Forage and Plant Walks and Talks

Prunus serotina, black cherries

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 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

Through my writing here, in other publications (locally for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan) and via my walks, I advocate 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.

In the last few years the tide of perception has begun to turn: garlic mustard appears on some menus and field garlic and pokeweed are for sale at some farmers markets. If chefs knew the flavor-potential of more '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 in order to appreciate them more on our plates. In the Northeast these include beach plums, bayberry, sweetfern and the sumacs - to name a few.

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.

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. It is not unusual for new friendships to be forged over the course of a walk and a shared, wild inspired picnic. 

Spicebush bread, rosehip and petal jam, quail eggs with mugwort salt, mugwort crackers and dip

Ways to Walk or Talk:

Public Walks - Please scroll down for a list of planned walks.
Private Walks - If you would like to arrange a walk for yourself or for friends (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 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 means an on-the-day postponement and rescheduling. If you cannot make the rain date you will be refunded.

Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris
Inwood Hill Park
28 May 2017
12.30pm - 3.30pm

May is the green blood racing through these old Manhattan woods. Lush greens, edible flowers, and indigenous American spices (you'll see) are busting out all over.

Every week brings something new to wild places.

Mahlab olive loaf, pokeweed sandwiches, milkweed cordial, weed rolls

As usual we walk (there are real hills) and talk, pick some baddies, and finish up with a Spuyten Duyvil picnic, featuring some of the plants we have just seen.

Details are emailed to confirmed walkers in the week before the walk.


Prospect Park
11 June 2017 
12 pm - 2pm

Early summer brings the Big Green to city parks. Trees are in luxuriant leaf, ground elder is in bloom, cup plants are climbing skywards and mugwort is taking over the world. 

Early June is elderflower time - we'll talk about how to make elderflower cordial and bubbly. It is easy to grow at home, too. 

June is also the harbinger of tilia (linden) blossom - where for ten to fourteen days in the year New York actually smells fantastic.

We walk, talk, scratch and sniff (plants, not each other) and gather at the end for a picnic of wild tastes.

A confirmation email with more details will be sent to signed up walkers in the week before the walk.


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