The weather we’ve been having the past few weeks has been amazing.
To celebrate, I decided to dedicate the column this week to the best food-related outdoor activities our province has to offer this summer.
Aside from barbecues, picnics and boil-ups on the beach, below are a few more things to indulge in before the warm weather goes.
Pick up local farm produce for fresh tasting summer dishes, and while you’re out, take time to explore. There are numerous farms within the greater St. John’s area, each with their own specialties, be it produce or animal products, farm tours or even gardening advice for your own backyard.
If you’re keen on organic foods, as we are at our house, try Rocks to Riches, The Organic Farm, Hugh’s Pond Farm, Seed to Spoon, or Murray Meadows Farm, all located in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, or even Mount Scio Farm in St. John’s which is herbicide- and pesticide-free.
If you are outside the capital city, or even within the city, and interested in more options, the provincial site avalonfresh.ca is a resource you can use to find farms with produce and animal products near you.
If you are a one-stop shopper, the St. John’s Farmers’ Market is great for exploring multiple vendors and picking up some local grub. Local farmers and their food showcase their specialities on Saturdays at the Lions Club Chalet.
Visit stjohnsfarmersmarket.org for more info.
If our province is rich with any natural plant food, it’s surely berries.
Typically bakeapples and strawberries are available now, blueberries and raspberries in August, blackberries in September, cranberries and marshberries in October, and partridgeberries in November.
Berries, especially blueberries, can be found anywhere from farms (see avalonfresh.ca for berry farms of all sorts), to just about any wooded area or hiking trail, and perhaps even your own backyard.
Catch up on some fishing. If you haven’t already caught some caplin, it’s probably too late for this year. However, the summer food fishery is just around the corner. Running from July 19-Aug. 10, or for late bloomers, the fall season is Sept. 20-28. As per previous years, you can catch up to five groundfish, including cod, per day.
Take part in a cultural food tour. I had the opportunity to do this last week and it was so much fun.
After living 25-plus years in the city, I learned a few things, too.
St. John’s Culture Tours is a new company offering walking tours pairing food and drinks with culture and history in the downtown area.
Try the Downtown Foodie Tour to experience local food tastings, or if you’d prefer to wet your whistle, there’s the Locally Brewed Tour sampling local beers and hearty pub fare. Check out: stjculturetours.com.
Do a little travelling at home and take in a food festival. The Roots Rants & Roars Fall Festival in Elliston brings together traditional food, wines and storytelling and new and traditional ways of enjoying local cuisine.
The Gathering Fire in Burlington with Shaun Majumder celebrates the unique culture and cuisine of the island.
In L’Anse aux Meadows, there is a Great Viking Feast, where you can dine on traditional foods in a sod hut just like they did thousands of years back.
Many towns also hold their own festivals centred around local cuisine, including the Blueberry Festival in Brigus, Deer Lake Strawberry Festival, Twillingate New World Island Fish Fun & Folk Festival, Songs Stages and Seafood Festival in Bay Roberts, crab festivals in La Scie, Hant’s Harbour and Mary’s Harbour, and many, many more.
For more festivals view: newfoundlandlabrador.com/PlanYourTrip.
Get out this summer and enjoy not only the great weather, but the fresh food and fun food activities our province has to offer.
Amanda O’Brien is a registered dietitian in St. John’s. Contact her through the website: www.recipeforhealth.ca.