Tyler and I hit up the Fireweed Market last night for dinner and to hang out with some friends in the grass listening to music. The Fireweed Market happens every Thursday in the summer in Whitehorse, and is bar-none the best place to eat dinner on Thursday nights – last night we had homemade fish and chips and vegan fruit “icecream” bars. As we strolled home along First Avenue in Whitehorse we made a very exciting discovery – the City of Whitehorse has planted red currant bushes in all of the sidewalk gardens along First Avenue and they are over-flowing with berries.
Tyler and I knew immediately that this called for a little guerilla harvesting to take place (for those of you familiar with the concept of guerilla gardening – same idea, just picking the fruit instead of planting it). So we started to scheme the best plan. We figured we should go berry picking later in the day so it wouldn’t be as busy (I cringe at the thought of having to explain to every tourist on their way to Alaska who strolls by what we’re doing – the picking time would be seriously limited). To fill the time in-between we hit up ultimate practice, read books in the grass, visited my parents and not-so-guerilla-harvested a bunch of flowers from Mom’s garden (under her watchful gaze) for me to press (I’m going to make paper in an upcming Craft Project project and wanted to have pressed flowers ready for the purpose), and went to the movies with a group of friends.
The movies turned out to be very beneficial to the berry picking. Toy Story 3 came through the Whitehorse theatres a while ago (we only have 4 screens in the city total so no movie stays for very long). To honour the event the theatre had a package deal at the concession – a drink, a package of candy, and a big plastic Toy Story 3 bucket of popcorn with a handle. I got really excited when I saw the bucket – absolutely the perfect berry bucket. It turns out the theatre was almost out of buckets – the poor kid behind the counter had to leave his post and go down into the basement and hunt around to find me one (only in Whitehorse would this happen), but I’m pleased to say that by the time the trailers began to roll I was in possession of my very own Toy Story bucket (and a lot of popcorn- it’s a good thing we had a big group with us that I could share it out between).
After the movie finished (around 10:30 pm) Tyler and I took our newfound treasure and headed over to First Avenue to do some picking. And what fruitfull picking it was. The currants are delicious, and the bushes are loaded. We picked for an hour on a single bush and didn’t even make a dent. I’m sure the next week will see us back there a few more times. And I couldn’t help but be amused that their was such a bounty growing right under the noses of all of those ardent Yukon berry pickers who guard their picking locations as if their lives depended on it – it’s not evil to find that funny is it?
Tyler and I returned with a bucketful of berries which I set up to freeze (leaving some to eat fresh). There was a hadfull of berries when I washed and sorted the bounty that were old and dried up. I washed those and put them out to dry – I’m thinking they could be a good component for a homemade tea. Then we sat down to watch some tv and munch some currants while I set about pressing the flowers we’d gathered from my parent’s place earlier in the evening.
I’m going to hunt through my canning recipes today to see if I can find some good red currant recipes for our next forray.