Ben Syversen, with dandelions
In foraging terms, we are enjoying a little spring. And I am borrowing that idea from Pascal Baudar, a friend and seriously inspiring forager-cook based in California with his girlfriend, Mia Wasilovich, whose own wild edible creativity and plating skills set the bar very, very high. Come autumn, and the first rains, Pascal gets a little excited.
Cool weather, a bit of rain, and the plants, laid low by summer, come back. It's a good time to look for wild greens. Not as good as spring (at least in the Northeast, which has wet summers), but much better than summer. In California, of course, it's a far more dramatic story - rain after months of drought, pillows of chickweed, waterways of watercress.
In Brooklyn's Prospect Park we saw it in action in the posy of dandelion greens, above, gathered by a young man who managed to make it to yesterday's foraging walk and then tucked right in, after a night that ended just before dawn and which saw the launching of his band's third album. My kind of people.
We were standing in a patch of weeds in a seldom-used part of the park, and under my feet were these young, fresh leaves, a few stray dandelion flowers, violets in bloom, new dock leaves and field garlic. In other words, spring. In October.
When - if - we ever settle into our new place, I look forward to being much closer to my Inwood foraging grounds, and the northern parts of Central Park, now just a skip away. We are also just a block from a Metro North stop, so the Hudson Valley beckons in away it never did, before.
For now, my immediate foraging is limited to finding the nearest place to buy organic milk and to sourcing a chicken that had a life, albeit a brief one.