Picking berries was a seasonal activity which was essential to the traditional way of life of First Nations people. The same was true for the French settlers who arrived in New France.
Part of the fruits were eaten fresh, while other parts were dried in the sun or by a fire in anticipation of the cold season. Of all the types of berries, the strawberry was the most present in the indigenous cultures of America’s Northeast. First to ripen, they were considered magical and filled with the power of creation.
Picking was an activity handled by First Nations women. Women elders announced the beginning and the end of the season. When the time was right, the women prepared the baskets. They set out with their children who would learn to recognize the ripened fruit. This type of instruction was acquired through observation and in fun.
Virginia Strawberry Plant
Photo: Montreal Botanical Garden (Stéphane Bailleul)
Photo: Frédéric Coursol