A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Growing Local Food

("woodpecker's excavations and saskatoons", via flickr, courtesy of withrow)

I've spent a little time looking into native edible plants of the Cariboo. If we are to grow our own produce, I think having fruit of local origins gives us the greatest chance for success. Obviously, we'll still need to work around some of the staples, like tomatoes and peppers, but I feel that we should take advantage of anything that grows strongly with little help.

Digging around led me to this paper: "A Regional Profile of Non-Timber Forest Products Being Harvested from the Cariboo-Chilcotin, British Columbia Area". The paper is worth reading if you're into this kind of thing. It also has a nice summary of the industry and population of the region. (Disclosure: I am related to two of the people listed in the acknowledgements, Cherie-Lynn Bailey and Sam Zirnhelt, though I had no idea they were involved till I read it!)

I was able to identify some potential candidates, however, for our garden:
  • many berries: blueberries/huckleberries, saskatoon (we have several bushes behind our house here in Westbank), raspberry, strawberry, choke cherry (my grandma had a choke cherry tree and used the fruit for jellies), and high bush cranberry
  • root vegetables: cow parsnip, mountain potato, nodding onion
  • herbs: yarrow, wild rose, lilies, wild sarsaparilla (I do dream of making home-made root beer)
I have no idea if a mountain potato will be any good. If it were very good, it would be on store shelves, or at least at the farmer's market. But it can't be that bad either, and it won't hurt to try. I just need to find some...

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