This Guy Makes His Snacks From Plants Discovered In Public Parks
When “Wildman” Steve Brill hankers for a fresh snack, he doesn’t going to see Whole Foods. Instead, he heads to one of New York City’s public parks and picks a feast of edible plants straight-out from the ground.
Brill, 67, has led foraging tours in and around the Big Apple for over 30 years, presenting students, tourists and dirt-shy locals how to collect wild edibles that grow in the green spaces dotting the city’s concrete grid.
Foraging allows Brill, a passionate cook, to whip up healthy meals without buying as much from supermarkets as the average person would. I joined him on one of his tours, where I sampled a variety of foraged herbs and even ate a lunch of wild foods Brill had prepared.( My colleagues were horrified when I told them. But the food savor great to me .)
While it’s not ideal for many people for a variety of reasons, the practice of foraging lets Brill to enjoy delectable foods while reducing his contribution to a global food system that experts say is wasteful and inefficient.
“I can make almost anything from decadent-tasting truffles with melted baker’s chocolate seasoned with wild coffee from Central Park, to ice creams, ” Brill, who hails from Kew Gardens, Queens, told The Huffington Post.
Foraging generally isn’t allowed in New York City’s parks. But park rangers tolerate Brill, and the Parks Department even hired him to give foraging tours for a few years in the 1980 s. Collecting wild plants is perfectly safe, provided you know what you’re go looking for, Brill told, adding that novice foragers should rely on experts or guide books to help correctly identify edible species.( Brill told no one has ever gotten sick from one of his foraging tours .)
Some plants can be difficult to identify, however, and eating the incorrect item could be harmful. Plus, wild plants can soak up toxins from urban clay, and an expert we spoke to recommended against foraging for certain edibles. The New York City Health Department says foragers should always check for signs about pesticide use, clean discovered plants thoroughly and avoid eating foraged edibles more than a few times a week.