Event Announcement

A QueensWay Tour with “Wildman” Steve Brill

Saturday, Jul 27, 2019
9:00 am – 11:00 am

The 2 hour walking tour of The Queensway and adjacent Forest Park begins at 9 AM, Saturday, July 27, at the NE corner of Woodhaven Blvd. and Forest Park Dr., in front of Victory Field in Woodhaven, Queens.

The suggested donation is $20/adult, $10/child under 12. At least 24 hours in advance to reserve a spot on tour.



This wooded walkway is one of the best places for foraging in the summer. We’ll explore the overgrown bed of an abandoned railroad line, the adjacent mature forest, plus trailsides, thickets, and cultivated areas, all loaded with wild plants, in conjunction with Friends of the Queensway.

Wineberries are at their peak now. This invasive Asian raspberry species is way tastier than anything you can buy in the store, and it grows in great quantity. We should also find the season’s first wild blackberries. Much better than blackberries you buy in the store, they’ll make you forget all about your iPhone! Another fruit in season is the cornelian cherry. Hailing from the Middle East, this stone fruit tastes like sour plums.


Eat too many of these sweet, tart, flavorful fruits, and you’re in danger of dying of happiness!

Most roots are out of season in the summer, but burdock, an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, is an exception, and it abounds in human-disturbed areas scattered  throughout the trailsides, where it’s invasive. Instead of brewing it as a tea, it’s so common, you cook it like potatoes, or marinate and bake it to make “Wildman’s” Vegan Beef Jerky.

Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You use it for tea, or for making root beer. The dried, powdered leaves constitute the thickener for gumbo, called filé powder, and you can use the roots to make a cinnamon-like culinary seasoning.

Another tree we’ll look for is the black birch. It grows in the woods, with twigs that taste like wintergreen. It provides the raw material for making birch beer. You can steep the twigs in hot water to make a fabulous tea with anti-inflammatory properties that protect you from heart disease, chemically similar to aspirin. You can also thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make black birch Jello. Even better, use it to flavor “Wildman’s” tapioca-thickened Stick Pudding.

There are plenty of summer herbs and greens in season. We’ll find mugwort, a tonic for the female reproductive system, and lamb’s-quarters, which you use like its relative, spinach. We’ll also be finding Asiatic dayflower, hedge mustard, poor man’s pepper, lady’s thumb, and wood sorrel, all great for salads, sandwiches, and cooked vegetable dishes.

Asiatic Dayflower 

This invasive East Asian wild vegetable is as tasty as it’s abundant.

Wild seeds are in season too. We’ll hunt for the spicy seeds of garlic mustard, walnut-flavored seeds of jewelweed (a panacea for skin irritation—it even cures mosquito bites and prevents poison ivy rash), plus the wild grains of foxtail grass.

With lots of rain and a bit of luck, gourmet chicken mushrooms, milky mushrooms, boletes and russulas may be emerging.

Violet’s Chicken Mushroom

Foraging expert Violet Brill combined her interests in ornithology and mycology to find this 30-lb. chicken mushroom from a moving car!

“Naturalist-author “Wildman” Steve Brill is America’s go-to guy for foraging. He’s been leading foraging tours and providing demos for the public, for schools, day camps, birthday parties, museums, nature centers, parks departments, restaurants and chefs, garden clubs, hiking clubs, teaching farms, nurseries, and other organizations, in parks and natural areas throughout the Greater NY area, since 1982.


You may call (914) 835-2153 at least 24 hours in advance to sign up.

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