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“Wildman” Steve Brill

For 23 years, this self-taught forager has made New York City’s Central Park his produce aisle.

Fine Cooking Issue 97
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Fine Cooking: What made you decide to start picking and cooking what many people dismiss as weeds?

Brill: My motivation was hunger. As a poor student in Queens, I was riding my bike past a park and noticed some Greek women gathering plants—grape leaves, as it turned out. I took some home and stuffed them. They were delicious. It was free food.

FC: We’re guessing that not everyone agrees that plants in public parks are free food.

Brill: Back in 1986, I was arrested for picking dandelions in Central Park by undercover park rangers…


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