As New Brunswickers for us, fiddleheads strike the end of winter and the arrival of springtime. And my, how we treasure the reward of steaming bowlfuls of fiddleheads doused in vinegar and melted butter. Little did we know at the time that we were participating in a seasonal ritual that springs back into the depths of our provincial culture.
In April and May, you can pick the fiddleheads along river and stream banks, in open woodlands and at the edges of swamps and marshes across New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Fiddleheads are one of the world’s coolest greens. These unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern are known as fiddleheads because they resemble the finely crafted head of a fiddle.
If you like fiddleheads, chances are you’re from New Brunswick-or you were acquaint with to them from someone who was. Although they are found across the region and indeed in spots across Canada, the farther you get from New Brunswick, the less likely it will be that folks have heard of them, much less eaten them. To this day, New Brunswick remains the epicentre of fiddlehead culture, hosting several local fiddlehead festivals and exporting hundreds of thousands of kilograms of fresh and frozen fiddleheads worldwide each year.
Emerge yourself in some Fiddling culture this spring/summer:
Salmon and Fiddlehead Festival in Doaktown August 3-6, 2012
(The village of Plaster Rock, the village is also the home of the World’s Largest Fiddlehead Sculpture)
June 22-2, 2012 -”Fiddlers on the Tobique“
Event combines two time-honoured New Brunswick traditions: fiddling and canoeing. A flotilla of canoes carries almost 200 musicians down the Tobique River while they play old-time fiddle music. The river run, which is the most popular event of the weekend, begins at 1 p.m. in Nictau, at the Forks, on Saturday which is also Canada’s National Canoe Day!
Fiddle Frolic and Fiddle Heads / Opening Weekend
Kings Landing Historical Settlement, 5804 Route 102 • Prince William, June 2012