Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I'm Not Swallowing It

I'm a huge fan of the Food Network. I especially love watching Good Eats with Alton Brown. I also enjoy Unwrapped, which is an educational program to watch if you're interested in regional cuisines.

But lately Unwrapped has been repeating a meme that I have to address. They keep repeating the claim that there are only three fruits native to North America: Cranberries, Concord Grapes, and Blueberries.

Now, as it happens, Oregon is a state where you will find two of these, the berries, and is in fact a major source of them. Most of the time, however, when Unwrapped makes reference to them, you'll be watching a section of the show on New England. And the people in New England being interviewed are even quicker to point out this "Only Native" claim, since all three fruit are native to that region.

But here's the interesting thing. That claim of those three being the only fruit native to North America?


They are overlooking at least three berries, all native to the Pacific Northwest, all edible:

Oregon Grape

Salal Berries


Oregon grape is, unsurprisingly, the State Plant of Oregon. Salmonberries are the same shape as a blackberry or raspberry, but their color makes them look just like a cluster of salmon eggs. Salal berries were a chief staple of the diets of coastal Native Americans in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

All three are native.

Next on Unwrapped: Recipes for crow.

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