Goose Tongue and the Kindness of Strangers

New Brunswick60

Tidal Salt Marsh

“There are no foreign lands.  It is the traveller only who is foreign.” Robert Louis Stevenson

One day while on the road to Cape Enrage, we noticed a lady out in the salt marsh picking some plants.  A couple of days later, we spotted someone else picking plants in the salt marsh.  By the third time we observed people picking plants out in the salt marsh, Hector’s curiosity couldn’t be contained.  So he stopped the car, got out and went over to the two gentlemen in the salt marsh and asked them what they were picking. The gentlemen, Russell and Mel, informed Hector that they were looking for sandfire greens but had not found any yet, so they’d picked some goose tongue greens instead.

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Plantago Maritima

Plantago Maritima – Goose Tongue Greens

Once they found out that Hector was from Colorado and was not at all familiar with the greens they were referring to, they offered up a goose tongue green for him to taste.

And when he said he liked it, they proceeded to hand over their entire bag of greens to him.  Hector tried to talk them into just giving him a few, but they wouldn’t have it.  They claimed that it had only taken them five minutes to gather their bag full (hmmm).

New Brunswick96New Brunswick98So, after much insistence, Hector accepted them.  This all wound up in a nice conversation about what we were doing and where we were going and this corny (but adorable) joke from Mel –

A man goes to the doctor to get his brain checked out.  The doctor tells him he needs a new brain, he can get a woman’s brain for $50.00 or a man’s brain for $5,000.00.  The man, offended, asks why the discrepancy in the cost.  The doctor answers “the man’s brain has never been used.” 🙂

That evening, Hector cooked up the goose tongue greens as Mel and Russell recommended; steamed and served with butter.

Okay, I must be honest, they were a bit bitter for me (sorry, guys if you’re reading this), but I put a little balsamic vinegar on them and liked them a little better that way.  Hector was a bigger fan of these greens than I was, said they tasted like the ocean.

Throughout our travels around New Brunswick, lots of locals noticed our Colorado plates and started up conversations.  Generally, it went something like “Oh, you’re from Colorado, how do you like it here” or something like that.  All of the people we’ve met are really nice and friendly.  But I think the people here are beyond nice and friendly, they are generous.

New Brunswick99For example, the next day, we went to the Marche de Dieppe Market, which we’d read was a fantastic farmers’ market.  This is a year round market open every Saturday in a very large building in Dieppe, on the outskirts of Moncton, New Brunswick.

New Brunswick is Canada’s only official bilingual province due to this area’s French Acadian history.  All signage is in both English and French, and interestingly sometimes the English comes first, other times the French, depending upon which is the stronger influence in the particular area you are in.
New Brunswick101New Brunswick103The market, which is very much French first, has fresh fruit and vegetables, local cheeses, local meats of every type including handmade sausage, fresh baked goods, natural yogurt, fresh made juices (squeezed as you wait into the jug), wine, jams, herbs, sauces, fresh artisanal chocolates, fresh seafood, fresh eggs, and more.

New Brunswick100It was one of the best farmers’ markets we’ve been to so far. Anyhow, there was a little booth right at the entry with a representative from Really Local Harvest, the Co-op that manages the market.

Hector (who is not the least bit chatty) got into a conversation with Nicole, who handles communications and public relations for Really Local Harvest Co-op, about how much we loved it here and how nice the people were. New Brunswick104

He then proceeded to tell her about Mel and Russell and that we had tried goose tongue etc. When he mentioned they had been looking for sandfire greens without success, Nicole told us that she thought one of the vendors had them and that we really must try them.

New Brunswick106Then this very charming lady walked us inside to the other side of the building to take us to the person who she thought had the sandfire greens.  But she had sold them all.

New Brunswick102But then when she found out we were from “so far away”, she pulled a little bag out of the refrigerator and offered to sell it to us even though it was her personal bunch.   Again, Hector said no, those are yours, but she insisted.  See a pattern here?

We did convince her that we didn’t need all of them, so she sold us only part, but told us with a twinkle in her eye “you’ll wish you’d gotten all of them when you taste them.”New Brunswick105

Nicole continued to show us around “her” market, even walking us over to the ATM machine, she was so helpful.  So again what really stands out for us is how the people we’ve met here are so willing to share and to help.  It’s really quite special. And they have also been very open about themselves, and we really appreciate that also.

New Brunswick107Another vendor at the market was Joe Caissie Seafood.  Joe’s son assisted us, we asked him about the two different kinds of clams in their case and he gave us a very thorough description of  both.

New Brunswick108New Brunswick110Then we ordered some oysters and he explained how they farm their oysters in great detail and with obvious pride in his family’s company.  Because they were farmed in the ocean in floating cages, the oysters were perfectly shaped with smooth shells.  Quite unique and very yummy.

Back at Camp Lopez we enjoyed the very delicious oysters outside with our new Canadian friends David (the former Brit) and Karen (from Germany), both now from Ontario.  Great company they were!

But, back to the sandfire greens.  Again, the recommended preparation was to eat them steamed with butter.  New Brunswick109There seemed to be disagreement on this, as some people prefer them raw and plain or steamed and plain.  But we went with the original plan of steaming, and had them with the (also excellent) clams.New Brunswick111

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Salicornia Europaea – Sandfire Greens

New Brunswick113You eat the sandfire greens by holding them by the roots and gently pulling the green outside off the branches.  The sandfire greens are delicious indeed, and I’m not a greens type of person.

I actually preferred them without butter, and Hector liked them with butter. The lady at the market was right, we wish we had bought the whole bunch!

So New Brunswick had much to offer, including these two greens that only grow here in the salt marshes next to the Bay of Fundy.

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Flag of New Brunswick

And we would never have known about these tasty veggies let alone dined on them were it not for the kindness and generous nature of the people of New Brunswick.

~ Brenda

2 thoughts on “Goose Tongue and the Kindness of Strangers

  1. Sounds and looks like a trip of a lifetime, great people, wonderful sights and experiences, it just doesn’t get any better!!

    Best to you and Brenda, keep the wonderful travel logs, which are excellent and informative and continue to have a fantastic journey.
    Miami Bob

  2. So great to learn new things through your experiences. Now we know about sandfire and goose tongue greens! Love the joke!

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