Along with plenty of nutty lambsquarter leaves and patches of fat, lemony purslane, we spotted this little thatch of wild raspberries along a far-flung curbside this weekend and it reminded us that our most recent Heritage Radio Network show is on the Urban Forager.
That’s Ava Chin, a professor of journalism at the College of Staten Island — its 204 very green acres are filled with wild foods and once, 3o,000 bees — who blogs about her finds for both the New York Times City Room and on her own site. Her posts, which cover everything from parks to curbs to what’s found in the waters surrounding our city, are excellent, offering not just a literal snapshot of what mulberries or lady’s thumb actually look like, but a bit of cultural, environmental and historical context as well. (Plus there’s recipes, like how to grind acorn corn flour to make bread or separate dandelion blossoms for jelly!)
Summer, not surprisingly, is an excellent time to try your hand at foraging, and in our half-hour radio segment now up online, Ava talks a little but about what you can find right now as well as the regular rules of the game: avoid tree pits on busy avenues, don’t eat mushrooms you don’t really know, etc.
Like Wild Man Steve Brill, the professional forager we profiled last year, she also leads foraging tours of the city, but we like that hers also often focus on sidewalks and city streets in addition to parks, meaning you’ll get better at spotting things like purslane and lambsquarter in their truly urban environments: City sidewalks.