Partridge Berry Picking….A Family Affair

Lingonberry or Patridgeberry

It is that time of year again, when a lot of rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians gear up with jugs, buckets and other containers to the barren fields in search of the red ruby berries, known to us as the “partridge-berry” and internationally as the “Lingonberry”.

The following information has been taken directly from the Dark Tickle Company’s, St. Lunaire-Griquet, NL website. Partridge berry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Internationally known as the lingonberry this relative of the cranberry family is a low mat forming evergreen shrub with tiny rounded leaves. These berries grow in the dry, acidic soils of Newfoundland and Labrador’s barrens and coastal headlands. Their twin flowers have a pinkish hue in bud then turn white as they bloom in mid-June to mid-July. The fusing of the two flower ovaries gives rise to a single dark red berry ripening through September’s frost. Tart in flavour they are high in vitamin C, tannin, anthocyanin, and antioxidants. These agents are attributed to the prevention of high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, slowing such aging processes as memory loss and the deterioration of motor skill, improving circulation, as well as the prevention of certain forms of cancer.

Well, we have experienced the first September’s frost this past Saturday on the Northern Peninsula making it the opportune time to get your berries. I remember picking with my family near the barrens near the St. Anthony airport. There would be patches of red, where you could pick to your heart’s delight. I’m not the biggest fan of this berry, it is a little tart for my taste. I prefer the bakeapple (cloudberry), however this was a fun activity for the whole family to participate and enjoy.

Partridge berry’s are loved by many people. The berries find themselves in many jams, jellies, fillings of pies, side dishes or garnishes. However, there is an opportunity to diversify these agri-food products and add greater value. The Dark Tickle Company has done an exceptional job of creating chocolates and teas using these berry products.

Rodriguez Winery in the province produces many speciality wines and liqueurs from fruit and berry products. Check them out at: http://www.rodrigueswinery.com.

While visiting the Norsemen Restaurant & Gaia Art Gallery, L’Anse Aux Meadows (http://www.valhalla-lodge.com/restaurant.htm) I had the opportunity to sample a drink called the “Partridgrini”. I don’t know the recipe, but did find one from “Occasions Magazine”, which is distributed by the Newfoundland & Labrador Liquor Corporation.

PARTRIDGE & APPLE MARTINI

  • 1/2 ounce of partridge berries
  • 1 oz Pulukka lingonberry Lapponia
  • 1 oz Phillips Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps
  • 3 oz apple juice
  • Apple wedges

Preparation:

  1. Drop the partridge berries in the bottom of the martini glass
  2. Shake apple juice, schnapps and lingonberry lapponia with ice and strain over berries using cocktail shaker
  3. Garnish with partridge berries and apple wedges

Opportunities exist to diversify as consumer tastes broadened in rural communities to appeal to both locals and tourists. We are not limited to local markets, as exporting is readily available. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a special place in our hearts for Grandma’s Partridge berry pie or Mom’s jam. However, we can be creative and find additional uses for this renewable natural resource that grows in abundance on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Enjoy your experience with the Partidge-tini!

Live Rural NL – CCM

About Live Rural NL

I am a youth living in rural Newfoundland & Labrador that will share stories of culture, tradition, heritage, business, travel, geography and other posts relating to any rural. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce Hons. (Coop) degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador. I currently live and work on the Great Northern Peninsula, where I was born and raised. However, I have lived and worked internationally and travelled to more than 30 countries around the globe. On October 11, 2011 I was elected the youngest Member to Represent the people of the Straits -White Bay North in the Provincial Legislature of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Posted on September 16, 2010, in Cuisine, Landscapes/Geography, Tradition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. I would like know how get some partridge berry ship to toronto…

  2. joy quinton johnson

    I REMEMBER IT WELL . EVERY YEAR THIS TIME WE WOULD GO ON THE HILLS AND PICK THE BERRIES FOR OUR MOTHER TO MAKE JAM FOR THE WINTER. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN . WE WOULD PACK OUR LUNCH AND GO FOR THE DAY . HOPING FOR WIND BECAUSE OF THE FLYS . AND EVEN TO THIS DAY I STILL GO. I JUST LOVE IT .I AM NOW 67 YRS YOUNG AND I WILL GO AS LONG AS GOD GIVES ME STRENGTH TO DO SO .

    • Hi Joy! Thank you for adding this comment. It adds to the real experience. One would definitely be wishing for wind to keep the horrid flies away. I am happy to hear that you are keeping the tradition alive!

  3. Would love to pick our own because we live in Indian Arm Pond, near Lewisporte, on the T’railway. Would like to know where to go for a bit of an outing here. We can’t get up north to get some. I have a huge family in Ottawa who love to get some of my jam for Christmas. Joan

    • Hi Joan – I am not sure where a good berry patch would be near Lewisporte. Residents up my way flock to the St Anthony airport area, as a past forest fire created an abundance of land for patridge berry picking. Good luck!

  4. janet sparks. scroll up r4 my message

    my e mail address is; oulsam.luo@hotmail.com i am a native of nl now living in ontario. I would dearly love to be able to buy some berries. do you sell them.? janet

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  25. Are there worms in partridge berries? Does the first frost drive out the worms?

  26. We still pick about 6 gallons for the winter. Love the partridgeberry jam and tarts. we also pick bakeapples. Live off the land, sea and air.

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