Hungry Summer

A Visit to The New York Botanical Garden's Edible Garden Exhibition

A peek inside Martha Stewart"s Culinary Herb Garden exhibit.
© marthastewart.com

One of the best things about summer in New England is pulling over while on a road trip or resting during a hike to take advantage of our area's wild raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Edible landscapes are an excellent reason for anyone to become an environmentalist, and this year particularly food has been at the front of environmentalists" minds. Taking to heart the slogan of "Grow Your Own Food," slow food, local food and organic food movements have sprung up all over the country.

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx, New York, has created an exhibit called The Edible Garden. The Edible Garden's mission is to get the public: "Through delectable exhibitions and mouth-watering programs, (to) be inspired to grow, prepare, and eat garden-fresh produce, and understand how plants provide the food and drink essential to maintaining life and enhancing wellness."

Scattered throughout the garden there are seven stops, including a Vegetables and Kids Garden, an heirloom vegetable garden, tropical foods in the greenhouse, Martha Stewart's Culinary Herb Garden, the Good Food Garden and a Beginner's Vegetable Garden.

NYBG is easily accessible from New York City by Metro-North, and as soon as you get off the train you are transported to a magically green world in the Bronx. Your tour through the vegetable garden is guided by a map highlighting the seven stops. Each stop has complete explanations and even a way to hear about specific plants by using your cell phone.

One of the Edible Garden exhibits features heirloom vegetables.
© homevegetablegardening.net

Stop by the greenhouse to see tropical fruits and foods such as a cacao tree, lychee, pomelo, cassava, sugar cane, rice and even an ice cream bean! Outside in Martha Stewart's herb garden take a deep breath and you can smell culinary culture from Italy to Latin America. Cilantro, basil, lavender, mint and rosemary are grown here. In the children's garden, activities run all day—you may plant a bean or create a pollinator puppet while learning how we get our food to grow.

In the Home Gardening Center there is a chance to learn everything you wanted to know about creating your own vegetable garden. Walk through the Seed Savers Heirloom Vegetable Garden, get a look at the different stages of composting and find out about economical edibles.

The exhibit runs June 27-September 13, featuring all kinds of activities, including Edible Evenings on Thursday nights July 9-August 20, and Cooking Demonstrations at the Conservatory Kitchen on Saturdays at 1pm and 3pm. There is also a Greenmarket on Wednesdays and Saturdays through November 14 featuring local produce, meat, cheese and baked goods.

If you've ever had an inclination to learn more about where your food comes from without having to read the latest environmental bestseller, this is the place for you. And who wouldn't want to spend a summer day traipsing through tomato plants, grapes and mint leaves or cap the night off with an exotic botanical beverage?

CONTACT: The New York Botanical Garden, 718 817 8700