Warren jokes that upon retiring as a fisherman at 60, he installed a root cellar to make work for himself. “But I like that," he says. "I don’t be in the house very much, just to my dinner and supper. Gotta go while you can!”
Warren grows onion, apples, beets, carrots, corn, lettuce, and more. With the exception of the corn and lettuce that he eats up before the season is over, all of his goods are kept fresh in his own root cellar, so he’s less reliant upon store-bought food in the winter months.
Using root cellars this way was something his father and grandfather did before him, and as the video shows, you don’t need a traditional root cellar to keep your goods good over the winter. Warren’s father built one under their house, because he never had a basement, whereas Warren built a root cellar below his shed.
He explains that back then, people would build their houses on the rockiest bit of land on their property, so they could use the better parcels of land to grow produce, and, hay and grass for the cows, sheep, and horses they kept.
“Back before my times, everybody was a gardener and a fisher. They used to fish and do gardens. That was what they called the good old days,” he says smiling. As far as he’s concerned, root cellars keep fruits and vegetables fresh better than a fridge does.
Food First NL’s 8-part SCOFF video series celebrates, preserves, and shares a wealth of traditional food skills from seniors in Newfoundland & Labrador.