wild blackberries

Slow living and family foraging

posted in: foraging, rural life 0

niki jabbourI had a lovely time on Sunday morning chatting with Niki Jabbour on The Weekend Gardener. Imagine my delight when Niki announces to the world that she is a fan of my blog! I've been enjoying her books, web content, radio show, and her work in general for years, so I was excited when she reached out!

If you want to hear my interview with Niki Jabbour, it was September 2nd, 2018 and my segment begins around the 45:00 mark.

I mention at the beginning of the interview that I sent my children and husband out foraging while I was on air.

Foraging is something that we enjoy as a family almost year-round, but late summer is peak foraging time with its long, warm days and abundance of ripe fruit.

(I delve again into my love of foraging in this post.)

Blackberry season lasts over a month here, and we are just at the tail end. Mat and the girls went out in search of the last of the blackberries, but as often happens, discovered so much more.

They ventured much further than they usually do and, with the help of google maps, discovered a lake about 5 km into the forest across from our property.

So, when I finished with my interview, I packed a picnic and some fresh coffee, and went off to find them.

As I hiked past the end of our blackberry trail, I found forest that seemed like the ideal environment for chanterelle mushrooms, and made a mental note to check back next summer. I also found wild cranberry to check back on when the temps get a little cooler.

After several left turns on back country camp roads, I heard laughter. The girls were so happy to see me coming and so very proud of themselves for adventuring so far and eager to show mama what they had discovered - an entirely new shoreline habitat full of juicy berries!


Chokecherry is so beautiful – the juicy red berries dangling like jewels. They are quite sour and give you a dry mouth, but they grow in clusters which makes them easy to pick.

Cook them with sweetener, strain the pits and you are left with a gorgeous juice for drinks, jellies, or vinegar.

wild raisin

Wild Raisin

When Wild Raisin turns from pink to deep blue, summer is coming to an end. It looks like we still have a little bit of warm weather left.

We have a lot of this along the trail to the lake and on the shore. The fruit has a large seed and isn’t easy to eat, but can be cooked and strained to make syrup or jelly.

wild huckleberry


We picked as many Huckleberry as we could – they are juicy and sweet, with a mild flavour similar to blackberry.

The girls loved to eat these and we put some in the freezer for baking. We were so happy to find a lot of this plant growing.

wild bayberry


Bayberry is really interesting. Its leaves are fragrant and can be dried to make tea or substitute for bay leaves in soups and stews.

Its berries are not edible, but very waxy, and can be melted down to blend with beeswax in candles and in soap making.

Labrador tea

Labrador’s tea

Labrador’s tea is used to make a tea high in vitamin C. It can be used in a warm bath to treat arthritis of the hands.

People used to hang it in closets to repel moths and ghosts!

As we explore this land and discover more depths and riches, we become so much more intimately connected and more deeply nourished by what it yields.

Our family becomes more connected as well, as we look closer together and engage all of senses and share our experiences.

The intensity of August was so worthwhile, just to experience this slowing down for late summer, and our family’s closeness after being apart so much, and such deep satisfaction that we are heading in the direction of our best life.

This spontaneous adventure turned out to be one of the most memorable days this summer. I almost stayed home to enjoy the empty house, but I’m glad I didn’t.

It is a good reminder to say yes to adventures and exploring new places. This spot has been in our backyard all this time. What else is out there?

We were able to identify all of these wild foods thanks to Eating Wild in Eastern Canada by Jamie Simpson.


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