The New York Botanical Garden Creates an Edible Eden

This summer the Bronx garden favors flora that prefer the soup pot to the flowerpot.

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Move over, marigolds. This summer the New York Botanical Garden favors flora that prefer the soup pot to the flowerpot: The Edible Garden (which isn’t sponsored by this magazine, though we wouldn’t mind the association) is a mouthwatering, summer-long experience that spans the gorgeous, 250-acre grounds.

Until Sept. 13, the esteemed institution known best for its astonishing azaleas and plethora of peonies gives pride of place to those plants on which we feast more than our eyes: 10 food- and farm-centered exhibits celebrate the fruits of the earth, complete with an herb garden designed by Martha Stewart, tours of trees that sustained the Lenape and an audio tour narrated by Mario Batali and Bette Midler with bites from Dan Barber.

Whether you’re a homegrown novice or a seasoned seed saver, workshops show how to grow while demos in the Conservatory Kitchen turn the landscape into lunch. And Thursday nights Jul. 9 through Aug. 20, culinary stars hold forth on soil-based subjects: mixologist Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club on botanical quaffs, Food Network’s Anne Burrell on gardeney grilling, and Gourmet’s Sara Moulton on berry desserts. The whole shebang concludes with a flowering festival the weekend of Sept. 12: demonstrations, tours, tastings and a roster of A-list chefs like Lidia Bastianich, Marco Canora and Bill Telepan.

And while we’re quite eager to view the various vegetables and explore how flowers become fruits, these exhibits are hardly limited to garden varieties: The Breakfast Bowl will display corn, barley, oats, rice and wheat while a tropical exhibit features live specimens of coffee, coconut, cinnamon and tamarind.

Photo courtesy of Jupiter Images. 

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.