July 8, 2010

Eating the fruits of street trees

Olive tree harvest
We began eating the fruits of street trees (and of trees accessible from the public right of way) in Berkeley, California.  We also participated in Forage Oakland, exchanging our herbs and tomatoes for other herbs and fruits.  There were several public fruit options in Berkeley: plums, tree strawberries, olives, pluots, ginkgos, apples, crabapples, hawthorns, and loquats.  So enamored of our Berkeley experience, we're promoting edible urban forests via our Eat Street Trees! campaign.  Nut trees, too.  We've distilled nocino using sidewalk-grown walnuts.

Strawberries, strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo)
It has been challenging to find edible street trees in our New York neighborhood though this spring we've eaten handfuls of serviceberries (but none from the High Line).

Ellen Spector Platt and Ellen Zachos of Garden Bytes from the Big Apple have had success foraging in the city.  Urban forager Ava Chin has written about sweet violet, dandelion, chickweed, and the day lily, but not tree fruits.  By the way, it is illegal to harvest plants (and their fruit) growing in city parks as Chin learned after posting about day lily harvesting.  

We'll stick to street trees. What edible fruit bearing trees are planted in the city's sidewalks? Five, based on the Parks Department's list of approved species of Street Trees for sidewalk and lawn planting sites.  Hawthorn, serviceberry, crabapple, Turkish filbert/Turkish hazel, and Ginkgo.  Read About the Ginkgo biloba for information about cooking the ginkgo nut.  According to Foodmapping there are mulberry trees growing in New York's sidewalks (hat tip: Serious Eats).

Here's a short list of foraging links:
Tell us about your foraging experiences!

2 comments:

  1. Does my neighbor's fig tree, facing the street, count as "public"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have heard and read that if the fruit is hanging over the public right of way, the fruit is considered "public," but I would ask permission, if possible.

    NPR had a good show about this issue at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4967131. Here's another take on the issue at http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2008/08/right-thing-do-i-dare-to-eat-lemon.html.

    ReplyDelete

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