When you’ve been on the road for a long time, sometimes you just want to be hugged and fed lunch.
(By a grandmother named Gerri whose specialty is wild blueberry pie).
After we’d arrived in St. Andrews, a sweet little seaside town at the tip of a peninsula, my friend Karen emailed and said “I GREW UP THERE! YOU HAVE TO GO TO MY PARENTS’ FOR LUNCH!” We were ever so happy to oblige, and so a few minutes and one phone call later, it was all arranged. Karen’s parents, Gerri and Reg, would host us for lunch, and Karen even gave us the menu – a classic East Coast meal of seafood chowder and wild blueberry pie. If we weren’t already excited enough, she elaborated:
“My Dad foraged all those itsy bitsy wild blueberries himself. They have a whack in the freezer and [mom] brings me out some every fall when she comes to help me with my Christmas baking. She made 30 tourtieres and 18 fruit pies for my friends for Christmas last year.”
A few days later, we walked the five minutes from The Europa Inn to Geri and Reg’s tidy white house on Water Street. We were led into their warm kitchen by Gerri, a petite, beautiful woman who’s undeniably Karen’s mom.
A feast of creamy seafood chowder, bread, and homegrown tomatoes and cucumber awaited us. Despite it being my first time on the east coast, the chowder tasted just like home, and I realized why Karen misses her mom’s cooking so much. Despite being more than full after my first helping, I took up Gerri’s offer for seconds. It was impossible not to.
After our lunch, we moved straight onto pie. Just looking at them, I could tell Gerri’s an experienced baker; the crust was thin, perfectly arranged, and strewn with flaky little pastry bubbles. The filling – a nearly-black shade of purple - was made up of hundreds of local berries Reg picked himself. One tiny wild blueberry seems to pack the flavour of 20 conventionally-grown ones, and trust me when I say they make for unbelievably good pie.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is so lovely to be invited into someone’s home for a meal. A huge thank you to Gerri and Reg for hosting us, and to Karen for setting it up, AND for sharing her mom’s pie-making wisdom in detail on her blog. Your best pie making-self is within reach - find it here!
A few days later, inspired by our new-found love of wild blueberries, we sought out Granite Town Farms in nearby St. George. They harvest and process low-bush wild blueberries each year, which are particular to the east. It's a painstaking process, but one that allows consumers like us to buy everything from wild blueberry hot sauce to vinaigrette and relish.
We bought a jar of Bluebarb Jam (blueberries + rhubarb = one adorable jam name), and a slice of pie. Because, well, PIE.