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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

New Opportunities for Northern Peninsula, Labrador & the World….Sept. 8,2010

Canadian Geographic Magazine ran a feature on the Northern Peninsula in its October 2009 issue under the headline, “Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is a region of depleting human and natural resources. Just the sort of place for a fisherman to be reborn as Bjorn the Beautiful.” (For the article visit: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/oct09/northern_peninsula4.asp).

It is certainly true, the Northern Peninsula’s population has been reduced drastically since the closure of its primary industry; the cod fishery in 1992. The statistics speak for themselves as a number of communities and towns saw sharp declines as the world attempts to become more urban. However, our population decrease has slowed with signs of greater stability as more younger families build homes and lives around rural economies. I am proof of another young person that chooses to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Although the economy has yet to rebound to levels prior to 1992, I disagree with the author that the region has depleting natural resources. 

Nearly 20 years later, the fishery still remains the backbone of the rural economies, with the forestry a close second. Moreover, today, the rural economy has diversified – the Northern Peninsula is engaged in various sectors, including secondary-food processing, value-added manufacturing, biomass fuels, oil & gas exploration, agriculture, aquaculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism, services, retail/wholesale, craft/gift/apparel, information technology, healthcare, education and transportation.

The article states, “An optimist will say that, through all the ups and downs, residents of the Northern Peninsula have always looked after themselves. After all, their connection to the rest of Newfoundland did not come until 1962, the year Route 430 opened, so they have a long history of living in isolation” (Russell Wangersky).

Imagine, it was not until 1962 in a country as rich as Canada that we as Canadians were isolated from the rest of the country. Yet, we overcame these obstacles and our communities adapted to change. Can you imagine that it took nearly 50 more years before the Trans-Labrador Highway was open!!! This highway now connects Red Bay to Goose Bay eliminating a long ferry run. Now visitors can drive from Montreal, QC – Labrador City, NL – Goose Bay, NL – Blanc Sablon, QC and take a 1 hour 30 minute ferry ride to St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and drive Route 430 to Deer Lake, NL and then take the Trans Canada Highway to the Capital, St. Johns, NL or to Port Aux Basque to take Marine Atlantic to Nova Scotia. This is an incredible achievement that presents a number of opportunities for not only residents, organizations and business owners of the Northern Peninsula and Labrador, but the entire world!

The recent completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway has already had a significant impact on business on both sides of the Strait of Belle Isle. The M.V. Apollo has adjusted to increased demand to ferry traffic by adding an additional run on Friday and Sunday during peak tourist season. There has been large increases in commercial traffic using both the service and the highway. The opening of Hotel North (former Vinland, St. Anthony) on September 1, 2010 which will include a Jungle Jim’s adds much-needed accommodations to the region. Although, not all businesses are ready for the spike in demand. For instance, if you wish to rent a car, make sure you book well in advance, or you may find yourself in a crunch when it comes to transportation.

On September 8, 2010 the Nordic Economic Development Board and Red Ochre Regional Board, among with its many partners are hosting a Transportation Forum at the St. Barbe Arena to reveal key findings of a study completed as a result of this new transportation link. The impacts it has had on road, marine and air transportation routes and what this has meant for business will be discussed. There are new business opportunities and areas of improvement that we all have a stake. If you are interested in attending please contact Mr. Andre Myers, Economic Development Officer at Nordic Economic Development Corporation via email at amyers@nf.aibn.com as soon as possible as space is limited, registration is free.

We no longer live in isolation and we are open to the world to see what we have to offer! We have in my view the best concentrated and diverse group of cultural assets that can rival any region. This includes two WORLD UNESCO Heritage Sites- L’Anse aux Meadows (First known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago) & the Tablelands), Gros Morne National Park, archaeological finds and discoveries noting Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo, Recent Indians (Beothuk, Innu, Inuit, Metis), Basque, Portuguese, French, British and others, a number of provincial and national historic sites, ecological reserves, abundance of natural resources, wildlife and natural beauty, high-speed internet access (in most regions), airports, ferry services, shipping/trucking, low business tax and low-cost of living. These highlights complimented by the Northern Peninsula’s strategic location to enter markets of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, New England States and Europe presents excellent opportunities for a company to export.

I will dismiss Wangersky’s Canadian Geographic article written just 2 months prior to this road opening, as the highway simply does not end at Route 430, The Viking Trail – but begins. We are now a pathway to the rest of North America.

Don’t miss out, as this could be the best investment you ever make.

Live Rural Newfoundland – CCM

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