Ever since we went on a foraging tour with “Wildman” Steve Brill in Forest Park back in April, we’ve wondered what other kinds of edibles our park had to offer. Sure, Japanese knotweed and burdock root is cool, but what’s even better? WILD BERRIES! (And mushrooms, but that’s another post.*) We’d noticed flowering raspberry bushes around Strack Pond sometime in late spring and decided to return in the summer, when the berries would hopefully be ready to pick. So this past weekend we hopped on the Q55 for a “berry” important mission! Here’s what we found:
There are TONS of delicious raspberries out there — and lots more that have yet to ripen. To get to the berries, walk up the hill that’s next to the pond. Near the top of the hill, turn right on the trail. You’ll start to see berries along both sides of the trail. Keep walking, then turn right at the T. The berries are concentrated right by the fallen log that you’ll need to climb over to continue down the trail. If you do head out there, I recommend wearing light pants and long sleeves because the berry bushes are very prickly!
The petite red & black berries taste absolutely delicious—tart, juicy, and deeply berry-like. In fact, the next day I bought some conventional Driscoll’s raspberries at the fruit stand, and in comparison they were flavorless and sad.
*In case we don’t get around to posting about it, here’s the short version: in the spring we found wine-cap stropharia mushrooms in the park. They were… OK. I grew up foraging and eating wild morels, and in comparison, the wine-caps tasted mediocre and watery—sort of like big spongy portobellos.
To get to Strack Pond in Forest Park, take the Q55 bus toward Richmond Hill. The bus route starts at the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal on Palmetto Street and continues along Myrtle Avenue to the park. Get off at 88th Lane and walk up 88th Lane into the park. Continue past the picnic tables and carousel and you’ll see the entrance to the pond. Walk down the steep paved hill and you’re there!