There is nothing that brings people together like food. At least that’s been my experience throughout my lifetime and things haven’t seemed to change. A process stemming as far back into the roots of society as one can travel, hunting for and cooking food brings people together. Food is life and a good life means connectedness to each other and to the earth. Nowhere is this more evident than in my most recent connection with Saskatchewan businesswoman, Brianna Kroener, owner of Hunting Season Spice Company.
While she travelled to Prince Albert from her hometown of Regina, Brianna grew up travelling between Canada and Germany throughout most of her childhood. As a first generation Canadian, her family traditions were very much connected through food as she watched the act of providing translate into heritage, community, and love. Her father, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, taught young Brianna much about the forest and bush-crafting - a term to describe wilderness survival skills. Her mother, of Ukrainian descent, made the most of food and Brianna watched as family and friends were honoured by serving good food. Through these early and ongoing experiences, and by channeling her time and focus into living authentically, this young entrepreneur is showcasing big and small game in a very spicy way.
Brianna understands the importance of sustainability in one’s own life and also within the community at large. We share similar values toward hunting and foraging which are as old as humanity itself - the end result always brings people together. Through living a life more connected to the land we have a deeper understanding of our role on this earth and our responsibility to self-reliance and giving back to our family; to our community, where and when we can. Just like a forest, community grows and flourishes when balance is sustained and Brianna knew it was time for a change as she began to focus on her health and find a balance in her life. Ending her ten-year journey as a Red Seal chef within the food industry, Brianna took the plunge and jumped into entrepreneurship, opening Hunting Season Spice Company earlier this year where her gifts are remarkably satisfying. With a taste for the wild, Brianna combined her knowledge of flavour, passion for cooking, and respect for life and created a line of seasonings, brines, and spices to complement and enhance big and small game. Brianna advocates terroir - the complete natural environment in which a particular food is produced - and uses this to play on the flavours given to each animal through the soil, vegetation, and climate. Sustainability is important to Ms. Kroener and this is exemplified within her company as she chooses to source local ingredients for her product; for example, using local Saskatchewan honey and dried Canadian blueberries.
As she dropped off her delicious product line-up to our store, Brianna and I made an instant connection and we quickly discovered our mutual love for the land and the gifts provided to us all. As we finished up the transaction, Brianna mentioned her interest in foraging and so off we went into the Saskatchewan bush. To be honest, I’m not even too sure how our paths led to one another but I’m thankful to say they did. Isn’t it a rare breath of fresh air to meet up with a kindred spirit - to meet another human on your journey who shares your vision; your passion? It’s magic and there’s no other option but to embrace the opportunity and learn what you can. This is precisely what we did. After briefly guiding her through a local gem spot, we were able to gather and identify several wild plants and medicines. As we talked about staying close to the land; the commitment to it, the health benefits, I recall Brianna explaining that through foraging for food the gratification and gifts of her labour are immediate and endless. We both learned so much, especially me. A huge thank you to Brianna Kroener who made a leap of faith and chose to give our city a chance to experience another flavourful side of life.
If you’re looking to try something new in your kitchen please stop up at Northern Elite Firearms here in Prince Albert to try out all of Brianna’s fantastic products. Hunting Season Spice Company is also sold online via Etsy and Facebook; while you’re online, check out her YouTube channel (@huntingseasonspices) for cooking tips and tricks to make your next meal unforgettable. It’s now time to start foraging yourself - Saskatoon berries, among many other edible plants and medicines, are in season!