Grocery shopping with Steve

The Brooklyn Paper
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aturalist and author, “Wildman” Steve Brill, will lead one of his world-famous “Wild Food and Ecology Tours” of Prospect Park, June 21 (and repeated on July 6 and July 19).

Because Prospect Park includes so many varied habitats, it’s loaded with shoots and greens in early summer, and many of these are edible and medicinal. And the berries, wild and cultivated, are spectacular.

Begin with a lush juneberry bush, growing near the park’s Grand Army Plaza entrance. One of the tastiest fruits in the world, it’s astounding that these berries, which taste like a combination of blueberries, apples, and almonds, have never been cultivated.

Nearby, find corn-flavored chickweed, in season all year. Then participants will proceed southeast to a vast stand of celery-flavored goutweed, stopping for lamb’s-quarters leaves at the edge of the path.

Further on find vast stands of burdock, a despised “weed” with a delicious edible and medicinal root.

Near the picnic house, harvest sweet, flavorful mulberries in quantity by shaking the branches over a dropcloth. Related to figs, you can use these berries in any fruit recipe.

Afterward look at the nearby domestic plum tree to see if it’s bearing its luscious fruit this year. Then check out the top of a ridge to hunt for spicy poor man’s pepper, hedge mustard and field pennycress, all members of the mustard family.

If lucky and it’s rained beforehand, find a gigantic gourmet chicken mushroom and there could be savory wine-cap stropharia mushrooms sprouting from wood chips anywhere.

The three-hour walking tour begins at 1 p.m. at Prospect Park’s Grand Army Plaza Entrance. The suggested donation is $15; $10 for children under 12. Bring exact change. Note that nobody is ever turned away due to lack of funds. To attend, call 914-835-2153 at least 24 hours beforehand and reserve a place. For the 2008 tour calendar, visit

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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