Monday, October 14, 2013

A taste of spring

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.


  1. I'll let you know if I get any "feed-back" on the foraged salad. Funny that I went to Brooklyn to learn about what is right there for the taking in my own back yard!

  2. And now you are also much closer to Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum, The Frick Museum, the Whitney, MOMA ... and the Guggenheim. Have enjoyed reading the saga of The Greedy Landlord, the sesrch for another apartment/garden
    and The Big Move. Well-done, Marie and the Frenchman et le chat!
    Diane in Denver

  3. I lived for several years on 131st and Lenox, not too far from where you are now I gather, I had a difficult time shopping up there (was my biggest complaint about Central Harlem by far); the neighborhood has changed quite a bit in the 5 years since I have lived there. We moved to 115th in part because of the Best Yet market there - and though we now live on W 85th we still take the train up to Best Yet to shop because the prices are so reasonable and the quality of the food and selection is so good. Also, the Fairway on 125th is the easiest to navigate in the city, in my opinion, and the crosstown bus makes getting home with a few bags a bit easier than walking. Best of luck, I absolutely LOVED living in Harlem, and exploring the North Woods especially, I am looking forward to reading of your adventures.


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