From homestead to seashore: an update

Five months ago we drove north from Montreal and took a right at Rivière-du-Loup. Highway 2 took us deep into the Maritimes, through Moncton, and then on south toward Halifax.

It was a long trek for a holiday weekend, but the trip was not merely for pleasure – we don’t love road tripping quite that much; twelve hours is a heck of a drive just to see the ocean. And even though the crocuses were bursting through the ground along the banks of Sullivan’s Pond, we did not drive to Dartmouth in search of spring, either.

Our travels had brought us to Canada’s ocean playground on a different sort of Easter hunt: a real estate search. We were acting on a dream. Taking the first step – actual physical steps – to turn hopes and plans into reality.

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Family travel in Newfoundland, Canada

“I miss Newfoundland.” Clara said to me just the other day.

“Which part?” I asked

“All of it.” She responded without hesitation.

I knew exactly how she felt. I miss it too.

I couldn’t let our trip to Newfoundland pass without sharing a recap of sorts with you. Although I could sit down and talk your ear off all day about this lesser-known corner of Canada, I’m going to try to stick to our top highlights.

I’ve tried to pair it down to my absolute favourites photos and yet this post is still a mile long. We loved it; we truly did.

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Foraging for Newfoundland berries and Mixed Wild Berry Jam

I‘m in that post-vacation slump, an in-between state of leisure and productivity where I stall at work because there is too much to do and not enough time.

Eventually I’ll get the laundry put away, the fridge restocked and the emails answered, but today I spooned wild Newfoundland berry jam onto vanilla ice cream, ate it up and joined the kids for a water fight. It takes a day or two to ease into gear and until then, I’m going to fondly reflect back on our time in Canada’s most eastern province.

This is the story of a hike that turned into a berry foraging adventure and the rental kitchen project that happened as a result.

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More West Coast Culinary Adventures

“Why don’t we meet up in Campbell River and we can provision together?” my older brother suggested via text, a few weeks before we were set to board a plane.

Provision. I rolled the word around in my mind, delighting in its quaint practicality, loving how Josh tossed it out there so casually, while I had never even heard of this noun being used as a verb. Provisions: supplies such as food and drinks, especially for a journey. Provision: rounding up and buying those supplies.

We were planning on how to feed our family of twenty during a reunion (and a wedding) on a remote British Columbia Island called Cortes. Josh is used to provisioning: for a hunting trip, a camping expedition, a mountain bike race across the Yukon. I supposed I provision all the time, too, stocking the pantry, visiting farm stands, putting up produce.

Still, this was different. Because Cortes is two ferry rides away from a city, grocery staples on the island are nearly doubled in price. We’d want to get our oatmeal and peanut butter before coming, but source plenty of local produce and seafood. As it turned out, we did very well on the latter, and this is the full report of such culinary adventures.

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Tour a lentil farm + Bacon, Lentil & Tomato (BLT) Salad

The wide variety of food produced in this vast country has enchanted me ever since I was little. As a wee one alongside my older brother, I slung a fishing line over the side of a canoe for lake trout, and on my own I foraged for wild strawberries and morels to bring back to my mother’s kitchen.

From watching wild salmon spawn in on the West Coast to digging for clams on the far East, my culinary education continues to expand, year after year. This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to the middle of our country: a family-owned lentil farm in the heart of Saskatchewan.

Expansive fields dotted with farms were completely new territory for me. Although I knew that Canada was the world’s largest lentil producer and that Saskatchewan produced 95% of those beauties such as Black Beluga and French Green, I really had no clue how lentils were grown. It was a fantastic learning experience, under the broad blue skies of the great prairies.

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