Forage Walks and Classes



Please scroll down for this spring's walks.

To join my mailing list, or if you would like a private walk or talk, please email me. I send out about five mails a year with a new schedule of seasonal walks or events.

To follow my daily posts please visit my Instagram feed @66squarefeet.


My second book, Forage, Harvest, Feast - A Wild-Inspired Cuisine (36-plus plants and 510 recipes), is available at Chelsea Green Publishing, at your nearest bookshop, or, you know, Amazon.

About my Walks

I lead plant walks in the urban and wild green spaces that surround us. While edible plants are the focus on my walks, all plants are part of our mobile discussion.

As we walk we learn about two broad categories of plants: so-called weeds - plants that are invasive, or considered useless; and native plants (some of which could, and should, define an authentic regional cuisine). There is nothing more exciting than meeting new flavors, and learning how to use them.

We learn about what parts of plants are safe to eat, and why, and we talk about culinary ideas and techniques for unfamiliar ingredients. We also discuss the do's and don't's of foraging; urban and rural pollution issues; sustainability, the relationship between invasive plants and natives; biodiversity; and the real problems of commercial over-harvest of native wild plants (like ramps) - all tying in to my approach of conservation foraging.

My hope is to help tune your senses to the botanical and natural details beneath our feet and above our heads.

Every part of every season offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the plants under our noses, especially in places where we do not expect to find them. These experiences offer us an immersive opportunity to breathe out, and relax. If we pay attention. Call it forage bathing.


Picnics

The walks end with a shared, wild-inspired tasting picnic featuring seasonal ingredients. With sufficient notice I cater to dietary preferences like vegan and vegetarian and do my best to accommodate other requests, like gluten-free, or serious allergies, if it is feasible within a diverse group.

Ways to Walk and Talk


Tours may involve hills and steps and rough paths, and require a moderate fitness level, to walk one-to-three miles in two hours. I am happy arrange walks to suit different abilities, and wheelchair-friendly routes are also available by prior arrangement.

Public Walks - Walks are listed on this page seasonally, below.
Private Walks - For friends, kitchen crews, corporate teams, conservancies.
Gift Walks - Give a wild foods walk with picnic as a gift.
Plant Identification and Education - I assess your land or garden.
Talks, Classes, Consultation - Talks, tastings, mixology and menu creation, specialising in wild and unfamiliar flavors.

Walk Perks

Frequent Walker Miles - for every five walks you book, the sixth is free.

Cancellation Policy 

Refunds at my discretion.
Credit is issued for cancellations up to three days before a walk.
For cancellations after three days you are welcome to send a guest in your place.
Bad-weather cancellations mean credit towards any future walk.
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Sunday, 8 March 2020
The Good, the Bad, and the Berry
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
12pm - 2.30pm
Tickets: $52 (2 tickets left)

The first day of Daylight Savings! Celebrate the end of dark afternoons at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where New York's skyline and nature meet in an exciting intersection of estuary, wetland, beach, field uplands and woods. Snow geese like to overwinter here, and if we are lucky we will spot them. 

Pre-spring shows us naked shrubs and vines where tempting berries persist. Some of them are delicious. Some will make you sick. Learn which is which. 

We will meet native Northeastern shoreline edibles, like pine and juniper (and in our post-walk hot toddy we will taste them). Fragrant male eastern red cedars will be bursting with pollen, females will be holding on to their delicious, ripe cones (yes, a juniper berry is really a cone), and we will learn to make bayberry bitters. Mugwort, pokeweed, and cress crowd the paths - now is the time to learn how to spot them.

Despite the date, March can be the snowiest month in the city, so be ready with boots, mittens, and ear warmers, in case.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is reached by car (lots of parking), bus, subway (the A train to broad Channel - a 15 minute walk away), or bike - there is a mini bicycle service station on site. Thanks to the National Parks Service (and our tax dollars) there is a very civilized bathroom, too. More details will be emailed after sign up, in the week of the walk.


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Thursday, 19 March 2020 (4 tickets left)
Vernal Equinox Mixology
5pm - 6.30pm
$52

Sneak out of work (a little) early and join me in the early spring evening to toast the first official day of the best season. We will sip botanical cocktails (including a no-alcohol version) featuring spicebush, magnolia and fragrant fir.

Our libations and snack will follow a  walk where we learn to identify magnolia buds, winter honeysuckle, and spicebush, and discuss how to turn them into unique cocktail fixings for the rest of the year. Plus, the early-season bonus of a wild and weedy edible smorgasboard: bittercress, field garlic, ground elder and early garlic mustard.

Details will be emailed to you on sign up.


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Saturday, 11 April 2020
Forest Revival
Inwood Hill Park
12.30pm - 3pm
$55

At the northern tip of Manhattan is the island's oldest forest, and it is just waking up. Tulip poplars soar skywards, sheltering dainty native wildflowers like Dutchman's breeches, as well as the largest grove of spicebush in the city.  It is the spice I use more than any other, in my kitchen, and in spring its fresh twigs, flowers and leaves are edible. 


Between the Hudson and the Spuyten Duyvil we will walk through the shadow of the valley of spicebush, climb a hill, and discover the wildly invasive edibles (think daylily and nettles) before descending the ridge high above the river. 

We will enjoy our picnic beside the water, and taste the plants we have just seen.

Inwood is reachable by the A train to 207th Street, a five-minute walk away. If you are driving, be warned that street parking is extremely competitive. Allow extra time.

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Monday, 13 April 2020
Conference House Knotweed Walk
Staten Island
12pm - 2pm
$54

At the tip of Staten Island we will explore the wild world of woodland and beach, and learn all about one of the most hated invasive plants in the world: Japanese knotweed. Then we will eat it on our picnic.


Japanese knotweed is delicious (if you like sour flavors) and versatile in the kitchen. It is also a commercial source of resveratrol (and has been long used in Japanese and Chinese medicine as an anti inflammatory) and is being assessed for its anti-carcinogenic properties.

The Native Americans who lived here seasonally never knew Japanese knotweed, and neither did the colonial European leaders who gathered here weeks after the Declaration of Independence, to hash out a peace treaty (it failed). The knotweed arrived later, and it has decimated native plant habitats (in a plant-mimics-humans twist). I say, eat it.

This park, hardly known by most New Yorkers, is one of Staten Island's treasures. I have spotted muskrat, osprey and bald eagles here, aside from resident ground hogs and deer.  Best reached by car (there is ample parking), or by very long bus or subway ride.


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Saturday, 18 April 2020
Edible Flower Walk
Historic Green-Wood, Brooklyn
11.30am - 2.30pm
$55*

* $5 per person is donated to Green-Wood Cemetery

Set within gentle hills and dales, this is the site of the Battle of Brooklyn, fought in the American War of Independence.

Today, the only explosions we will see belong to the flowers - gorgeous cherry blossom and magnolia. Green-Wood Cemetery is now a gentle and welcoming space filled with some of the most beautiful trees in New York City. Above our heads new leaves will be unfurling and under our feet there may be violets.


On our three-hour ramble we will identify trees, and edible lawn-weeds like chickweed, shepherd's purse, and poor man's pepper. We will talk about how to use edible flowers, and learn to identify the wide array of ornamental plants we encounter. Our tasting picnic will of course feature some of the flavors we have just encountered.

Green-Wood is reached by car, subway (R to 25th Street), or bus. And bicycle, of course - there is good parking for bikes.  And bathroom at the entrance. More details will be emailed after sign up, in the week of the walk.

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Saturday, 25 April 2020
The Other Orchard Beach
Pelham Bay Park
12.30pm - 3pm
$55.00

Nestled quietly behind the arc of trucked-in sand that is Orchard Beach in the Bronx is some of the city's most beautiful scenery. And there is no one there.

Islands dot this southern lull water of the Long Island Sound, and in the woods it is still possible to see native wildflowers like cutleaf toothwort and trout lily. Both are edible. We will not be eating them.  We will also find sassafras and spicebush, fragrant denizens of the forest's understory. 


But we will be on a Japanese knotweed mission. The rampant invasive perennial acts like a thug, monopolizing ecosystems' real estate. It is good to eat and stuffed with resveratrol. 

Yes: we will be devouring Japanese knotweed and spicebush in our picnic.

To get to Orchard Beach, take the 6 train to the end of the line, hop a bus, and then walk about 10 minutes. Or drive, of course. It's fun, and it is an adventure. More details on sign up!

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Saturday, 3 May 2020
Cones and Conifers
Fort Tilden
12pm - 2pm
$52.00

The spring dunes and shoreline of New York City's barrier islands are filled with interesting edible plants in an environment that defies city-expectations. It is the Wild East. Come and learn to tell the difference between Japanese black pine and native pitch pine, and sniff the delicious scent of fresh juniper. Baby pine cones make the most delicious preserves and pickles, and your life is not complete until you have tasted pine pollen vodka. And if vodka's not your thing, the pollen makes the best biscuits!


Edible green things will be popping up, everywhere. We will discover bayberry, beach plum and sumac, and learn to identify fragrant super-invader, autumn olive (oleaster), for future fruit-gathering. 



Our tasting picnic will feature pine pollen and pine cones, three ways (I have always wanted to say that) as well as the spring flavors we have just encountered.

Car parking is on site at Fort Tilden and the Q35 bus stops a 10-minute walk away. 



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10 May 2019
Mother's Day Re-Wilding
Prospect Park
11am - 1pm
$52.00

Come and celebrate (or exorcise!) your mom - or bring her along - on a vibrant spring walk, ending with a picnic bursting with wild-inspired spring treats.

Birds are singing, spruce and hemlock tips are tender, and the forest floor is vibrant with invasive (and delicious) ground elder.  The world is beginning to vibrate with edible wild plants. Come and learn to identify them in this wonderful living classroom.


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Saturday, 16 May 2020
Delicious Weeds
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
12pm - 2.30pm
$52.00

If you joined us for the March 8th walk at the refuge, this mid-spring ramble will reveal a wild and lush transformation. The paths will be fringed with edible green weeds, and pokeweed shoots will be high and tender. The fragrant bayberry shrubs will have leafed out, and we will spot the prickly tender goodness of devil's walking stick, the scented tufts of emerging mugwort, and invasive multiflora roses. 

Our shared tasting picnic will feature the flavors we have just encountered, with recipes straight from Forage, Harvest, Feast. Bring your copies for reference or buy one straight from me.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is reached by car (lots of parking), bus, subway (the A train to broad Channel - a 15 minute walk away), or bike - there is a mini bicycle service station on site. Thanks to the National Parks Service (and our tax dollars) there is a very civilized restroom, too. More details will be emailed after sign up, in the week of the walk.

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