Nova Scotia eating involves more than its justly famed lobsters. Wild, foraged foods like fiddlehead ferns, chanterelle mushrooms, and wild blueberries are of particular note. As are the thick, crunchy oatcakes that go so well with tea or coffee that are baked around the province. A range of shellfish, including Digby scallops and Cape Breton oysters, are another great fact of local foods in this maritime province. The lobsters, though, they really really remarkable good.... Like all of these guides, this one is a work in progress. Is there something you love about eating in Nova Scotia that you don't see here? Tell us about it!
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The growing season on this island is short, but it is also very sweet. Like in the rest of Canada, the long summer days help gardens and truck farms really kick into gear, with harvest hitting from July through September. Know when to expect and when with this Guide to Nova Scotia Seasonal Produce.
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Nova Scotia Farmers Markets
Find seasonal produce and much more at Nova Scotia's oldest market, Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Nova Scotia markets are increasingly featuring eggs, meat, honey, and other food products besides fresh produce, allowing them to stay open for longer seasons, such as the May-December season for the Wolfsville Farmers Market.
Find a market near you in Nova Scotia with this guide from Farmers Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS), a cooperative of farmers markets from across the province.
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Nova Scotia Lobster
The best lobster I've ever had was in Nova Scotia. More than once. Fresh, sweet, tender lobster. It's a regional specialty and tradition; to the point where a Nova Scotia native and son of a lobsterman told me tales of being ashamed of bringing a lobster sandwich to school for lunch since that's what poor people (i.e. the families of lobstermen) ate. Anyone who could bought canned ham and other "delicacies."
Taste, it's subjective. And it's local.
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Digby, the town where ferries from St. Johns, New Brunswick come in, is home to some very tasty scallops. Small, tender, and sweet.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Nova Scotia produces some fabulous oysters. Both true ocean oysters, like Cape Bretons, with all their brine and minerality, and lighter bodied Bras d’Or oyster, which was developed the Department of Fisheries. Check out this great map of Nova Scotia oysters for more info, and learn more about Oysters here.
The waters of Nova Scotia are also home to others bivalves, including rope-grown mussels (no grit there!). See How to Cook Mussels if you get your hands on some.
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Wild blueberries are the very best blueberries, on that point blueberry-philes can agree. Nova Scotia has both wild blueberries and cultivated blueberries. The cold winter and long summer days work in concert to grow the very sweetest and more flavorful blueberries you have ever seen.
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Wild fiddlehead ferns grow in the damp spring forests all over Nova Scotia. These grassy-nutty greens-slash-vegetables are hand harvested by traditionalists and culinary die-hards alike, and are sometimes for sale by foragers at local markets and roadsides. Learn more about Fiddlehead Ferns.
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The first place I ever went foraging for wild mushrooms was in Nova Scotia. It is also the place where I was once confronted with several pounds of chanterelles and asked if I knew what to do with them. Boy, did I! We sauteed them and put them on homemade pizzas and gorged ourselves silly before awaking the next morning to chanterelles and scrambled eggs, the breakfast of champions if ever there was one. Learn more about Wild Mushrooms.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Oats, flour, sugar, and always a bit of salt - since its their sweet-yet-salty flavor that makes them so irresistible (at least to me) - keep oatcakes simple yet yummy. They are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, but I find they work great as a homey dessert or quick breakfast, too.
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Nova Scotia Local Eating Resources
Nova Scotia Select promotes local foods and local vendors by making it easier for consumers to find local producers near them.
Taste of Nova Scotia promotes local food and wine and is also a good source for food-related events around the province.
This Nova Scotia Local blog is about much more than food, but has plenty of resources and information for those looking to eat locally.