Saturday, March 30, 2013

A foraging picnic

The woods of Inwood had barely woken up yet, when Clare, Pritha and I walked into them yesterday on a quest for field garlic. The spicebush had not broken bud.

We did find snowdrops - not native at all, but pretty.

And moss on the enormous rocks. There were birds: a woodpecker, its high primitive percussion somewhere in the bare trees, cardinals, titmice, and a pair of beautiful blue and white nut hatches. 

After finding some likely foraging grounds we settled in the middle of them, high on a rock, looking out over the leaf littered woods and occasional dog walker.

I broke out the pâté, cucumber sandwiches and gins and tonics. My fellow picnickers were impressed by the ice and lemon slices. 

I was impressed by their willingness to dive in and experience a new taste without any finickiness. To the left of Clare, below - that vertical twig? Poison ivy...

...And by Clare's freshly baked cheese scones and wonderful lemon curd - both made that very morning.

We were camping right on top of garlic mustard, an edible invasive that has taken over these woods, crowding out just about every other wildflower.

To help out, we ate it on the spot. Thanks to Pritha for the styling.  She works for a think tank and she sat and thought very fast and came up with some wonderful wild food ideas.

Apart from thinking, she also contributed some excellent quiches and fruit tarts from a bakery in Fort Greene.

After lunch we got down to business, hauling fat field garlic from the ground. The best bulbs are a little larger than thumbnail-size.

The walk back to the subway took us past the Henry Hudson Bridge. The Bronx is on the other side...

I'll return in a few weeks. Maybe a month. I love to see these trees in young leaf.

And the field garlic will still be there.

And the riders on the A train will be as engulfed by field garlic fumes as they were yesterday. Sorry about that...

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