Spring is finally here and with it, Canada’s forests, fields and even roadside ditches are coming alive with plant life — including a bounty of edible finds.
If you want to learn how to find and forage wild edibles, there’s no better way to do it than by booking a stay at one of these Canadian properties.
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland
With a focus on tradition, community and sustainability, the Fogo Island Inn’s value systems fit with the very ethos of foraging culture. However, while foragers usually keep their harvesting spots secret, that’s not the case here, where fishing and gathering sustained islanders for generations.
In addition to regular edible excursions across the subarctic landscape, in 2019 the Inn will host Forage and Fire. Over the weekend of November 29-December 1, arise at daybreak to look for late-season wild foods with expert forager Lori McCarthy as your guide. After learning preservation techniques, including salting and splitting cod, cap evening off with a meal prepared by executive chef Jonathan Gushue, which will incorporate your bounty.
The Listel Hotel, Vancouver
The Listel Hotel may market itself as a cultural experience (its tagline is that it’s the most “Art-full” boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver), but it’s also a leader in environmental sustainability. In 2012, it was completely overhauled and now boasts energy-saving appliances, solar panels on the roof and a commendable zero-waste policy. However, its best addition may have been Forage, a restaurant emphasizing locally sourced foods.
Now, with the Listel’s “Forage in the City” package, you can get behind-the-scenes kitchen access with a private preserving workshop. Afterwards, take an edible rainforest walk guided by Robin Kort of Swallow Tail Tours, before indulging in a 10-course West Coast seasonal tasting menu at Forage.
The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, BC
Operating since 1955, The Wickaninnish Inn has always supported preservation of the surrounding ecosystem. In fact, its founder was instrumental in the creation of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1971. Celebrating the area also means celebrating food, which is why this is the place to try local produce, seafood and meat, include chanterelles, berries, salmon and Dungeness Crab.
Most of the surrounding area is a UNESCO World Biosphere, but that doesn’t prevent you from learning about the area’s flora. The Forage and Feast package includes a Long Beach Nature Tours hike, where guides will point out edible coastal plants and wildlife. Back at the Inn, sample some of the items you saw on your walk with a five-course tasting menu featuring professionally foraged ingredients.
Bens Lake, Bellevue, PEI
Bens Lake Campground has long been an institution in Eastern Kings County, offering rustic accommodation in an old-growth forest, next to a lake stocked with rainbow trout. Now that professional chef and butcher Jordan Liantzakis and wildlife conversation biologist Joshua Lindsay have taken over the historic property, expect some changes — for the better.
The two have yet to launch their official foraging packages; wait for those later in 2019 or early 2020, when Liantizakis will be teaching guests how to cook and preserve with local ingredients. But if you’re a guest at the property between May and October, Lindsay will be happy to point out wild edibles — including those that “you have no idea that you can eat that are truly a delight,” including Queen Anne’s Lace, pineapple weed, of wild carrot.
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