September in Newfoundland is the best time to pick the wild blueberries growing along the cliffs and hillsides.
Newfoundlanders do everything imaginable with blueberries. Blueberry pies, blueberry muffins, blueberry tarts, chocolate cover blueberries, blueberry cocktails, blueberry wine, blueberry jam and blueberry coulis. One person told me that they had used blueberry juice to dye
scarves blue, a fun and joyously messy activity their children will not soon forget.
Visitors are amazed by how packed with flavour Newfoundland blueberries are. We may be limited with regards to what can be grown here, but this Newfoundland does well! In a world where pesticides and growth agents are used to produce most the worlds fruits and vegetables, it is comforting to know that certain things can still grow plentifully without our “help” or interference.
Guests renting out our vacation homes constantly ask where they can buy some local blueberries to put on their breakfast cereal or bake a couple treats. When they find out that all they have to do is take an empty bucket and walk up Gun Hill at the base of Trinity, just minutes from their front steps, they are gone in an instant. Many of our guests, including some professional chefs, have insisted on coming to Trinity in the fall as opposed to summer for this very reason.
It might seem extreme to think that someone would travel so far just to pick berries, but celebrated Canadian chef Michael Smith once said:
“Breaking bread with family and friends is universal. Gathering, preparing and sharing food represents the very essence of what it is to be human.”
Perhaps that is why our chefs look so pleased with themselves when they come into work with litres of berries picked from their very own gardens. They get to work with an ingredient that is reflective of their land, their history and their livelihood, and can share that through the food they prepare for people coming from all over the world.
Many believe that culinary tourism is so popular these days, because people are missing this key element in their day to day lives. To the surprise of many, they are finding it right here in outport Newfoundland on picturesque hillsides with empty, soon to be full, pails.