Over the last couple of weeks, this half of Piedmont Picnic Project went on a great northern adventure – heading up to the Ottawa River on the Quebec-Ontario border in Canada, just like I have done every year as far back as I can remember. This place holds some of the earliest foraging and wild food memories for me – fishing for walleye, chomping on teaberry leaves, and shoving as many little wild blueberries as I could in my mouth. This year, I couldn’t wait to see if all of the foraging we’ve been doing with Piedmont Picnic would have sharpened my eye to find more wild edibles that I may have never noticed before up there. And, as always, it did not disappoint.
So what did I find? Plenty of the old classics like blueberries and teaberry plants (aka wintergreen)…
#tbt to #wintergreen growing on the #ottawariver last week. Or #teaberry as we always called it! Tasty minty treat – young leaves, blossoms, or berries. #foraging #wildfoodlove #foragecanada #eh? A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on
But also edible plants I knew from foraging in North Carolina, that I hadn’t noticed before up north… like milkweed and juneberries. My family was skeptical of a new berry at first, but those that were brave enough to taste the juneberries were sold!
First time finding #juneberries up here! And they were right #undermynose. Piedmont Picnic goes north! #OttawaRiver #foragecanada #eh? #wildfoodlove #familyvacation A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on
I was also excited to find plants I had seen growing up but not known they were edible or other plants I had only read about and never seen in person – like fireweed and beaked hazelnuts!
#tbt to #beakedhazelnut found last week on the #ottawariver! Been going there my whole life and never noticed they were growing all over. My #forager’s eye is sharpening! Piedmont Picnic goes north! #foraging #wildfoodlove #hazelnut #foragecanada #eh? A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on
Finally, the best part was sharing old traditions with the next generation – like finding “red light” moss (aka British soldier lichen) or how to bread walleye using the family recipe for a fish fry.
Teaching the #nextgeneration the art of the #familyrecipe for #friedwalleye. Piedmont Picnic goes north! #freshcaught #walleye #pickerel #OttawaRiver #itsakeeper #wildfoodlove #manyhands #littlehands #lightwork #ontariofishing #fishfry #familyvacation #myniecerocks A photo posted by Piedmont Picnic Project (@piedmontpicnicproject) on
Just like every year previous, I am glad to be home, but I already can’t wait to go back next year.