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Shop in Mother’s Nature’s own bodega

Naturalist and author “Wildman” Steve Brill will lead one of his world-famous Wild Food and Ecology Tours of Marine Park in Brooklyn, May 4. This vastly under-appreciated park offers all the best wild foods of the rich seashore habitat.

The sandy soil is poor, limiting tree growth but benefiting plants that can take advantage of the full sunlight and nutrient-poor soil. Many of these species are at their peak in mid-spring.

One of these is wild asparagus, a feral version of the familiar commercial shoot, but much better tasting. It grows in thickets throughout the park.

The fields of south of Avenue U provide greens such as curly dock, garlic mustard, garlic, day lilies, and lamb’s-quarters. You will also find plenty of the medicinal plant mullein, and the fragrant pineapple-weed, a pineapple-scented relative of chamomile.

The sun and sand makes this one of the best habitats for root vegetables. You’ll be finding stands of sweet wild parsnips and peppery common evening primrose roots, as well as highly flavored white-colored wild carrots (Queen Anne’s Lace).

And a woodland area will provide delectably sour greenbriar leaves and shoots, plus spicy field garlic.

The three-hour walking tour begins at 1 p.m. at Avenue U and Burnett Street in Brooklyn. The suggested donation is $15, $10 for children under 12. Bring exact change. Note that nobody is ever turned away due to lack of funds.

To attend, call 914-835-2153 at least 24 hours beforehand and reserve a place. For the 2008 tour calendar and additional information, visit www.wildmansteverbrill.com.

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