Food Forests

The Emerson Street and McClanahan Food Forests are open year-round for community members to harvest seasonally available fruits and greens!

These pesticide free, planned gardens incorporates a variety of shrubs, herbs, perennial berries, and fruit and nut trees safe for human consumption. Anyone is welcome to visit and harvest! 

Emerson Street Food Forest: 4515 Emerson Street
McClanahan Food Forest: Intersection of Oliver Street & Jamestown Road

Some items are only available at the Emerson Street Food Forest. Please check the listings below before visiting.

Please be respectful of the plantings and your fellow community members when visiting. Follow guidance below to know when the produce is ripe. Bring your own kitchen scissors and a basket! Wash all produce at home before eating.

Children and pets are welcome but please avoid walking through the planted beds. Dog waste stations are provided; please pick up after your pets.

On-street parking is available but limited in both locations. We encourage walking or biking if possible.

Pick Your Own!

View and print the Food Forest Map for locations of harvestable items.

Note that all harvest timelines are estimates and can change based on weather conditions.

  1. Priyanka Joshi

    Deputy Director, Environmental Operations

  2. Dawn Taft

    Environmental Programs Manager, City Arborist

  3. Colin Morrison

    Environmental Coordinator

  1. Available for Harvest: July - September
  2. Coming Soon!

Harvest dates for the items below are estimates. Picking is first-come, first-served. The City cannot guarantee availability.

  • Sea Kale: Mature green leaves can be clipped and eaten raw, steamed, braised, or baked into dishes. The flowers are also edible! (anticipated April - November harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Sorrel: Pick bright green leaves that are about 4 inches long. This herb adds a lemony flavor to salads, soups, sandwiches, and sauces. (anticipated April - November harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Anise Hyssop: The leaves of these purple-flowering plants can be used to make a licorice flavored tea, and the seeds can be used to add a licorice flavor to baked goods. (anticipated June - November harvest. Emerson only)
  • Black RaspberryPick berries when they turn black/burgundy. Berries are soft and more sweet than tart. Watch for thorns! (anticipated June - July harvest. Emerson only)
  • Blueberries: Pick fully blue berries that pull easily from the plant. Eat whole, mix into smoothies, or turn into jams! (anticipated June - July harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Currants (Clove and Cherry Red): Pick clusters of firm, well colored berries. Berries are tart and make delicious jams and pies. (anticipated June - July harvest. Emerson only)
  • Bush Cherry: Cherries are ripe when they are bright red and slightly soft to the touch. Watch out for pits when eating! (anticipated June-July harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • New Jersey Tea: Pick leaves from these low, white-flowered shrubs to dry and use as a caffeine-free tea. (anticipated June - July harvest. McClanahan only)
  • Serviceberry: Dark purple-red berries have a blueberry-like flavor. (anticipated June-July harvest. Emerson only)
  • Thornless Blackberry: Pick dark purple berries to enjoy on their own or used in jams, desserts, breads, ice cream, and more! (anticipated July - August harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Jostaberry: Pick tangy & sweet purplish-black berries to use in baked goods or jams. (anticipated July - August harvest. Emerson only)
  • Beach Plum: Pick when fruits are dark purple and slightly soft to the touch. Plums are sweet and tart. Mind the pit! (anticipated August harvest. Emerson only)
  • Black Chokeberry: Harvest clusters of shiny black berries. The fruits are very tart and are best used to make jams and syrups, or baked into breads, cakes, and pies. (anticipated August harvest. Emerson only)
  • PawPaw: Pick fruits when they are soft to the touch. Though native to the Eastern U.S., these tree fruits have a tropical flavor, like a cross between a mango and banana! (anticipated August - September harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Pear: Pick fruits when they pull easily from the tree. Fruit that is still hard to the touch will soften if left on your counter. (anticipated August - September harvest. Emerson only)
  • Elderberry: Harvest clusters of berries when they turn black and soft to the touch. Berries very tart and best used to make jams and syrups, or baked into breads, cakes, and pies. Elderberry syrup is high in protective antioxidants! (anticipated August - September harvest. Emerson only)
  • ApplesPick when they turn rosy-red. Eat them whole or bake them into pies! (anticipated August - October harvest. Emerson only) 
  • Kiwis: There are three varieties of kiwis in the Food Forests, the slender Anna Hardy, pale green Issai, and familiar Fuzzy! (anticipated September harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Persimmon: Pick these sweet, honey-like fruits when the fruit is hard but fully colored. Let ripen at room temperature in a cool, dry area until they are soft. (anticipated September-October harvest. Emerson only)
  • Turkey Figs: Pick figs that are turning purple to brown in color and feel slightly soft to the touch. (anticipated September-October harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Hazelnuts: Nuts turn light brown when ripe and are covered in a shaggy yellow casing (the flower). Eat raw, roasted, or grind into a gluten free flour! (anticipated September-October harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Pomegranate: Pick fruits when they turn bright red. Cut in halves or quarters and hit the rind with the back of a wooden spoon to release the tart, edible seeds. Enjoy raw or in salads or baked goods! (anticipated September - October harvest. Emerson & McClanahan)
  • Pecan: Nuts fall from the trees when ripe! Look for pale brown striped shells. Crack open the shell to enjoy the nut meat inside. Tastes great when toasted! (anticipated late September - November harvest. Emerson only)
  • Yaupon Holly: Harvest young, green leaves and dry them to make a naturally caffeinated tea, high in antioxidants and low in tannins so it's never bitter. Please note berries are poisonous and should not be eaten! (harvest year-round. Emerson & McClanahan)

Updated July 2023

Help Sustain the Food Forests!

Residents interested in supporting the sustainability and development of the Food Forests should e-mail

Emerson Street Food Forest
McClanahan Arbor Day Planting April 2022