The Frogs are Croaking!

In these strange times I have been waiting (impatiently) for the frogs to start croaking. First come the pussy willows, next comes the frogs. And tonight I heard them – over on Urdal Road. They will slowly migrate west to Collins Road and Pemberton Meadows Road soon but for now you have to tilt your ears to the east. I always am excited to hear the first frogs, but this year I have been really anxious for them – a sign that outside of the human species, life goes on as normal.

Thank you to our farmers. This pandemic and crisis has re-alerted me to the importance of food security. When I first moved to Pemberton 16 years ago Anna Helmer explained all this to me. I hadn’t a clue, being raised in Vancouver and buying my groceries at Safeway. I didn’t know what the ALR was. “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot”, sang Joni Mitchell in Big Yellow Taxi. More recently, she wrote in her song Shine: “Shine on fertile farmland buried under subdivisions”.

We need farmers. We need farmland. This cannot be outsourced. Farmland must be protected. We are learning this now during this crisis. The hard way.

When the Hellevangs recently announced that they were selling big 50 lb bags of Yukon Gold potatoes I jumped on it. And for the last 2 weeks we have been eating a lot of baked potatoes. I visited the UK for the first time nearly 30 years ago, and my Mum and I stayed with her friends who had a very young and “highly-spirited” (bratty in our view) child. She would only settle down with the promise of a “jacket potato”. At a village tea room or at their home these jacket potatoes seemed to have magical powers.

Not sure why it’s taken me so long to embrace the simple but sublime jacket potato – but if you have some chili on hand (my recipe for deer chili is posted on this blog), plus sour cream, chopped green onions, butter and crumbled bacon, and of course some beautiful Pemberton Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, you have such an easy and delicious meal.

Frogs, farmers, potatoes. Pemberton we will get through this!

Pemberton Baked Potatoes: (serves 4)

4 large Russet or Yukon Gold Pemberton-grown potatoes, scrubbed well.

Method: Using the tines of a fork, poke the potatoes in 5 or 6 places.

Bake 1 to 1.5 hours at 350F. (Time depends on size of your potatoes.)

Serve with butter, sour cream, green onions, bacon bits, or chili.