If you recall a while back I wrote about my BFF (best foraging friend) Bill.
And he’s still my only foraging friend. He gathers, smokes (not cigarettes or cigars), condenses, dries, dehydrates, bakes, liquifies, juices, turns fruit into leather and fills jars full of delectable delights of things you will most likely never find anywhere else. At least not done with the same amount of know-how, zest and love for foraging from start to finish.
It began as a hobby (Bill is a Foodie and a superb cook) but now his stuff is in demand in Vancouver Island local markets and other food suppliers. Not surprising since everything is made from scratch, in small batches and with the utmost attention to detail.
He was going to collaborate with monthly posts on this blog sharing stories of adventures from the wild world of foraging. Instead he’s just been way too busy picking, harvesting and filling orders, etc. so we’ll have to wait. But in the meantime to whet your appetite or curiosity I’ll share a few things I recently purchased after having tasted them.We might as well refer to it as Bill’s Wild West Coast
Descriptions by Bill
Saanich Peninsula Medlar Jelly – a rare and delicious jelly produced from Medlar’s planted in the 40’s and 50’s in North Saanich, BC.
Wallace Road Sloe Berry Jelly -these fall berries are members of the plum family and produce a tart jelly, great for serving with turkey, bbq chicken and the like.
Willis Point Arbutus Berry Jam -I only recently discovered that those pretty red berries on magnificent Arbutus are edible. I harvested those within reach and wished I could get higher for more.
Fernwood *Goumi berry Jam – this super-food Asian berry was growing in a hedge in town. A forager friend called me… I answered her call.
Oldfield Road Kiwi Jam – I had never seen Kiwi Fruit growing before and I had never heard of Kiwi Jam. I was given access to these super sweet ones in January and it is a really great interesting jam. Mosi (a fantastic bakery) used it in their Danish pastries for a few months.
Okanagan Syrah Grape Jelly – A friend from my time in the wine industry gave me access to Syrah Grapes in the Le Vieux Pin Vineyard. It is a delicious jelly that is less sweet, with a touch of that pepperiness that is characteristic of Syrah wine.
Wild Red Huckleberry Jam – These are tasty little explosions of flavor wonderful sweetness… but they are really small and take hours to pick! These are from the new growth areas between Shirley and Jordan River.
Elderberry Jam (or jelly – the writing was blurry) soaked in single malt scotch.
Willis Point Road Rosehip Jelly – Rosehips are very plentiful around here but they are a lot of work to process. This jelly was viewed as a golden treasure by some of my Instagram forager friends back East.
Oregon Grape Jelly with Lavender – Before I moved to the coast I had never heard of these tangy berries. I harvested these near Munn Road before the effects of the drought dries them up. This is very good with cheeses and cold cuts.
Oldfield Road Italian Plum Jam -This is a very good jam on toast, but also served with cheeses.
Oldfield Road Brandied Cherries – I was given access to several cherry trees with both dark red and golden varieties, some of which I have had soaking in fine cognac since June. $15.00 per 500ml jar
Cowichan Bay Sweet Cherry Chutney – I had access to so many cherries, and they were ripening so fast… I found this recipe for sweet cherry chutney and gave it a whirl. $14.00 per 500 ml jar
Winter Chanterelle Powder $ 20.00 per 25 mg.
Dried Golden Chanterelles $ 8.00 per packet (13 to 15 g)
Dried Lobster Mushrooms $ 18.00 per packet (30 to 35 g)
Dried Hickory Plums, Dried Hickory Pears & Dried Cherries $6.00 – $ 8.00 (per 75g package)
Hawthorn Hazelnut Candy $3.00 (sold out)
Hickory Syrup (sold out – also great as a glaze for salmon).
Spruce Tip Infused Honey – $5.00 per 125 ml jar
General Prices for jams and jellies (depending on demand) runs anywhere from $5.00 – $7.50 per 125 ml jar up to $12.50 per 250 ml jar
*Darn; I thought he said gummy berries! I would definitely be out there foraging for gummies.
It was so hard to choose from because everything was so good…..so I bought them all!