Forest Park's woodlands, cultivated areas, and thickets make it a great place for early summer foraging, and a perfect place to celebrate Independence Day.
Luscious black raspberries are in season now, and we'll hunt for them in thickets throughout the day.
We'll be looking for prized daylily flowers, in bloom in partially shaded areas throughout the woods. This Asian delicacy, sold in Chinatown as "golden needles," has a sweet, pungent flavor, wonderful in salads and soups, or stuffed.
Other wild herbs and vegetables we'll be hunting for along the edges of trails include parsley-celery-carrot flavored honewort, hearty burdock root, piquant greenbrier, sour wood sorrel, spicy field garlic, healing jewelweed, string bean-flavored Asiatic dayflower, mild lady's thumb, medicinal mullein, wintergreen-flavored black birch, and root beer-flavored sassafras.
If it has rained beforehand, we may also find gigantic chicken mushrooms, black-staining polypores, brittle russulas, prized chanterelles, and misshapen Berkeley's polypores, as well as prized bolete mushrooms. The 4-hour walking tour begins at 11:45 AM, on Independence Day, Saturday, at the stone wall at Forest Park Drive and Park Lane, near the Parks Dept.'s Overlook building.
- Participants should be dressed for the weather, and be aware of very bad subway service.
- Trains are often cancelled due to track work. No sandals (there are mosquitoes, thorns and poison ivy).
- Everyone should have plastic bags for veggies and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, which spoil in plastic, containers for berries from late spring through fall, water and lunch, and extra layers when it's cold.
- Digging implements and pocket knives are optional. Dogs are permitted.
- Children are encouraged to attend.
- There's no smoking whatsoever at any time.