Walks + Forage Picnics

Juneberry and linden flower sodas

Summer walks are here! Please scroll down to find the walk you want (or stay up here and read how they work.)

Follow me on Instagram @marie_viljoen for pop-up announcements. Email me to be added to my mailing list, and for private walk enquiries, too: myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com. 

My second book, Forage, Harvest, Feast - A Wild-Inspired Cuisine, is a useful and substantial resource, with over 500 recipes intended as a guide for exploring the range of possibilities for delicious and very versatile botanical ingredients growing (or begging to be grown) near you. Please order from your nearest bookshop (or, you know, Amazon).

About my Walks

I lead plant identification and nature walks in wild and tame green spaces. As much as these experiences are about sharing my passion for plants, they are an immersion in the rich natural world that surrounds us, even in the middle of a city.

Every part of every season offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the plants that surround us in plain sight, especially in places where we do not expect to find them. Yes, we even walk in winter.

On urban field trips we identify and talk about so-called weeds, or plants whose habit is invasive; exotic plants (introduced species); and native plants, some of which could - and should, but still don't - define an authentic regional cuisine. Awareness, conservation and stewardship are the cornerstones of these immersions in nature. My own approach evolves, and I welcome the diverse perspective that you bring to our roving discussions.

In terms of edible plants, we talk what parts of plants are safe to eat, and why, as well as culinary ideas and techniques for unfamiliar ingredients (warning, there's a lot fermentation-talk). The conversation always touches on the evolving do's and don't's of foraging; pollution issues; the relationship between invasive plants and natives, and why it does actually matter, if we care about the planet and 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 real goal, though, is to help tune your senses to the botanical and natural details at our feet, and above our heads, and to inspire you to notice nature, even if it's on your city block. 

The group-size for walks is small, low-impact, and personal. It's not unusual for new friendships to grow over the course of the walk. Meet plants, make friends!


Forage Picnics

Most walks end with a wild-inspired tasting picnic. It's exactly what it sounds like: Tastes of in-season, wild ingredients, as well as preserved small-batch forages from my feral pantry. Non-foraged ingredients are high-quality, and organic or locally-grown, where possible. I take broad dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, omnivore) into account where possible within a group. You can also book a diet-specific, private walk.

Pine pollen pignoli

Ways to Walk and Talk

Scheduled Walks - seasonal walks are booked via this page (scroll down).
Gift Walks - buy an open ticket to any scheduled walk; valid for one year.
Private Walks - for institutions, corporate groups, schools, families, friends.
Plant Identification - I identify plants on your land, public space, or in your garden.
Talks, Classes - for botanic gardens, design firms, conservancies, garden clubs, etc.
Consultation - native and edible garden creation, wild recipes, mixology.

Buy a Gift Walk


A Gift Walk ($85) offers admission to any of my seasonal walks with forage-picnics (classes I teach for outside institutions like the NYBG are not included). Give an experience that includes plant identification, nature immersion, wild-inspired treats, and the company of like-minded humans. Valid for one year. Gift Walks are non-refundable.

_________________

Frequent Walker Miles

For every five walks you attend, the sixth is free. You can also transfer your free walk to a friend or donate it to the Forage Fund, which makes tickets available to anyone who needs one. Please keep track and alert me when you're up for a gratis stroll. 

Cancellation Policy

Tickets are non-refundable. Cancellations up to 48 hours in advance of a walk receive credit for a future walk (this can be transferred to a friend, too). Cancellations within 48 hours of a walk do not receive credit (this includes Gift Walk tickets).

If I cancel for any reason, you receive a full refund. 

Classes and walks for institutions like the New York Botanical Garden have their own cancellation policies. Details will be found through those ticketing links.

__________________

Summer 2024

Shade
29 June 2024
Historic Green-Wood
11am - 1.30pm
$85

Southern magnolias, their evergreen leaves a glossy backdrop for sumptuous, perfumed flowers, will be scenting the hills and hollows of this beautiful Brooklyn landscape. Linden trees like domed cathedrals, whose layered shingles are living leaves that make them refuges from sun and rain (...but not lightning...). Tulip poplars like arboreal spires. Nut trees whose compound leaves shade unripe and fragrant fruit. 

The trees of Green-Wood encourage summer-awe. 

Wade with me through tall grasses, meet three stages of daylily flowers and learn how to use the spent blooms, and discover opportunistic weeds. We will finish in canopied shade, and sip something cool and soothing. 

$5 from each ticket is donated to the Historic Green-Wood Fund.


_____________________

Black, White, Green, and Red
Conference House Park
Thursday, 4 July 2024
11.30am - 2pm
$85.00

Join me at the southern tip of Staten Island, the surprisingly green borough that happens to be where the terminal morain of a great glacier came to a halt, a long time ago. While this park and stone house are the site of an important meeting during the Revolutionary War,  we will spend the red, white, and blue holiday in support of another flag, because we can. We will hunt for these colors, and we will eat them too.  Red wineberries, white mountain mint, green spicebush, and black walnuts. (Well, that's our wishlist - the plants have their own schedule to keep.)

Each attendee will receive an enamel sew-on watermelon patch made by SI resident Tiny Saru, and all ticket sales will be donated to World Kitchen working in Gaza. 


______________________

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for keeping alive the Magical natural world !

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thought,,, I haven't joined your field guide tour for a while, your note is always breathtaking treat for me. Thank you, Marie-san!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can’t wait for the spring walks to be posted!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I want to sign up for a few walks but when I click to pay the links aren’t working!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello - could you please email me at myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com ? I have tested the payment links on different devices and browsers and they appear to be working. I see two recent purchases for Rising Earth - is that perhaps you? Please email your response.

      Delete
  5. I love such hikes, meals in the bosom of nature are the best that can be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wish you’d bring your expertise into Westchester County, full of wild parks to hike

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated for spam.