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:

4-hour tour (Outdoors) Don't miss a fantastic tour of this one of New York's great Olmstead-designed parks. Don't miss a fantastic tour of this one of New York's great Olmstead-designed parks. This varied park, with cultivated areas, walkways, woods, and trails, is great for foragers to explore. In mid-summer... A wild, wooded park with a large, mature forest, trailsides, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with wild plants. Herbs and greens we're likely to find include hedge mustard, Asiatic dayflower, lady's thumb, wood sorrel, and lamb's quarters, all great for salads, sandwiches, stews, and soups. This is a great time for berries. We'll be harvesting blackberries that are so good, you'll gobble them all up, even if you use an iPhone! The wineberries will still be around, and the first elderberries will also be very flavorful. Most roots are out of season, but burdock, an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, is an exception. It abounds in human-disturbed areas scattered throughout the park.Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You can use it for tea, for making root beer, and as a cinnamon-like seasoning. Another tree we'll look for is the black birch. It grows in the woods, with twigs that taste like wintergreen, and provides the raw material for birch beer. You can steep the twigs in hot water to make a fabulous tea, with anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin, or thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make Black Birch Jello. Wild seeds are in season too. We'll hunt for the spicy seeds of garlic mustard, and the walnut-flavored seeds of jewelweed (a panacea for skin irritations—the liquid in the stem cures mosquito bites and prevents poison ivy rash). We may get the seeds of foxtail grass, a relative of millet. With lots of rain beforehand and a bit of luck, gourmet chicken mushrooms, hygrophourous milky mushrooms, black-staining polyores, boletes, and russulas may be emerging too. For late summer... Berries thrive in thickets here, and we'll be on the lookout for the last of the year's blackberries, There will be no lack of herbs and greens. We could find purslane, wood sorrel, sheep sorrel, lady's thumb, lamb's quarters, Asiatic dayflower, and quickweed, all with their own flavors and culinary properties. Nuts should be doing well now too. We may find white oak acorns, The rare butternut tree will be dropping a bounty of sweet-tasting nuts and the first black walnuts of the season Fall foraging... with a wide selection of wild herbs, greens, roots, nuts, and mushrooms. Habitats include miles of mature forest as well as the trail edges and the disturbed, overgrown, and cultivated habitats that provide homes for many diverse species. Burdock, delicious, but hard to dig up. Here it's growing in loose, soft soil, so it's much more accessible than usual.Another choice root vegetable is sweet cicely, which tastes like black licorice. Herbs and greens we'll be looking for include sassafras, the original source of root beer; black birch, which contains oil of wintergreen, garlic mustard, with garlicky leaves and horseradish-flavored roots; and onion/garlic-flavored field garlic. The forest is one of the best for mushrooms. We'll be looking for mid-fall fungi such as giant puffballs, pear-shaped puffballs, honey mushrooms, hen of the woods, oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, brick tops, and tree ears. We'll stop at a row of ginkgo trees across the street from the meeting spot. A relic from the days of the dinosaurs, this tree provides delicious kernels, protected by a malodorous fruit, which are great in Chinese food, and as an alternative to cheese in vegan dishes. So much to explore!

Where: Myrtle Ave, Woodhaven , Queens, New York, 11421

How to Prepare / What to Bring: Dress comfortably for the weather. Reserve at least 24 hours in advance . at the stone wall at Forest Park Drive and Park Lane, in Kew Gardens, adjacent to The Overlook Building, not at the Woodhaven side of the park.

Caregiver must stay: YES