Blackberry picking in the city.
- sophie. Aug 27, 2008 11:12 AM
I'm new to the city from Seattle where every August my family and I would go blackberry picking at various semi-wild non-sprayed public parks. Then, along with a cobbler or two, we would make enough blackberry syrup to last until the following August.
Is there anywhere around New York that I could go picking? I am in Brooklyn but any park that is accessible by train would be great. I'd also be willing to trek upstate for good berries.
A fellow called "Wildman" Steve Brill leads foraging expeditions in and around New York; his August 30 event, in Prospect Park, mentions blackberries by name. See http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/ and follow the calendar link in the left column. Note, too, that Brill has a big shtick, but he does know his shtuff.
Steve Brill's expeditions are a lot of fun and well worth doing. I accompanied my child's class on a true "field trip" with Steve a couple of years ago. He does have a big shtick, as noted, but if you can get past that it's a lot of fun. His shtick worked well for a bunch of kindergardeners.
The OP should know, however, that on these expeditions you just get a small taste of whatever Steve forages. So if blackberries are on the agenda, expect to get one blackberry. You will definitely not be allowed to bring a pail and pick berries to bring home.
I used to walk by a mulberry tree that had a lot of fruit on it but it was quite tall and you'd need a ladder to really harvest the fruit. I also can't remember where that tree was - I think it was somewhere on Houston Street. Best bet is to rent a car and go to one of the pick-your-own places. They're easy to find with google.
This time last year, in northern Central Park, a bunch of us (including Brill) lingered after his expedition to pick our fill of blackberries from one particularly rich patch. (Something to do tomorrow, now that I think of it.) The most diligent and bramble-indifferent members of the group came away with a couple of pints each; I settled for one big handful, which didn't make it out of the park.
We may just have hit it lucky, though. If you're hoping to put up blackberry preserves or make syrup, angelhair's advice sounds like the way to go.