Food

A Gallery of Wild Botanicals at Saturday’s City of Merchants Fundraiser

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Wild botanicals from northern Vermont, corralled into a subdued spread.

On Saturday, the gates to the Marble Cemetery opened for the City of Merchants, a fundraiser for the New Amsterdam Market. The fundraiser kicked off in the late morning with a display of wild botanicals harvested by farmers from northern Vermont. For adventurous cooks and foraging geeks, the spread was like something out of a fever dream; more familiar vegetables and herbs like wild ramps and mint shared table space with more exotic plants like oxeye and amaranth. And while the wild greens were the main draw, the Marble Cemetery itself held formidable allure: aside from being one of Manhattan’s most pristine and inaccessible oases, it has its own unlikely harvest, owing to a huge mulberry tree and patches of wild strawberries. Click through to see it for yourself.

Amaranth is a genus of herb; there are approximately 60 different species. This one tasted unbelievably bitter.

They look like leeks, but cattail hearts have no relation to the Alliaceae family. At least one survivalist blog calls it a “survival plant bar none,” and likens the taste to cucumbers. They’re apparently very versatile, and can be pickled, canned, and frozen.

These are one of many varieties of edible ferns, very similar in appearance to the fiddlehead.

Jerusalem artichokes are a common sight at farmers’ markets. A root vegetable, its texture is similar to that of a potato, but its flavor is sweeter and nuttier.

Water mint is a perennial plant found in the shallow areas of large bodies of water, and tastes pretty much like the more common variety of peppermint that most people are accustomed to.
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Oxeye daisy greens are fairly bitter, and very versatile: they can be used in salads, stir-fries, and pretty much anything else that calls for bitter greens.

A wreath of much fetishized wild ramps.

Another common sight at farmers’ markets, sorrel, has been cultivated for centuries. The taste of its leaves has been likened to everything from kiwifruit to wild sour strawberries.

The Marble Cemetery is home to a gorgeous mulberry tree that bears delicious fruit. The darker the berry, the riper it is.

Checking out the goods.

The view from the rear of the Marble Cemetery.

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