At 11:45 AM, Sunday, March 10 America’s go-to guy for foraging, “Wildman” Steve Brill, will celebrate his birthday and lead one of his world-famous foraging tours of Forest Park in Kew Gardens, his first Queens tour in his 31st year of expeditions.
This is one of the best places in the world for late winter and early spring foraging, with a wide selection of wild herbs, greens, roots, and even the possibility of some cold-weather mushrooms. Habitats include miles of mature forest, as well as the trail edges and the disturbed, overgrown, and cultivated habitats that provide homes for all sorts of diverse species.
Root vegetables abound at this time of year. One choice species is cicely, which tastes like black licorice. This one’s easy to unearth, and there’s so much in Forest Park, you can’t harm the habitat by collecting reasonable quantities. You can use this flavorful delicacy in any soup, stew, or casserole that call for root vegetables, and it’s great in oatmeal, where it will transfer the porridge into something heavenly. It’s also superb in dessert dishes.
Herbs and greens we’ll be looking for include honewort or wild chervil, which tastes like parsley, celery, and carrots. We’ll hunt for sassafras, the original source of root beer, and black birch, which tastes like wintergreen. Garlic mustard, with garlicky leaves and horseradish-flavored roots, and onion/garlic-flavored field garlic leaves and bulbs are also on the menu.
The forest is one of the best for mushrooms. We’ll be looking for early-season species such as oyster mushrooms and tree ears.
The 4-hour walking tour begins at 11:45 AM on Sunday, March 10, at the stone wall at Union Turnpike and Park Lane, near the Parks Dept.’s Overlook building.
“Wildman” Steve Brill America’s Go-to Guy for Foraging 320 Palmer Terrace, Apt. 2A Mamaroneck, NY, 10543 (914) 835-2153