Look To The Parks For NYC Local Cuisine

by AMANDA MELILLO · June 11, 2008

     So apparently there is a tomato scare across the country right now, and the city is flipping out even more than America at large, as they are deprived of the T in BLTs, and one of the key ingredients in guacamole. The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes brings us a rare form of salmonella, which didn't prevent me from buying roma tomatoes at D'Agostino's yesterday, though it did prevent me from chancing Chipotle's corn salsa. (If I contract salmonella, I'll let you know.) But it has sparked attention in a home gardening trend!

    Both The New York Times and The New York Post have run stories about how people are growing their own tomatoes and herbs as part of the growing organic locavore, even in their own apartments. The benefits are that it cuts down on grocery costs, produce that you grow yourself tastes better, and now, you may be safe from salmonella if you just gotta have a tomato.

    I did briefly consider trying to have a basil plant and growing tomatoes, until I remembered that I almost immediately kill anything I bring into my living space, and therefore stopped buying plants after my first semester in college. But if you are interested in growing your own tomatoes, (and trust me, they do taste 1,000 times better) the person to hit up is Trina Pilonero in the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesdays and Saturdays. She sells heirloom seedlings so that you can grow tomatoes in containers, much more convenient to apartment living.

    But my favorite was The New York Post's article today about classes that you can take to find edible weeds in city parks, and all the gastronomes are doing it! Impress your foodie friends by taking them to Prospect Park and making them a hand-picked weed salad. I mean, it is kind of cool if you're stranded alone in a forest and know what to eat and what to avoid, I would just love to see people foraging for greens in Central Park. If you have seen this happen, I would love to hear your story. Or the picture you took with your cell phone.