The Naturalist, Laura Silverman, Founder of The Outside Institute

By Molly Marquand / Photography By Bettina Lewin | May 15, 2017
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Founder of The Outside Institute, Laura Silverman, foraging in Sullivan County.
Silverman forages for various edibles, exploring the luscious area around her home in Sullivan County.

Enter the home of writer, forager and cook Laura Silverman and you will not leave feeling unnourished, unnoticed or, frankly, unloved. Laura’s cottage feels lavish: animal pelts draped on gorgeous furniture, boldly patterned rugs adorning dark painted floors. But the decorations contrast the lively way Laura speaks about anything, or whips up a quick, delicious lunch. Everywhere her love for life is evident, and nowhere more so than for the nature that surrounds her home and inspires her cooking. Outside, flocks of birds descend on Laura’s feeder—she knows each one by name. A yellow-twig dogwood reaches up to the sky and Laura tells of the day it came home, just a potbound sprout. Skulls—doe, stag, skunk—line her fireplace and kaleidoscopic feathers hang on her wall. It’s this love that brought Laura to Sullivan County, where she spends days seeking out elderflower, or fishing for watercress in cold creeks. It’s this love that’s brewed into her bitters, made from wild-foraged roots, and stirred into her (carefully) hand-picked-nettle soup. To eat with Laura is to not just lap up all the best, most delicious parts of nature—but to bask in the passion she has for it, too.

Laura Silverman | The Outside Institute 

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