Adventures in Local Food-ing

Yes I just created a new verb, and I apologize, but it had to be done.

As a British Columbian, I’m all about the local food. Was it made in BC, how close to my location is it from? 100 Mile Diet anyone? For most of my life this meant looking at the stickers on my fruit, or reading labels declaring food came from fill-in-the-blank BC.

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Since moving to my current location local food has taken on a whole new meaning. The area I live on the island is a little paradise for anyone interested in hunting, gathering, and fishing. Being a vegetarian, I was never much interested in much of those beyond occasionally gather berries.

But after trying fish, and finding out I actually enjoy salmon and halibut, (making me a pescatarian I suppose) I’ve started to change my tune. I’m also the type of person who loves new experiences, and I’m usually willing to try something once; that way you really know if you like or dislike it, right?

And so, when a colleague informed me that the tides would be perfect at 8:15am on Sunday for some crabbing (<—there’s no squiggly line, might I assume it’s a real verb?) I decided, why the hell not?

This isn’t the type of crabbing with a boat, a trap and a buoy, oh no. This is “poking” for crabs.

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To poke for crabs you head out onto the ocean floor at low tide. It really is the ocean floor; seaweeds are everywhere, the mud is rather scummy looking, and everything squelches underfoot.

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You take a bucket and a broomstick… and you poke. Hit something hard, and you dig it up. It might a clam (red tide right now, so no keeping those) or it might be a crab!

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Success!

Finding the crabs felt like a game; poking, digging, getting them into your bucket. It takes a while to find them and when you do it feels like a mini victory.

The hard part of course follows the crab-gathering; I’d never actually killed another living creature before. It was an interesting experience. I’m not eloquent enough to really describe the way it felt to perform this part of the process. It wasn’t a joyful experience, and really I’d prefer to not repeat that part again, but it does provide perspective, and a connection between the food on your plate and the living animal it was.

The entire process from finding the crab, to killing, to cooking, to eating is an amazing experience, and provides a very deep connection to the food you’re eating. The whole process took me well over 5 hours (I used the crab meat for crab dip, and getting all the meat out is painful); and you can’t help but think about how there was time when this was life; to feed yourself you and your family were hunting, gathering, fishing, cleaning, and cooking all day.

Overall it was a really different experience, and one I’m sure I might repeat in the future with friends or family. The connection you feel towards food you work to get cannot be denied, and is definitely a step up from choosing the BC produced supermarket finds.

Has anyone done any hunting, fishing or local food gathering? What was it? What was your experience?

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in Local Food-ing

  1. I love it! Looks like a fun and rewarding day.

    I’ve never hunted or fished for food before (well, I’ve fished, but more for fun than food). I have gone berry picking many a time in the park near where I grew up – we used to go with my grandpa to get wild huckleberries and blueberries. So good!

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