November 28, 2018

I was first introduced to cloudberries via the name of a man-made structure. This structure was a slowly dilapidating bed-and-breakfast called The Cloudberry, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, and its wooden turrets rose up like an enchanted castle above the stunted boreal black spruce forest.

It was used as field housing in the rainy summer of 2014 when I received my first botany technician job. Little did I know, the Cloudberry would recur in my life, over and over — but in the form of a small plant.

The cloudberry; Rubus chamaemorus; bakeapple; salmonberry; is widespread across the arctic. It is a sweet, soft, dreamsicle berry, with a muted taste reminiscent of oranges, cream, tart fruit and a hint of salmon. When ripe, it fades from a bright pink to a translucent creamy orange that smears apart on your taste buds.

During work hours, I found myself in the bogs, fens, and tussock tundra where this tasty, low-lying forb is found. It was after work hours, in the quirky, self-sufficient, woods...

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