If you grew up in Rural NL part of the experience is tasting many of the locally grown berries, such as the partridgeberry (lingonberry), squashberry, gooseberry, and most of all for me the beloved bakeapple (cloudberry). I have fond memories of picking these berries on the marshes and barrens not too far from my home. I would have a small jug as a boy and my parents larger ones. My father would always have three or four times the amount I would pick. I look forward to when the bakeapples ripen again, sometime later this month to early August so I can start picking. The reward is fresh jam, pies, squares and toppings for icecream and cheesecake.
Yesterday, I had supper (supper is the evening meal) with my grandmother. We talked about bakeapples as she poured a heaping amount of freshly made fluffy “doughboys” (or dumplings), which we were about to eat with garden vegetables and salt meat. I love eating with my grandmother, she makes the best traditional foods, it may be her years of experience and knowledge not to follow every direction and still have it turned out as sweet and flavourful as the person she is today. A meal spurs lots of conversations as we discussed staples of yesteryear, gathering and harvesting from the land and how one learns to make bread, doughboys, jams and the like.
While on vacation on June 28, 2010 I decided to stop at The Dark Tickle Company, in very scenic St. Lunaire-Griquet and enroute to L’Anse au Meadows, National Historic and World UNESCO Heritage site. This is an economusuem.
® is a craft or agri-foods business whose products are the fruit of an authentic technique or know-how. The business showcases artisans and craft trades by offering an area for interpreting its production and by opening its doors to the public.
ECONOMUSEUM®, which are self-financed through the sale of their products, make an innovative contribution to the cultural tourism sector. (Source: http://www.economusees.com/iens_en.cfm)
The owners, Steve and Gwen Knudsen have done a remarkable job of establishing a true working economuseum. As you enter the facility you can view a worker preparing product behind the glass, they also have a tasting station, various interpretative panels, inviting NL music and their Granchain Exhibit, which is the winner of the Manning Award, as well as a large gift shop with a variety of their products and other artists. These entrepreneurs have taken making preserves to a new level as they have greatly expanded and developed their products to include non-traditional items residents would not typically make from berries, these include teas, vinegars, sauces, syrups and chocolates. You can visit an incredible website to see for yourself and even order their products on-line. Check out: http://www.darktickle.com/. I was quite pleased with the cup of bakeapple tea and the blueberry infused NL Screech chocolates I purchased.
Tradition can be retained, but it can also evolve with the right mindset. Steve, Gwen and their family are part of that process. My hat goes off to people like these, that take simple ideas and turn them into something so wonderfully pleasant to enjoy. Their power of ingenuity and innovation has truly made me proud to say this business exists in Rural NL.
We need more people like Steve and Gwen, that will take a simple concept and create an experience. We have a rich culture and heritage that is unique and should be shared with others in today’s global world.
Live Rural NL…
We Will Grow and Prosper.