EP17: Busted By The Cops For Picking A Dandelion

Notorious New York vegan forager Steve Brill was busted by the cops for picking a dandelion.

In this interview along with his 12 year old daughter, the father and daughter double-act discuss their foraging antics around New York.

While revealing how to craft delicious vegan cuisine from their foraged finds. Including some highly creative ways to use wild edible plants.

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Show Notes

About Steve Brill

Naturalist-Author “Wildman” Steve Brill has been leading foraging tours in parks throughout the Greater NY area since 1982, for the public, for schools, libraries, parks departments, day camps, scouting groups, teaching farms, museums, environmental organizations, and more. 13-year-old Violet Brill has been co-leading many of the tours since she was 9.

“Wildman’s” Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not-So-Wild) Places (William Morrow Publishers, 1994) is considered a classic on the subject.

His innovative Wild Vegan Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, April, 2002) is changing the way people think of preparing gourmet food. His Shoots and Greens of Early Spring in Northeastern North America (self-published 1986, revised 2008) teaches people how the foraging season begins. His Foraging With the “Wildman” DVD shows people how it’s all done, and his Wild Edibles Forage app includes everything he knows about edible wild plants.

But he’s still best known for having been handcuffed and arrested by undercover park rangers for eating a dandelion in Central Park!

Transcript

Robin Harford:
This is Robin Harford from eatweeds.co.uk. Welcome to another edition of the Plants & People Podcast. In this episode, I interview Steve Brill, the American forager who got arrested for, basically, picking a dandelion, which is pretty bonkers. And his very, very knowledgeable 12-year-old daughter, called Violet, and their parrot, Wisteria. So, without much ado, let’s get going.

Steve Brill:
I got arrested for eating a dandelion in Central Park in 1986. The then parks commissioner, Henry Stern, did not like that I was eating up all of his dandelions. So, he put undercover agents on my tour. There was a man and a women. They said they were married. They never held hands or kissed, so, I figured they’d been married for a long time. The man had a hidden camera and he took pictures. I’d hold up the specimens, only I was the specimen. At the end of the tour, I had just eaten a dandelion. They had hidden walkie-talkies, “Alright, there he is on 81st Street. Go get him.” Every park ranger in New York City popped out from behind the bushes. They surrounded me in case I was going to climb up a tree, put me in handcuffs, lest I bop them on the head with a dandelion. They searched me. I don’t know if they were looking for weeds or weed, but they hauled me off to the police station in handcuffs where they took fingerprints and mugshots.

I was charged with criminal mischief for removing vegetation from the park. Could’ve faced up to a year in jail. Then, they made a very bad mistake. They turned me lose. I went home and called every TV station, radio station, and newspaper. This was before the internet. Next morning, on the way to the newsstand, five cops came after me. “What do you want?” I said, “I haven’t eaten a single dandelion.” One of the cops says, “We don’t care, we want your autograph.” This was on front pages of newspapers around the country. I got on top TV shows, everything from CBS Evening News to Letterman. The BBC interviewed me, so I even made it on your side of the pond. Eventually, they took me to court. I served Wild Man’s Five-Borough Salad, on the best plants of the five boroughs of New York City on the steps of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse to reporters and passersby. The press ate it up.

I got on all the TV stations, newspapers, a second time. The mayor yelled at the parks commissioner who, then, had to turnover a new leaf. He dropped the charges and hired me to lead the same tours I was leading when I was arrested and I worked for them for the next four years. Years after that, I discovered the real reason why I was arrested.

Former Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, invited me into his office and told me that the Parks Management were all terrified that if they tolerated me foraging in the parks, someone would pretend to have them poisoned, contrive a lawsuit against the city, and say, “Look, you allow foraging.” So, that was why, the real reason why I was arrested. Now, when you’re arrested for one reason and they state a different reason, that’s a case of official wrongdoing. It’s called false arrest and I wish they’d do it again.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, that’s a great story and crazy story with the regulations and people in power who goes slightly off on one, as we say over here.

So, Violet, how long have you been … do you wanna introduce yourself, Violet, just tell everybody who you are? Well, it’s pretty obvious who you are.

Violet Brill:
Okay, so I’m Violet Brill and I also help to teach people foraging about edible and wild plants and how to use them in cooking, or for medicine, for medicinal purposes. And I help people find the plants, and when we go on our tours, I help them do … I do half the plants, we each do half of them. And it’s very fun.

Steve Brill:
It’s fun for her but not for me. She finds all the plants faster than I do and she steals all my jokes.

Robin Harford:
So are you a good cook, Violet?

Violet Brill:
Yeah I help him a lot with recipes that we make. We make like, there’s this plant called Black Birch, and it tastes like … and when you chew on the twig it tastes like wintergreen. And we use that to make this tapioca pudding, which is really good.

Steve Brill:
Yeah we call it stick pudding.

Robin Harford:
Right.

Steve Brill:
Right. I don’t know if you have any birches with a strong wintergreen flavour where you are, but the black birch, which is native to the northeast, it contains methyl salicylate.

Violet Brill:
And so it’s a low dose aspirin, and you can make tea with it. And Indians actually used it also, as medicine.

Steve Brill:
Yeah so I gave Violet the twigs to chew on when she was teething and it always worked. Methyl salicylate also is a low dose aspirin, so it reduces the risk of heart disease. And the latest research I’ve seen with natural salicylate is, at least in lab dishes, they stopped the growth of prostate cancer cells and of breast cancer cells.

Robin Harford:
Really? Okay.

Steve Brill:
So when people have this tea regularly, it could reduce the risk of prostate cancer or breast cancer.

Robin Harford:
What’s in New York at the moment? What are you both gathering? Are you eating every day wild food, or … ?

Steve Brill:
Oh yeah, the snow just melted.

Violet Brill:
Yeah.

Steve Brill:
We have a really good chickweed dip that Violet came up with. Let me see if I can pull up the recipe here.

Violet Brill:
And we’re also cold. There’s a lot of shoots and greens that are just coming up, like field garlic and garlic mustard and we’re actually getting, what are they called?

Steve Brill:
Yeah cat tails. You pull them.

Robin Harford:
Pre-natal bulrush.

Steve Brill:
Bulrush! Yeah you pull them bulrush.

Violet Brill:
Yeah we just got the first shoots that were coming up, and they’re really good.

Steve Brill:
Yeah. I saw your video on that. The one thing that I would add to it, because the green immature flower head is a little bit gritty, I find it as incredibly delicious cooked with a sauce.

Robin Harford:
I find that actually I like to skim it. I mean the video you’re referring to is Marcus Harrison’s Wild Food Man

Steve Brill:
Right.

Robin Harford:
And I really like just steaming them, and nibbling on them as though they’re like a corn.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, that’s what I do, but I’ll put on a vegan Hollandaise sauce on top of them. Then the moistness contrasts the dryness, and they’re even better. So here’s the chickweed dip that Violet made. I presume you have plenty of chickweed where you are.

Robin Harford:
Oh yeah. [crosstalk 00:08:00]

Steve Brill:
So she just chopped up garlic and a little bit of a red onion in a food processor. The onion had been soaked in water for a while to make it milder, and then was dried. Eight cloves of garlic, a quarter cup of the red onion. I can send you this recipe to put on your website, if you want.

Robin Harford:
That’d be great.

Steve Brill:
Four cups of chickweed, four cups of yellow corn chips. The whole corn ones you buy in the store. Quarter cup of white miso for some saltiness and creaminess. Two tablespoons of vegan butter substitute or olive oil, two teaspoons of coarse Celtic salt, that gives it a crunchiness that the fine salt doesn’t. A teaspoon of dried carrot seeds. I presume you have Queen Anne’s Lace where you are.

Robin Harford:
Yeah.

Steve Brill:
It would have been named after Queen Anne. A teaspoon of paprika and a half teaspoon of nutmeg. And you just grind that in a food processor and it makes an incredible dip and spread.

Robin Harford:
Wonderful. Well done, Violet. Sounds cool.

Violet Brill:
Yeah.

Robin Harford:
So Violet have you created any of the recipes that are in your dad’s, the big, thick vegetarian cookbook? Is that still available, Steve?

Steve Brill:
Oh, yeah.

Violet Brill:
Yeah, it’s still available. People are buying it, but I didn’t create any of those recipes because it came out in like 2001 and I wasn’t born yet, then.

Robin Harford:
Okay.

Violet Brill:
I’ve made a lot of them. I made most of them that are in there and yeah.

Steve Brill:
Also, we are working on another cookbook and videos that have her-

Violet Brill:
Oh yeah we’re making videos. Like a video cookbook where we’re videotaping the recipes and then we’re going to bake them so I can eat something.

Steve Brill:
And we also have an app with tonnes of recipes and plants, and if you ever have the opportunity and want to contribute plants from the British Isles to the app, then it’ll start to go international.

Robin Harford:
Sure. Well that’s something we can discuss at a later time.

Steve Brill:
Yes. Yes.

Robin Harford:
So where do you see foraging going at the moment? I mean, how is it in America? Is it just beginning to really take off with all the kind of high-end chefs? Has it gone mainstream or is it still quite on the fringes?

Steve Brill:
It’s not completely on the fringes. I mean, they did have a foraging writer in the New York Times for a few years. And she started with me as a schoolkid coming on a class trip. And there are chefs that will use some wild foods. Basically ramps, which is a really delicious native member of the allium, the onion and garlic family. Morels and ostrich fern fiddleheads. I worked with chefs maybe once or twice a year, so some of them are getting into wild foods. The fact that these things are vegan is a turnoff for some of the chefs. They just love the animal products, white flour and sugar, which is not the kind of cuisine that I do. So it’s definitely growing. We had one tour with 100 people.

Violet Brill:
Yeah, I think that it is definitely growing, because we started off with one person on our first tour-

Steve Brill:
It wasn’t my … no, my first tour I had 14 people, but that year, I did have one person on one of my tours.

Violet Brill:
And now we would cancel the tour if only one person signed up, and we normally have from like 15, to once we had 100 people, which was the most we ever had. So I think it’s definitely growing a lot more, and that people are finding out about us, I mean you found out about us, right.

Steve Brill:
Yeah.

Robin Harford:
Well, you wouldn’t know, your dad’s name. I’ve known about your dad … I think we communicated off and on, over ten years, actually, Steve.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, yeah, I think you’re [crosstalk 00:12:27]

Robin Harford:
Because I bought your thick vegan cookbook, and that was, that … because you signed it, I got it from you. That’s got to be nearly ten years ago. Would you say ten years ago?

Steve Brill:
Yeah, yeah. I’m glad you like it. I have four other books and a fifth one coming out on April Fool’s Day. I don’t know why my publisher decided to do that, but that’s what-

Violet Brill:
But it’s definitely coming out on April Fool’s Day. Not kidding.

Robin Harford:
Okay.

Steve Brill:
That tour with 100 people was quite an event. It was at a seashore park called Sunken Meadow Park on Long Island, New York. And it was the only time I ever turned people away. And the tour met near the park administration office, so I told every single person who signed up, please don’t go into the park administration office and announce that we’re doing the foraging tour, because the officials, of course, do have these job boards that will sometimes harass me. So sure enough, someone goes into the administration office and announces, “I’m going on a foraging tour. It’s happening in five minutes right outside.” So, I have 100 people in front of me, I open my mouth and before a word comes out, this big, burly park ranger comes stalking out, plants himself right in front of my face and announces, “I want to buy one of your books.” So I had a book sale, but it took ten years off my life.

Robin Harford:
Excellent. So Violet, what do your friends think? Do they go out foraging with you? Have you managed to encourage them to do that?

Violet Brill:
Well, yeah a lot of my friends do foraging with me. Especially because I’m in seventh grade now, but when I was in elementary school, we did tours for my class every year and everyone loved it and now a lot of my friends also like doing the foraging. We go on tours, especially, with my friend Kaitlin, we go on tours and it’s fun.

Robin Harford:
Excellent. So you’re kind of like a youth ambassador for young foragers.

Violet Brill:
Yep.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, a lot of young people are into the environment.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, so Steve, what’s this book that you’re telling us is going to be coming out, apparently on April Fool’s day.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, that’s called “Foraging in New York,” it’s in the Falcon Guy series of Low Key Quad press, and it’s basically very concise, as the other books in their series. Very precise guide to common, local foods.

Robin Harford:
So what would be, you say, the top ten foods that someone visiting New York is likely to find?

Steve Brill:
There’s probably more than a top ten. The chickweed, the cattail, the fat hen, or lamb’s quarters, field garlic, allium vineale. It’s not a native plant, so it may be in your area, otherwise we certainly have other alliums.

Robin Harford:
Yeah.

Steve Brill:
And burdock, which is from your part of the world. The latest thing I did with burdock was turn it into vegan beef jerky. I steam it for about 20 minutes to soften it a little bit.

Robin Harford:
What are you pulling, the root hair, or the leaves, or the stem?

Steve Brill:
The root. The root. The stem I parboil and peel and prepare like artichoke hearts. Those are quite delicious. And with the root, I slice it thinly, and then I steam it for 20 minutes over vegetable stock. And then I put it in the kind of marinade that is used for beef jerky. So it’s apple cider vinegar, tamari soy sauce, fresh apple juice, cloves … what else goes in there? Garlic that is peeled, but not cut, which makes it much more mild than the cut garlic. And then I bake it and it gets drier and chewier. And when it’s about the level of beef jerky, I stop, and it’s really delicious.

Robin Harford:
That sounds amazing.

Steve Brill:
I serve some of these things on my tours. I also, the way I make chips with the rockweed. Oh, and I never finished telling you, after I make the chips with the rockweed, one of the things I do is mix it with raisins, cashews, and carob chips and it makes a wonderful trail mix. Although, once I took the trail mix with me in the summer and it melted into a goopy mess. So you couldn’t really eat it without getting the melted carob all over everything. So I just left it there, took it home, put it back in the refrigerator, and it solidified, and then I chopped it into pieces and it made rock candy.

Robin Harford:
So, when you go foraging in New York, I’m sure the question gets asked you, is, what about clean plants? Do you have specific guidelines for telling people in urban spaces where they’re likely to find clean-ish plants? As opposed to [crosstalk 00:18:27].

Steve Brill:
Yeah, basically the same thing you tell people, don’t pick near heavy traffic, if the plants all look wilted, they’re spraying stuff there. Stay away from agricultural fields that are sprayed. You know, we have poisonous plants around, too, so that’s another thing. I do warn people about the poisonous one. We have one in Central Park that comes from your part of the world, called poison hemlock, and that one stops your brain from communicating with your heart and lungs.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, it’s an interesting one.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, there’s only one person in America who’s immune to it. [inaudible 00:19:10] thank the sky. Donald Trump. He has no brain and no heart.

Robin Harford:
Right, so what is the future of foraging, do you think, Steve?

Steve Brill:
It’s going to keep getting bigger. What do you think, Violet?

Violet Brill:
I think more people are finding out about it and it’s going to get more popular and more people are going to start foraging and come on our tours to learn about it. And they’ll have lots of ways to learn how to forage.

Steve Brill:
Then I have some questions for you, because we have some of the same plants that you have, that seem to have different properties. It might be from you that I learned that lesser celandine is edible. And I tried it here, and it was acrid. And it’s in the buttercup family, which has plants with acrid poisons in them.

Violet Brill:
But what we do with it, is we put it in with bitter foods. You put the [inaudible 00:20:13] in with bitter foods, and it’ll take away the bitterness.

Steve Brill:
Okay, so when you-

Robin Harford:
Okay, so have you eaten it raw, or are you eating it cooked?

Steve Brill:
No, I-

Violet Brill:
We don’t eat it raw because it kind of has an acrid poison, so we cook it with other bitter greens, and it takes away the bitterness.

Steve Brill:
First I parboil it in lightly salted water for two minutes. The bitterness is totally gone, and then it’s completely bland. So for years, I thought, well this is a survival food, but not something that’s really going to taste good. And then I finally realised, why don’t I try it, to tone down bitter things, like if you cook down garlic mustard, it shrinks and the bitterness concentrates. So I did that, I mixed in the lesser celandine, and it totally took away the bitterness.

Robin Harford:
Okay, because I don’t find it bitter at all, actually. We pick it pre-flower.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, so do we. I think that there’s something called a Founder Effect where when a species comes to another country, all of the plants in that country take on the characteristics of the first individual that made it across the ocean. So it might have been one particularly acrid individual of the lesser celandine that made it here.

Robin Harford:
Wow, are you being serious, the Founder Effect?

Steve Brill:
Yeah, that’s a well-known biological concept for a species that go into new places, they take on the characteristics of that first individual species, rather than the whole population.

Robin Harford:
Wow.

Steve Brill:
And another one, you eat henbit dead nettle, came over here and that is so foul smelling and foul tasting and awful. I tried all kinds of things with it-

Robin Harford:
Yeah, don’t worry, it’s the same over here.

Steve Brill:
Oh, okay.

Robin Harford:
There are some plants that are just like, yeah, okay that is definitely not in the gourmet category. It’s kind of like if you had to. But the thing that I like about priorities, is that we have such a diversity of plants to choose from, but it’s just like, well okay, that one really doesn’t rock my boat, so I’ll just go next, find something else.

Steve Brill:
Do you have any American plants that came over that you like? No pokeweed.

Robin Harford:
No pokeweed. Well, I’ve got a friend in London who grows pokeweed, but it doesn’t grow wild, as far as I know, so I’ve certainly never heard anyone that’s seen it around.

Steve Brill:
That’s an interesting one. It has saved lives, and killed people. It’s a large, weedy plant. It contains phytolaccan, which is a gastric irritant. So, if you just take it and stick it in your mouth, you get severe vomiting and diarrhoea and you die of dehydration.

Robin Harford:
Nice.

Steve Brill:
The poison is water soluble. So, you have two pots of boiling water: a large one and a medium one. You get the shoots. Make sure there’s no root attached, because the root has too much of the poison. And get it in the spring time, and chop up the roots, and boil it for one minute. Throw out the water, pour in more boiling water. Maybe one boiling is enough, but I’m not going to take a chance. Boil it another minute, throw out the water. Put it in a third water and boil it until it’s been boiled for about 15 minutes.

In the deep south, they cook this with fatback, which is pig fat, which is a good idea from a culinary standpoint. You get fat, which greatly enhances the delicious flavour of pokeweed, you get salt, and you get the umami, or savoury flavouring. So, I do an analogue, where, while the pokeweed is boiling, I lightly saute garlic and olive oil. As soon as the garlic starts to turn brown, I remove it from the flame and pour on some tamari soy sauce to stop the garlic from cooking, so it doesn’t burn and get bitter. And then I mix that in with the drained pokeweed, when it’s done, so you have the savoury, the umami, plus the salt and the fat from the olive oil. It is incredibly delicious.

Pokeweed has actually saved people’s lives, because in the 19th century, farmers had no fresh produce, especially out in the frontier, and had no fresh produce all winter, and by springtime when they had to start planting the fields, which wouldn’t produce until summer, they were dying of vitamin A deficiency. So the Native Americans showed them pokeweed and it saved their lives. Same thing with black people who were enslaved in the deep south, given really bad food and would also be deficient in vitamin A. And vitamin A is fat soluble, not water soluble, so it’s not destroyed by boiling.

Robin Harford:
My only question with that one, is if you’re triple boiling it, how much nutrition is actually remains, or are we just going for the flavour and the bit of.

Steve Brill:
No, the vitamin A. The vitamin A, which is the main thing that saved people’s lives. That’s fat soluble, so the boiling doesn’t affect … Yeah, I usually don’t boil plants. I don’t like parboiling. Sometimes it’s necessary, like with a lesser celandine that we have here, and pokeweed. But vitamin A remains if there’s any vitamin K, or other fat soluble vitamins, they will be there. And that is an incredibly wonderful vegetable.

Robin Harford:
So do you dehydrate your foods much?

Steve Brill:
I do have a food dehydrator so I-

Violet Brill:
Yeah, we have … we collect oyster mushrooms, also. And we dehydrate it. We cook some of them, and then we dehydrate the rest of them. And then we can use them again. And we also dehydrate things like the black birch wood and [inaudible 00:26:41]. And it still has its flavour.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, with the black birch, the pudding we make is tapioca pudding with soymilk and to complement the wintergreen flavour of the black birch, we put in freshly grated lemon rind and fresh vanilla bean and raisins. So we simmer that, and then we remove the twigs at the end, and it’s called stick pudding.

Robin Harford:
So Violet, what’s your favourite wild edible?

Violet Brill:
Well, of course there’s the Violet. There’s also wisteria and I like … there’s a plant called wood sorrel. I always like the common plants like black birch, wood sorrel. Wood sorrel, it tastes like lemonade.

Steve Brill:
And shamrock.

Violet Brill:
And I also like plants … just like the common ones. We make chocolate truffles out of the … we put Kentucky coffee seeds in chocolate truffles, so I like the Kentucky Coffee tree. And I like the common ones that you just find everywhere. They’re not extremely important … I mean, they are really important, but they’re not like a big find, like you just found something that you wouldn’t normally find, but they are like little trail nibbles that you can snack on. And-

Steve Brill:
Well, you like the berries.

Violet Brill:
Oh, the berries, things like that. Berries like June berries. They’re so good.

Steve Brill:
Also called service berries.

Violet Brill:
And the, nuts like the black walnut. We store them. We have them in jars in our cabinets and they’re dried and you crack them open with a rock, you eat them and they’re also really good. So, I like those common plants that you find.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, here we have black walnuts, we have butternuts-

Violet Brill:
Hickory nuts.

Steve Brill:
Which are also native in the … both in the [gublance 00:28:44] genus, same as the English walnut.

Violet Brill:
Hickory nuts.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, we have hickory nuts, several species. Once in a while, we get a few beechnuts, but the squirrels get them first.

Violet Brill:
Oh, I found the beechnuts, remember that?

Steve Brill:
Yes, yes. Do you have any success with beechnuts where you are, or do the wildlife get them first?

Robin Harford:
No, the beechnuts are the … easy enough to gather. It’s the hazelnuts that are a problem, or the pubnuts. With beech mast, it’s, yeah … the secret is finding the ones that has the mast within. So again, that goes down to knowing how to gather your beechnuts first. But, actually we had a Victorian gentlemen, years ago, well obviously in Victorian times, who basically put forward that we could pay off the national debt of Britain-

Steve Brill:
I read that.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, that was, again that was a tip from Marcus when he did some research in the British Library, that this guy basically approached the Treasury, and said, look, we got enough beechnuts around that we can harvest them, press the oil and sell the oil, and that will pay off the national debt. Unfortunately, he was of a slightly Jewish disposition, and in Victorian days, bigotry was even more hardcore than it is today, and no one bothered listening to him, which was a bit stupid. [crosstalk 00:30:15]

Steve Brill:
I know there was another Englishman, who tried bringing Black Locust trees over to England, because wood is rot resistant. So, after a few generations of living in the same house, you wouldn’t have the house falling on people’s heads. Are you familiar with that, and did that have any success, and do you use the flowers of the black locust tree?

Robin Harford:
Yeah, I haven’t seen black locust where I am. I’ve seen it in London.

Steve Brill:
Yeah, if ever get a chance, you should definitely get your hands on some of the flowers. I made wine with them, which is delicious and I make all kinds of puddings with them. I bake those into breads. They’re very large, sweet blossoms with a flavour similar to vanilla. One thing I’ve learned is don’t use vanilla in the same recipe, or it becomes overpowering.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, right. Does that actually … if you dry them, does the vanilla, is that going to be coumarins in it?

Steve Brill:
Yeah, it loses a lot when you dehydrate it, so what I tend to do is freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then put them in an airtight container in the freezer. And that works quite well, and I don’t know if you can hear, Violet’s parakeet Wisteria, but the Wisteria vine also has delicious flowers. That was brought over from East Asia to America by a man by the name of Wister, and therefore it’s called Wisteria. Those are purple blossoms that taste sweet and perfumed. They were grown as an ornamental and they spread. They have this really big, thick woody vine that can get like a foot or two across. Do you have that where you are?

Robin Harford:
Yeah, no, wisteria is one of my favourite edible flowers and I absolutely love it. I make a wisteria flower vinegar, which is just heaven.

Steve Brill:
What do you do? Just soak the vinegar with the wisteria blossoms?

Robin Harford:
I get Japanese rice wine vinegar, but the clear one. And I just literally, will get a load of the blossoms, and pop them in a jar, and pour the rice wine vinegar over it and just let it sit. And the colour that comes out … I mean within 24 hours, it’s gone this beautiful hot pink colour, and the smell’s extraordinary. So it’s definitely one worth trying. And I love … I really like simple foods, so I might just steam some vegetables and just drizzle some of that over with some oil. It’s just extraordinary.

Steve Brill:
I will definitely do that and I will put that in my app, and of course I’ll give you credit for that one. Never thought of that, and Violet’s parakeet, Violet’s budgie, Wisteria, can supervise me while I’m doing a recipe.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, well anything that you would like to say before we part company on this digital airwaves?

Steve Brill:
Oh, I guess I want people to go out and forage responsibly and safely and bring kids with them. We both do a lot of work with kids of all ages, and if we’re going to have a planet that we can live on in the future, we need a lot more environmental awareness. That is disappearing from schools around here, where standardised tests are the goal of education. There’s very, very little outdoor education. Violet could do tours for the teachers of her school and teach them about the local nature preserve right next to the school that’s totally ignored, but they’re too busy with testing. That’s why Violet’s here. We opted out of the awful standardised state test, and she doesn’t have to go to school until, for another hour and 15 minutes.

Violet Brill:
And I think that people should just … and we want people to know to take care of the environment around them, and we’re like people be aware of this and by letting people be aware of this, they’re helping even more and especially now, I think that the environment really needs help and that people should just be aware of it so they can take care of the environment. And also, Earth Day is coming up and we’re doing an event for Earth Day, as well.

Steve Brill:
Okay, and the last thing we have to say is-

Violet Brill:
Things we have to say-

Steve Brill:
This is our instrument called the brill-o-phone that I inherited from my dad, and it is …
That’s all folks.

Violet Brill:
That’s all folks.

Steve Brill:
Thank you very much. This is a great pleasure. I’ve been looking forward to this for a really long time. I’m very happy we got to do this.

Robin Harford:
Yeah, great. Thank you very much Violet and Steve, and Steve and Violet. And any of Steve’s resources can be found underneath this podcast on the eatweeds.co.uk website.

Steve Brill:
Okay, guys.

Violet Brill:
Okay, thank you.

Robin Harford:
Thank you very much.

6 thoughts on “EP17: Busted By The Cops For Picking A Dandelion

  1. It’s a shame about the Trump comment. Stopped reading at that point.
    In the 1930’s, dentist Weston A. Price wrote a book called ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ about the vital importance of traditional foods, the proper use of which create handsome faces with wide dental arches.

  2. Since when is it a damn crime to pick a dandelion?? Shit if it’s a crime to pick a dandelion in new York city. Then it should be a crime to spray poison chemicals on weed’s. Because u could be killing the animals,that eats dandelions.. and since when is it a crime to pick a dandelion plant that is a healing herb??? It’s funny how we can spray poison chemicals on a plant that is a healing herb.. Google dandelions and see if it doesn’t say that it’s a healing plant.

  3. Good to see that you have signs of spring too. Green shoots brill. It makes us all feel better when the sun comes out. Have a great week Jean.

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