Sections

Foraging Prospect Park

Park to table: Foragers live off the land — in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Some people are treating Brooklyn’s backyard like it’s the borough’s vegetable garden.

Intrepid foodies are foraging for greens in Prospect Park, and they say it’s more sustainable, more affordable, and more enjoyable than shopping at the farmer’s market — even though it’s against park rules.

“Free food is good!” said Leda Meredith, a foraging pro who will bring a band of gatherers to the green space on April 15 before a four-course meal inspired by foraged fare at the Farm on Adderly in Ditmas Park.

“You get to interact with the natural landscape in a way that helps the environment — and there is this great treasure hunt aspect to it,” said Meredith, who’s been leading tours of Prospect Park for more than a decade.

And now’s the time to do it: Prospect Park edibles are sprouting early this year, due to the second warmest New York City winter on record.

Wild greens, edible flowers, wild garlic, and early mushrooms are just a few of the goodies popping up in the borough’s biggest park — and Meredith says the season’s bounty is one of the best in years.

“It is phenomenal right now because of the warm winter,” she said. “There’s a double abundance of things out there as well as plants you wouldn’t normally see for another month.”

The people behind the Farm on Adderly say the move toward foraging is just the natural extension of dominant trends in the foodie movement, from organic fare to locavore cooking.

“People are realizing how much better food is when it comes from nearby and it doesn’t have to travel at all,” said the locavore lounge’s events coordinator Stephen Sheffer, whose restaurant does not plan to serve food foraged from Prospect Park at the meal. “Plus, that’s at the crux of the philosophy of the restaurant.”

Foraging is forbidden under parks rules, which stipulate that plants and flowers cannot be removed from greenspaces, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.

But foragers insist they are helping the environment and doing the work of Parks employees for free by clearing the park of invasive plants and weeds that just happen to be edible — and tasty.

“If I’m digging up burdock root you could say I’m damaging park property, but on the other hand, the Parks Department brings in people to come in and weed out things like burdock because it’s invasive,” said Meredith. “But you do have to be sure that you’re harvesting in a way that doesn’t disturb the environment.”

“Forage and Dine” foraging tour in Prospect Park and dinner at the Farm on Adderley [1108 Cortelyou Rd. between East 11th Street and Westminster Road in Ditmas Park, (718)287-3101] April 15, $80. Tour begins at 1 pm, dinner at 8 pm. For info, email thefarmonadderleyevents@gmail.com.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.
Updated 7:43 am, April 6, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!