Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Growing Feast

Keeping my eye on some green blueberries (...) at Pier One. There are about a dozen bushes.

The berries above are Amelanchier, planted in the noisy park between the bridges, but I am not sure what species they are. The bushes are quite compact and upright, their leaves darker, almost blue. They might have been palatable had it not been for the taste reference of the others that Ellen and I had been collecting that day. She describes the flavour succinctly on her blog: "They taste like dirt!" But Ellen, I have never eaten dirt...not even with garlic. They were quite strange - very juicy but heavy on the minerals, yes. For that matter, what is the tree-form species from which I routinely pick? I am guessing A. canadensis. I'd like to tour these parks with a botanist who knows. There is also a shrub-like form at fabulous Pier One, leafier, lower to the ground, but it may simply be an immature form of the trees.

And a blackberry or raspberry is making goodlooking, still-green, fruit..

Some of you may remember the blurry image of white flowers taken one night, post picnic in this park. Indeed, they turned out to be Penstemon by daylight.

The berm is filling in lushly and may be impassable in a year or two, so fast is the sumac growing. Hmm, sumac. Jelly.

A juvenile robin wondering why the human is eating from its tree.

 These branches are literally hanging low with fruit. The berries drop off if they are not picked and they are renewable. Next year, more berries. I would never strip a tree, even if I could. It's my first rule of foraging: Share.

And while my mouth watered at the prospect of tender young day lily buds, these we left well alone. Planted front and centre, they would have been missed.

In other edible news, I will be blogging for Edible the magazine, starting...this week. I know it's PC to say how much you like the people you write for but in this case, it's the easy truth. I loved Edible Brooklyn long before I wrote for them, going so far as to investigate exporting the brand to Cape Town, and am very pleased to be more involved. As for Cape Town - know anyone with deep pockets to fund us? First we have wrap up (and in one case start!) some New York projects,  but the idea is still back there, cooking on the octuple burners of my food and plant-obsessed mind. Occasionally something boils over, unattended and forgotten, but some things improve with time back there, like a cassoulet, cooked long and slow.
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