A Delicious Way to Celebrate Nature at New York City Wildflower Week | Civil Eats

A Delicious Way to Celebrate Nature at New York City Wildflower Week

This week in New York City, get to know the nature around you (and eat some local, wild and seasonal meals featuring native plants, too) during Wildflower Week, from May 1st – 9th.

New York City has 53,000 acres of open space, more than Philadelphia and Los Angeles combined, and around 778 native plant species. You can explore some of this natural wealth beginning on Saturday by participating in guided walking tours of gardens, green roofs and park land in all five boroughs, as well as attending planting events, lectures, events for kids, and more. There will also be an opportunity to get free seedlings, see sustainable gardening demonstrations, and get information on native species at a NYC Wildflower Week booth in the Union Square Greenmarket this Saturday from 8am- 3pm.

Once you’ve explored the natural beauty of New York City, you’ll surely have built up an appetite. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to dine on “Edible Natives” all across the city. Here are some places to cook and eat local, seasonal plants this Wildflower Week:

Herbaceous Eats: Cooking with Spring Greens, Herbs and Flowers
Time: Fri. May 7, 7-9pm, $25
Location: Whole Foods Culinary Center, 95 East Houston St.

Join Louisa Shafia, chef and author of Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, for easy ways to cook with wild edibles like ramps, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, and other seasonal ingredients.

On the Menu: Stinging-Nettle Pesto with Crostini and Market Vegetables; Lamb’s Quarters-and-Pea-Shoots Soup; Shiso-Cucumber Salad; Spot Prawns with Garlic, Sorrel, and White Wine; Rhubarb and Pistachio Parfait.

Restaurants featuring special wildflower week menus:


The Green Table
Time: Throughout Wildflower Week
Location: 75 Ninth Ave., Chelsea Market, 212-741-6623
Green Table’s daily menu reflects what’s freshest at local farms and greenmarkets. Featured menu items: Wild Vegetable Tempura–wild ramps and fiddlehead ferns along with other “domesticated” spring vegetables.

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MAS (farmhouse): Wild Tastings
Time: Salon dinners Sunday May 2 and Monday May 3
Location: 39 Downing Street, 212-255-1790
Join chef Galen Zamarra and special guest speakers for an enlightening conversation about cooking with local native foraged ingredients. $65 prix-fixe dinner. Limited seating, reservations required. Nightly menu to include: Trout piscator stuffed with wild ramp and smoked trout mousse.

Pure Food and Wine: Wild Tastings
Time: Throughout Wildflower Week
Location: 54 Irving Place, (212) 477-1010
Pure’s raw vegan menu is entirely plant based, uses no processed ingredients, and nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Featured menu item: Sweet Violet Herb and Orange Salad.


Time: Throughout Wildflower Week
Location: 605 Carlton Ave., Prospect Heights, 718.942.4255
This seasonal American restaurant with Old-World European influences will feature nightly specials with NYC native plants such as ramps and fiddlehead ferns, including a Spring Onion Soup with Boar Lardon and Pecorino.

Time: Throughout Wildflower Week
Location: 246 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene, 718.789.2778
iCi’s pholsophy: the best-tasting food is naturally grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound and socially responsible by people who are taking care of the land for future generations. Featured menu item: Braised spring lamb shoulder with Brooklyn-made caviatelli, baby artichokes, ramps, and pea shoots.


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Time: Throughout Wildflower Week
Location: 21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria, 718.545.5550
This neighborhood restaurant offers simple and Italian-inspired favorites guided by the local green market. Featured menu item: Spaghetti with charred ramps and sheeps milk ricotta.

Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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