Walks + Forage Picnics

Summer class in the weeds. Photo by Juliana Sohn

Welcome to my plant-walk page! My new early summer and summer walk schedule will be posted by late May. 

But please scroll down if you'd like to buy a gift-walk (valid for one year), or to see the currently listed walks. Pop-up walks are first posted on my Instagram page @marie_viljoen And private walks for you or for a group of friends or work-team members are by appointment. 

To enquire about a private walk, or join my mailing list to get first dibs at scheduled walks, please email me at myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com. 

My second book, Forage, Harvest, Feast - A Wild-Inspired Cuisine, is all about edible plants and how to forage, grow, and use them. There are 510 recipes exploring the range of possibilities for these delicious and very versatile botanical ingredients. 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 introduction to and 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 field trips we identify and talk about pretty much any plant we encounter: So-called weeds, or plants whose habit is invasive; exotic plants (introduced species) that have culinary uses; and native plants, some of which could - and should, but still don't - define an authentic regional cuisine. Conservation and stewardship are the cornerstones of these experiences.

In terms of edible plants, we discuss what parts of plants are safe to eat, and why, as well as culinary ideas and techniques for unfamiliar ingredients. We talk about the (constantly evolving) do's and don't's of foraging; pollution issues; sustainability; 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 hope is to help tune your senses to the botanical and natural details at our feet, and above our heads, and to inspire you to spend more time in nature, often.

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!

Winter walk

Most walks end with a shared, wild-inspired tasting picnic. It's exactly what it sounds like: Tastes of in-season, wild ingredients as well as preserved 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, for someone you like.
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, conservancies, garden clubs, etc.
Consultation - native and edible garden creation, wild recipes, mixology.

Buy a Gift Walk

You can buy a ticket or tickets to any of my scheduled walks (with tasting picnics) via the button below. They are valid for one year from the date of purchase. I will reach out to you via the email address you provide at check out. The giftee should reserve their spot/s by emailing me as soon as they see a posted walk that suits their schedule, since these walks are open to public booking and may sell out quickly. Gift tickets are $80 and are non-refundable.

* (Private walks at a time and place of your choosing are available by prior arrangement, and are priced differently.)

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Frequent Walker Miles

Join the club! For every five walks you attend, the sixth is free. You can also transfer your free walk to a friend or donate it 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. 

Cancellations and Refunds

Cancellations up to 48 hours in advance of a walk receive credit for a future walk, to be used within the calendar year (credit can be transfered to a friend, too). Cancellations within 48 hours of a walk do not receive credit (this includes Gift Walk tickets, which will be forfeited). If you are from out of town, refunds are at my discretion.

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

Walks booked via outgoing links to institutions (like the New York Botanical Garden) have their own cancellation policies, per those institutions. 

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Wild Edibles Walk
10 August
6pm - 7.30pm
$60.54

I'm thrilled to have been invited back to the Queens County Farm Museum - a real, working farm in the heart of New York City that welcomes its community and neighbors. 

Join us for a walk (followed by a wild-inspired drink and snack) in the quiet evening of the farm, accompanied by the chirping of summer's cricket chorus and the creak of a windmill, high above the cornfields and vegetable rows. We will meet and collect the edible weeds of summer - quickweed, amaranth, puslane, and lambs quarters, and we will smell good smells (no, not the cows or alpacas!), like aromatic black walnuts (still green), and native bee balm. There are are elderberry bushes, pawpaw trees and edible viburnum. Too much to list.

Booking is via the Queens County Farm's Eventbrite Page.

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2 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

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