Foraging fun! ‘Wildman’ Steve Brill hunts for wild carrots in Marine Park

Environmental expert and foraging specialist “Wildman” Steve Brill hosted a tour of Marine Park on Saturday to search for the elusive wild carrot. Along the way he found some chickweed, which he said, is not only edible, but delicious!
Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

There’s a lot more than wild carrots in them thar weeds.

Free-wheeling forager “Wildman” Steve Brill uncovered a cornucopia of consumable delights on Saturday when he took more than a dozen hearty souls on a wild carrot hunt in Marine Park — a hunt that turned up far more than the environmental educator had hoped to find.

“There were lots of surprises,” Brill explained. “We haven’t been [in Marine Park] in a few years, so when I got there I found a huge bush called the Wrinkled Rose, that had the most gigantic rose hips. Its hips bear one of the best fruits in the world. I’m going to be making jello out of it tomorrow.”

But that was not all, besides the wild carrots (which he plans to use in a carrot cookie recipe), he and his team also found an unending supply of wild parsnips, winged sumak (which you can make pink lemonade out of), and blue-tinged palate-twisting mushrooms called blewits (the “Wildman” likes to put them in his macaroni and cheese).

Since the 1980s, Brill has shown that fields of gold — or at least nutritious and tasty wild carrots — lie underneath the weeds strewn across the Gateway Recreation Area — federally protected land south of Avenue U.

“The first year after their seeds are planted, [wild carrot] roots are full of nutrients and if they get a little bit more sun they get larger,” Brill said, explaining that the plants die by the second year. He planned the foraging tour now — in the sweet spot of the wild carrot’s circle of life — so his trip would have zero impact on the environment.

“We were collecting carrots at the same places I visited years earlier,” he said. “But the rose hips and blewits were more than I expected on this trip.”

His foraging friends agreed.

“It’s surprising what we have right here in our own neighborho­od,” Gerritsen Beach resident Peter Whitley said.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at or by calling (718) 260-2525.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: