It was figs that got me into urban foraging.
I was an adult before I ever tasted a fresh fig. I didn’t think I liked them before then because the only figs that I had ever tried were in the gross brown centres of Fig Newton cookies. My first actual fresh fig was given to me in Argentina, and it quickly became my favourite fruit.
I assumed that figs were from Argentina, never having come across them fresh anywhere else before then, so I was doubly wowed when I happened across figs growing in the neighbourhood park near my house in Vancouver. My roommate and I hauled our kitchen chairs to the park and harvested a giant bowl of fruit that lasted us a good few days of munching.
Finding figs in the park kicked off my interest in ‘urban edibles’. It also kicked off my roommate’s interest and success at dumpster diving. In the evening she would wait behind the bread place on Granville Island for that day’s bread to be thrown out. From time to time, she would return home with garbage bags full of a variety of gourmet breads to share which we would then slice and freeze.
I’ve recently discovered fallingfruit.org, a crowd source interactive map for urban foragers. It shows the location fruit trees, nut trees, and many other freely pick-able edibles. Its creators have made use of open data, so the map for the City of Vancouver is pretty rich. I’ve now got my eye on a walnut and hazelnut tree for this fall!
I could spend hours exploring the city through this map!
FallenFruit.org also interestingly has a dumpster diving map which would please my old roommate!