and Talks


Prunus serotina, black cherries

Scroll down for a newly listed autumn walk. To join my walks or events mailing list, please email me

About the Walks

On the wild foods walks I lead, the focus is on plants that are not just edible, but delicious and versatile in the kitchen or a cocktail shaker. I approach foraging not as means of survival, but as a cook and imbiber looking for new ingredients and flavors. With some notable native exceptions, my emphasis is on weedy or invasive plants (usually the target of mass-herbicide application), which could easily become commonly eaten and enjoyed vegetables, fruit or herbs.

Polygonum cuspidatum, Japanese knotweed

Since 2010, through my writing here and in other publications (locally for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan) and via my walks, I have advocated persistently for creative control of edible invasives by means of collection and consumption: I will be happy when we can routinely find Japanese knotweed on farmers market tables.

Already, in the last few years, the tide of perception has begun to turn: garlic mustard appears on some menus, field garlic is for sale at some farmers markets, and a Union Square farmer is stocking knotweed shoots. If more chefs knew the flavor-potential of many 'weeds,' their menus would be overflowing with them. Mine are.


Rhus glabra, smooth sumac 

In terms of indigenous edible plants there are several I turn to for flavor in the kitchen. I am a strong proponent of growing these plants in our private or community gardens as well as on farms in order to appreciate them more on our plates. In the Northeast these include beach plums, bayberry, common milkweed, sweetfern and the sumacs.

On wild food walks we discuss the do's and don't's of urban foraging - such as letting sensitive natives be - and we talk about culinary ideas and techniques for unfamiliar ingredients.


Not just edibles but all plants are part of our mobile discussion. My goal on each walk is to tune the eye to the green details beneath our feet, so that we see the place where we live with newly appreciative eyes and an expanded sense of context.


My walks are a little different because I keep groups small and low-impact. I prefer personal interaction and conversation over a stand and shout approach. I hate shouting. I often learn from the people who attend my walks - fresh eyes and different backgrounds bring new questions and insight to the table. It is not unusual for new friendships to be forged over the course of a walk and a shared, wild-inspired picnic. 



Spicebush bread, rose jams, quail eggs and mugwort salt, mugwort crackers and dip

Ways to Walk or Talk

Public Walks - Planned walks are listed on this page seasonally.
Pop Ups - Join my mailing list for walks or tastings at short notice.
Private Walks - (Give a walk as a gift?) Please email me via the Contact link.
Backyard Mission - Your garden is probably packed with edibles. I can help you identify them.
Talks - I am available for tutoring, lectures, tastings, and mixology or menu consultation

My Walk Booking Policy:

Refunds are given with 72 hours notice of cancellation.
After 72 hours you will receive credit towards a future walk.
No-show, no notice? No refund, no credit.
Bad weather cancellations means credit or refund - your choice.





Green-Wood Ramble
5 November 2017
12pm - 3pm
$45

Join me on an autumn ramble and picnic in the wooded hills and dales of Green-Wood Cemetery, where some of New York's most beautiful trees grow. While we will be identifying everything botanically edible as we walk, this is also really a chance to explore one of the most beautiful places in the city. 



While every year is unique in its timing, and leaves and leaf drop will vary, Green-Wood is one of the best places to appreciate the changing season, and the stately shapes of old trees being revealed as leaves fall.



Green-Wood is home not only to Leonard Bernstein, but to mushrooms and acorns, beech nuts and sheep sorrel. I'm not promising mushrooms, just saying: You never know. If the conditions are right we may chance upon some late hen of the woods.




...and maybe a persimmon or two. 



The park-like space also the refuge of New Yorkers like ground hogs, raccoons and opposums.


...and birds still making their way south. Green-Wood is a popular refueling and resting station.


And of course, there are the famous parrots. 


We will share a fall picnic of seasonal wild inspired snacks which may include hen of the woods pâté, mugwort shortbread and persimmon spice cakes. And the cordials of a very good cordial making year.

More info and meet up details will be sent to you in the week before the walk. Attendance is limited. See you in the fall!


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