In the concrete jungle that is New York City, there’s an entire world of wild, yet edible plants and mushrooms. For many, this is likely surprising news, but it’s exactly the type of information the aptly named “Wildman” Steve Brill loves to share with New Yorkers. “Wildman” Steve has been foraging New York City’s parks and surrounding areas for over 30 years. He even goes so far as to refer to them as his supermarket. However, he didn’t always have wild in front of his name. In fact, it was a budding interest in cooking that led him to the edible world.
Over the years, his interest blossomed into a business leading foraging tours in New York and beyond, where he introduces newbies to the activity and teaches them about ecology, nature, edible and medicinal plants, and mushrooms. His tours take him through many of New York City’s parks including Central Park, Prospect Park, Inwood Hill Park, and Forest Park. “Wildman” Steve has the privilege of working on a regular basis with a wide range of New York schools, universities, institutions and camps, as well as hosting birthday parties for budding naturalists.
We recently caught up with “Wildman” to learn all about foraging and the natural world that exists within the city (and even got a few recipes).