Black Duck Cove has a Hidden Gem

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Traveling the Great Northern Peninsula on Route 430 (Viking Trail Highway) en route to L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site or to Quebec or Labrador via the Strait of Belle Isle Ferry crossing, Black Duck Cove presents the perfect stopping point.

The Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park provides a picnic area, play ground, viewing binoculars, open air museum of Newfoundland vernacular architecture. walking trails, bbq area, miniature golf and basketball courts. It’s a great rest stop to enjoy life by the sea.

The concept of an open air museum is not new, as I’ve visited many on my European travels. I’m impressed that this economic development project is a step back in time of what the small outport community living looked like – from the one room school, church, wharf, hall to homes. These handmade buildings replicate our rural life and are wonderful to view and take a snap or two. This concept could be taken a step further and explain the building process, tell the stories of who owned these homes and the pioneers that built and shaped the community.

This area needs better directional signage to guide you to this almost hidden space. It’s almost a locals know kinda of gem. Since location is less than ideal, this fantastic space needs to be further promoted and expanded upon.

As you take the paved road and drive pass the Black Duck Cove wharf and shrimp plant, you will encounter lobster traps neatly piled, fishing gear and boats sitting on the grass. Our history, our heritage, our culture and life from the sea is well on display – both past and present at Black Duck Cove Seashore Day Park.

It is an experience in itself.

Live Rural NL,

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

An Abundance of Fish n’ Brewis

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Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine has long roots in our history, as the meal of fish and brewis (pronounced “brews”) has been a traditional favourite since sailors came from Europe in the late 1400 and 1500’s.

Fish and Brewis consists of codfish and hard bread or hard tack. Sailors and fishers would spend months on board schooners and the salt cod and hard bread would last the journey. With the abundance of cod around the outports of Newfoundland and Labrador this meal became a staple at many homes. Our Purity Factories has been producing hard bread for nearly one hundred years!

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The basic recipe will have the hard bread broken into bite-size pieces and soaked in water overnight. Next day the fish and hard bread are boiled separately until tender then both are served together.

The traditional meal is served with “scrunchions” or salted pork fat which has been cut into small pieces and fried. Both the rendered fat and the liquid fat are then drizzled over the fish and hard bread.

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Here is a recipe for four servings:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cakes Purity hard bread
  • 1 lb salt cod
  • 6 slices salt pork (3” x ¼ “ thick)

In two separate bowls, soak salt fish and hard bread in cold water for approx 6-8 hours or overnight. In the morning drain and replace both with cold water.

Bring salt fish to a slow boil and let simmer for approx 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish – set-aside.

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Bring to a slow boil and simmer for approx 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Squeeze out excess water from the hard bread and mix in flaked fish.

In a frying pan, low heat, fry salt pork until all fat is extracted and cook until golden brown. Spoon fat over fish and brewis. Garnish with scrunchions (rendered salt pork).

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I enjoy this traditional meal best with a cup of steeped Tetley tea and fresh homemade bread with old-fashioned Crosby molasses. Truly authentic Newfoundland and Labrador cuisine.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Heritage, Wildlife & Coastal Scenery at New Ferolle, Shoal Cove West & Reef’s Harbour

On a recent visit to New Ferolle, Shoal Cove West & Reef’s Harbour it was clear that this region offers Heritage, Wildlife & Coast Scenery. From the caribou to wood piles to water, we were surrounded by images of what makes rural Newfoundland & Labrador that authentic place we call home.
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New Ferolle is just 11 kilometers from Reef’s Harbour junction, on Route 430. The area uniquely separates St. Margaret’s Bay from St. John Bay with a tremendous view of the Long Range Mountains.

The residents that live in these three communities enjoy these sights on a near daily basis. Visitors to the region can also enjoy the fishing activity, walking trails, vernacular architecture and the New Ferolle lighthouse, built in 1912. The lighthouse was operated by the Beaudoin family of New Ferolle for three generations, until the lighthouse became automated in June 1992.

The Community of Reef’s Harbour has an economic engine that is sitting idle. This fish plant presents an opportunity to create jobs, produce high-value locally sourced seafood and stimulate the local economy. Why are we letting great assets with excellent wharfing infrastructure sit idle?

The fishery is the mainstay of these communities, as is the case for most on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

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The lobster traps, boats, fishing gear, personal stages, wharves and access to the bay are clear highlights of a hub of activity that exists from early May and into summer. I managed to capture a growler or small iceberg in this photo as well.

Our small rural fishing communities are beautiful and full of value and untapped potential. I encourage you on your trek up the Great Northern Peninsula to experience it for yourself.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Iceberg Festival kicks off with a “rumble and a roar”

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The 7th Annual Iceberg Festival kicked off its 7th season this year to a room filled with energy and excitement as the icebergs surrounded the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Lavinia Crisby was the emcee and set the stage for laughter, fun and engagement with her ability to connect with people over the course of the event. I had the opportunity to speak with those travelling from Germany, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Florida and other parts of world as they gathered to celebrate the pristine beauty of the iceberg – which has been 10,000 years in the making.

The local Tim Horton’s in St. Anthony produces exclusively the World’s only “Iceberg” donut. The region is known for its iceberg water, iceberg ice and the Richard’s family of St. Carol’s who has been famously coined the Iceberg Hunters with their own series played on the USA Weather Network.

Local crab from St. Anthony seafoods was cooked and given away to sample – this was absolutely the freshest means to get such a product already cooked for those visiting, from local fisher to local processor to consumer. Many local restaurants sell local fish products, including our locally grown mussels.

One could watch sculptor Shawn Rumbolt carve an image from an iceberg with a chainsaw. Learn to paint an iceberg with artist George Bussey on a rock and have a souvenir to takeaway and of course enjoy the traditional music of Calvin Blake, Adam Randell and Brandon White this year known as “The Growlers”. Many were on hand to try to name some noise using the Newfoundland ugly stick, share in a scuff or two across the floor and join in singing a known song.

We were treated to Calvin Blake’s Iceberg song once more and like his words a rumble and a roar – the opening was just that, clearly a must attend event. There are still several days before the Iceberg Festival this year ends, but its never too early to begin planning for June 2016! Visit: www.theicebergfestival.ca for more information. A special thank you to all involved, especially the organizing committee for making it all possible.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Rumbolt Sculpts Image from Iceberg with Chainsaw at Festival Opening!

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It all started with a block of iceberg ice propped up on pallets outside the St. Anthony Lion’s Club. This 10,000 year old iceberg ice would become transformed during the Iceberg Festival Official Opening by local carver Shawn Rumbolt.

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Spectators were guessing as bergy bits were being chipped away, would this be a polar bear or some image related to the Grenfell Legacy. It was an experience for those who travelled from Germany, Manitoba, Florida, Alberta, Nova Scotia to see the ice being carved right before their very eyes. As a local, I was indeed impressed by the work of Shawn Rumbolt, assisted by last years sculptor artist Randy Cull (owner of the Great Viking Feast and the Lightkeeper’s Cafe on Fishing Point).

It can’t be easy to get such precision with a chainsaw, but Rumbolt made the process look easy. It is not something you should try at home, leave this to those who are experienced. I would recommend that you make plans for next year’s Iceberg Festival to experience this unique art form found exclusively on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

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It became clear that the sculpture was that of an Aboriginal. This connects closely with the tradition and cultural aspects of the Grenfell Mission and his service to all people of the North.

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The Great Northern Peninsula clearly has residents with exceptional talent and skill. Their willingness to showcase this for others to enjoy is part of who we are as a society. Thank you Shawn Rumbolt for your art! This carving in ice is just one of the many aspects of the Official Opening of Iceberg Festival. There is still so much more to see and experience. Visit: www.theicebergfestival.ca  for schedule of events and more information.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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