Foraging in Forest Park Drop in

Provided by: Foraging with the "Wildman"

Ages: 5 years - 17 years

Price: $10.00 Siblings: $10.00 Caregivers/Adults: $20.00

Activity Details:

2-hour walking tour (Outdoors) Don't miss a fantastic tour of this vastly under-appreciated nature trail. This wooded walkway is one of the best places for foraging in the summer. We’ll explore the overgrown bed of an abandoned railroad line, the adjacent mature forest, plus trailsides, thickets, and cultivated areas, all loaded with wild plants, in conjunction with Friends of the Greenway. Wineberries are at their peak now. This invasive Asian raspberry species is way tastier than anything you can buy in the store, and it grows in great quantity. We should also find the season's first wild blackberries. Much better than blackberries you buy in the store, they'll make you forget all about your iPhone! Another fruit in season is the cornelian cherry. Hailing from the Middle East, this stone fruit tastes like sour plums. Most roots are out of season in the summer, but burdock, an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, is an exception, and it abounds in human-disturbed areas scattered throughout the trailsides, where it’s invasive. Instead of brewing it as a tea, it's so common, you cook it like potatoes, or marinate and bake it to make "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky. Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You use it for tea, or for making root beer. The dried, powdered leaves constitute the thickener for gumbo, called filé powder, and you can use the roots to make a cinnamon-like culinary seasoning. Another tree we'll look for is the black birch. It grows in the woods, with twigs that taste like wintergreen. It provides the raw material for making birch beer. You can steep the twigs in hot water to make a fabulous tea with anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin. You can also thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make black birch Jello. Even better, use it to flavor "Wildman's" tapioca-thickened Stick Pudding. There are plenty of summer herbs and greens in season. We'll find mugwort, a tonic for the female reproductive system, and lamb's-quarters, which you use like its relative, spinach. We'll also be finding Asiatic dayflower, poor man's pepper, lady's thumb, and wood sorrel, all great for salads, sandwiches, and cooked vegetable dishes. Wild seeds are in season too. We'll hunt for the spicy seeds of garlic mustard, walnut-flavored seeds of jewelweed (a panacea for skin irritation—it even cures mosquito bites and prevents poison ivy rash), plus the wild grains of foxtail grass. With lots of rain and a bit of luck, gourmet chicken mushrooms, milky mushrooms, boletes, and russulas may be emerging.

Where: Forest Park Dr & Woodhaven Blvd Queens, , Queens, New York, 11421

How to Prepare / What to Bring: Dress comfortably for the weather. Reserve at least 24 hours in advance . Meet at the NE corner of Woodhaven Blvd. and Forest Park Dr. in front of Victory Field

Caregiver must stay: YES