MORAN: Playing with my food on the West Coast
Image Credit: Michèle Wood
June 28, 2017 - 1:38 PM
School is out, summer is here, and British Columbians are geared up and ready to go carry out the long tradition of exploring our province with friends and family.
West Coasters go east, Northerners go south, and in the Interior we have endless options for travelling B.C. I am finishing off a trip to one of the most western communities of B.C. and North America. If you have never been to Tofino, you must know someone who has. For years I have jealously admired the captivating images that are plastered all over Facebook this time of year of the pilgrimage to this pristine end-of-the-road village.
The forests and coastline of Vancouver Island have always had a special place in my life, but most of my time spent here was before my teenage years. There were family reunions, summer visits, a regular autumn camping trip to the West Coast, and all of this childhood time spent here always included many hours in the uncharted wilderness picking chanterelles and other edible wild mushrooms.
Life in my early adult years has been very work-centric, where even my time spent abroad was spent working and volunteering to further my career. Myself — and all hard working British Columbians — need to take the time to explore and play in all the corners of this great province. I need to place a huge emphasis on the word play. For me, this translated to jumping around on driftwood and between tidal pools, poking sea anemones, falling asleep on the beach, stuffing my face with orange salmon berries on the side of the road, and harvesting gooseneck barnacles with an axe and boiling up the strange creatures for a late night snack.
Munching and exploring our way through a new place is the best way to experience it in a memorable, culturally enhancing and sustainable fashion. Foraging and boiling shellfish on a beach fire with friends and family of all ages is an experience that transcends our financial and cultural identity, or class (if you still believe such a thing exists) and I promise it will bring you a bit more peace and happiness and a connection to your own human nature. We all need to set aside more than just a weekend to get out of our daily setting, for ourselves and those in our inner circle. While doing so, try to avoid the resorts and parks, and do something off the beaten path.
Experiences like this have shaped my worldview, career and identity as a Canadian. I cannot imagine my own life without these moments and am afraid for the consequences of a population without a connection to nature and culture across this great province. My goal is to never spend a summer without several expeditions to places like hot springs, coastlines, the North, and all the unexplored beauty surrounding the Okanagan and Southern Interior.
Check out my Facebook page Everything Wild to stay up to date on our local foraging scene.
— Scott Moran is a local forager discovering his own path to food freedom
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