Hunt and Gathering
There’s a natural haven up in Germantown where you can birdwatch, learn to identify native trees and hunt for edible plants. The Awbury Arboretum is a hub for outdoor exploration, and it’s free and open to the public year-round.
In the summer, Awbury offers cooking classes for teens, field studies for preschoolers, and adventure camps that teach kids survival skills like fire-making and foraging (“Camp Katniss” is already sold out this year), to name a few.
To support programs like these, the Awbury Arboretum hosts an annual benefit dinner in collaboration with the Wild Foodies of Philly (a foraging club) and Jeffrey A. Miller Catering.
Benefit attendees take a foraging tour of the arboretum with Lynn Landes of Wild Foodies. The edible plants gathered, like dandelion greens, mugwort, and wild bay leaves are incorporated into a multicourse dinner prepared by Jeffrey Miller’s team.
“It’s challenging to plan a dinner not knowing what you’re going to find,” Miller says, “You’re hunting and gathering what you’re going to eat.” But Miller puts together pretty spectacular dishes on the fly. Sassafras gnocchi, line-caught cod with garlic-mustard pesto, and birch sorbet were on the menu last year.
The forage-your-dinner concept has quickly drawn interest—in its third year, the event is already the Awbury Arboretum’s second largest fundraiser.
“I have never seen anything attract people as quickly and enthusiastically,” Landes says. It’s a hobby rooted in self-sufficiency, something the Awbury Arboretum works hard to promote.
Walking tour and dinner, August 10, 6–9pm. Tickets are available at awbury.org. —K. Rapin
One Awbury Rd.