There are numerous varieties of plants and trees on the island, some of which I’ve mentioned in prior posts.  Novice botanists and aspiring foragers, Chris and I have enjoyed discovering what grows on the island through the summer season, especially what we can eat directly from the island’s boughs, vines, canes and our garden!

Chris has plucked and snacked on beach plums as we’ve walked the North Trail. We’ve sampled the small apples and pears growing on the South Trail.   We’ve also enjoyed a succession of berries: first red raspberries; then blueberries, now waning blackberries, and elderberries still to ripen.  Seguin Island is a veritable cornucopia of edible fruits!

Our thanks to everyone who has supplemented our garden and larder from their Maine-land gardens, pantries and ovens.  While we’ve happily enjoyed fresh-picked something from the garden daily – usually some mélange of beets, chard, chives, dill, kale, lettuce, nasturtiums, and purslane – we wouldn’t have enjoyed fresh basil, cherries, corn on the cob, green beans, tomatoes, and zucchini, much less jam, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and zucchini bread absent the generosity of visitors and volunteers alike.  Thank you all!

In an earlier post, I’d shared our plan for food and water self-sufficiency while on island this summer; a plan that would entirely preclude the need for last summer’s weekly trips ashore to purchase groceries.  Overall, I would give us kudos for pretty accurately identifying and purchasing the kinds and quantities of foodstuffs we’d need for the summer, before coming to the island.  We felt fortunate to be able to procure most everything on our spreadsheet, despite the coronavirus-related unavailability of some groceries at the time we were shopping.  We purchased in anticipation of 16 weeks on island, which ultimately evolved to 12 weeks due to scheduling shifts at the beginning and end of the summer.  For that reason, we already know we’ll be returning with unopened and/or unconsumed food purchases, in addition to some last minute harvests from our island garden.   The former includes multiple pounds of yellow-eyed beans and lentils, cornmeal, flour, oats/cereal grains, and milk powder; canned tomatoes; spices we never expected to use up; plus nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.  Still, we were right on the money with the fresh fruits and veggies we brought out as well as olive and grapeseed oils, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, mustard, cheese and wine.

Shockingly, we will be returning with some amount of each of the kinds of chocolate we brought with us: 1# dark chocolate bars, semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, and cocoa powder.   We ate very well but in retrospect, I think we may have over-rationed ourselves, both in terms of how much we brought and how carefully we consumed our stores post-arrival.  

We also unexpectedly ran short of a few items including balsamic vinegar – how do you plan for a USCG helicopter flinging the bottles off the shelf, through a closed door, spilling most of the contents? – lemons – who knew you could make jam using lemon juice versus pectin? – and vanilla – which keeps Chris in baking heaven, when he’s not baking bread!

And thanks to late August rains that actually fell on versus around the island, we were ultimately able to supply ourselves – and even our fresh water-seeking visitors – with some of our own drinking water, collected in buckets and then filtered.

Like many of our fortunately more positive than negative experiences brought about by the coronavirus, we’re delighted that we challenged ourselves to remain on-island all summer, and with the success of our advanced food purchase plan!

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