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Dave Hatfield

eGfoodblog: Dave Hatfield

193 posts in this topic

Look at the colors in the Limogne market photo!  Are those dyes or spices in the foreground? 

Please paint a verbal photo of the market ambience, if you can.  How do people interact?  Are they leisurely or hurried?  Is there a lot of banter?  Noise?  Haggling?  Fun?  Music?  You get the idea.  Help us hear and feel what you're showing us.

The clamp looks like it's intended to seat a nozzle on a sausage grinder, or a hose on some sort of extruder.  That looks like a huge diameter, though: big enough to seat a fire hose on a rain gutter, and I'm betting that isn't the unintended use.

The food already looks gorgeous.

I'll try to describe the market ambiance as best I can.

The Limogne picture is of the herb & spice stall which is run by a very pretty young girl. You name it, she has it.

The atmosphere at a market is superficially very busy. When you first start going to them they can be almost overwhelming with the noise & bustle and the uncertainty of what to do, what to buy and how to do it. Sometimes there are street musicians, hawkers of various items who are noisy and just a lot of hubbub in general.

As you begin to get used to market and learn the ropes you begin to realize that they are as much a social gathering as a marketplace. The locals meet & greet each other, catch up on the latest local events & gossip and have a good chat in general. A cup of coffee or a glass of whatever in the cafe is pretty standard. People watching is the universal sport. One quickly learns to spot the tourists, French or otherwise, and feel slightly superior once you are a 'local'!

Shopping gets done carefully, the French are very quality conscious when it comes to food. Generally, people have favorite stalls for each type of food they buy, but for items just coming into season they may check out every stall in the market to see who has the best quality at the best price. For food items there is generally no haggling except maybe near the close of the market when left overs may be sold off cheaply.

People tend to get confused as to whether they should pick out their own produce or let the stall holder do it. The answer is that both are correct and that pointing works quite well. If I don't know the stall I tend to try to pick out my own things. If I do know it I'll let them pick knowing that they know I'm a regular customer so they won't try to pass off anything not quite right onto me.

There is a lot of relaxed banter and jokes galore (if you can understand them) Once you get known by the stall holders there is always a bit of conversation, no matter how busy they may be, before you buy. When buying from your regular stall holders it would be impolite to just come up & say what you want. At least a preliminary "savant?" is de rigeur. And a bit of general chat is appreciated. Then you place your order.

We have an advantage in the Rupert, my avatar & our standard poodle, is a great ice breaker. He very sociable and everyone loves him. Although poodles are supposedly French & you see lots of small ones, the big standards (Roop weighs about 80 pounds) are rare in France so lots of people come up to ask what kind of dog he is. (Quelle race est-il? Il est un caniche royal.)

The markets are truly wonderful. We go at least twice a week for the atmosphere and the quality of the fresh produce. We could go every day as we are surrounded by market towns. Anybody visiting France should go to as many as possible.

You were close on the intended use of the mystery object, but not quite there.

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I love french country cooking!!! this will be quite a treat. Did the sausage come from one of your market venders?

I think that clamp thing hold the bone end of a leg of lamb for carving purposes............

The sausage came from a good butcher in Caylus. Local pork is very good and the proper sausage is very lean. There are not many herbs or spices in it, mainly just salt & pepper. When I fry it in a pan I have to add a bit of duck fat to get the skin to brown properly.

Another good guess, still no prize.

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could you tell us a bit about what ingredients you recall seeing in the States but that you don't see there - at least not commonly? And vice- versa.

What is the availability of ingredients from other regions of France. Or Italy or Spain for that matter? Just trying to get a bit of a sense how "regional" rural, regional France (or at least where you are) is. And, in the short time you've been there, have you seen any real changes in this.

Tough question. There are, of course, lots of brands you don't get over here.

The big difference seems to be in ethnic foods. The normal supermarket here tends to have a very small, if any, range of Chinese, Asian, Mexican, German foods. To get them you need to go to the specialty stores in the larger towns. In our case Montauban or Toulouse where you can get most things once you know where to look.

You do get a good range of regional French foods, but not the really local items except for cheeses and wines. Although you don't find a lot of Italian or Spanish items specifically you can get almost all of the ingredients easily. Pasta from Italy for instance is widely stocked as is ham from Spain.

Its hard to find any cheese that isn't French. (We had a big discussion about getting cheddar in France a while ago on the France forum.)

Equally, you don't see a lot of "foreign" wine on the shelves either, but that's hardly surprising.

Our area is very rural and very localized. Most locals don't travel far. They like where they are & don't see a reason to go elsewhere. Yet, they are very curious and knowledgeable about the rest of the world. Also, they are very welcoming to strangers at least on a superficial level. It takes a lot of time, if one ever can, to become truly local. No matter how long I live here I will always be "the American", not in a pejorative sense, because I'm 'different'. The French will say: "he's a bit of a nut. But, he's a nice nut!"

Changes come fairly slowly. A big one in the village is that the bread in one of our two shops is no longer made in the village. When we first came it was nice to wake up, jet lagged, and see the smoke coming from Jacques Viguie's bread oven. His bread is a proper country French sour dough. No longer; Monique, Jacque's daughter, decided to go into the family business but moved it to Villefranche as its a much bigger town with more scope. (she now has 3 shops!) So now Jacques drives over every morning to pick up the bread for the village shop. Change. Will they keep the shop open when they decide to retire?

We've had a bit of a building boom. The government changed the planning laws a couple of years ago to encourage building new homes around the edges of the villages. This was to try to get young families to stay in the villages. (Mostly they couldn't afford to renovate the older houses & wanted modern conveniences) This has worked as we now have 5 new homes around the village. Again, slow change. We will see what happens with the new government.

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Here is the shopping list for anyone who wants to follow along with the dinner recipes:

11) Apricots (for a tart)

12) flour

13) butter

14) sugar

15) ground walnuts

Country Apricot tart.

I'm really looking forward to your Country Apricot Tart recipe - there are some great French apricots available at the market here in Tallinn at the moment, and I'm keen to try a nice French tart with them.

And I'm not envious at all that you get to eat all those cep mushrooms. I've been eating lots of fresh yellow chantarelle mushrooms during the last few days, and the wild mushroom season lasts until late autumn, so I'm all fine :rolleyes:

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This should be a fun blog. We spent a very few days in Paris recently, which had me really wanting to see the rest of France.

As for your mystery item, it looks like some sort of clamp, but food wise, the first two things that come to mind is either an egg ring, or an english muffin ring. I'd use it to make meat pies. :biggrin:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'm really looking forward to your Country Apricot Tart recipe - there are some great French apricots available at the market here in Tallinn at the moment, and I'm keen to try a nice French tart with them.

And I'm not envious at all that you get to eat all those cep mushrooms. I've been eating lots of fresh yellow chantarelle mushrooms during the last few days, and the wild mushroom season lasts until late autumn, so I'm all fine :rolleyes:

Hope you like the recipe. I can tell you that I got it many years ago from an article by Jacques Pepin. It works equally well with purple plums, peaches or nectarines.

We too are getting chanterelles, yummy. The cepes were a surprise as they were so early.

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This should be a fun blog.  We spent a very few days in Paris recently, which had me really wanting to see the rest of France. 

As for your mystery item, it looks like some sort of clamp, but food wise, the first two things that come to mind is either an egg ring, or an english muffin ring.  I'd use it to make meat pies. :biggrin:

Its hard to go wrong anywhere in France even though we favor our little corner.

You are right about the intended use being to clamp something. I like your food ideas, but they're not the use I have in mind.

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intended use: drainpipe holder

unintended use hanger for sausages? sorry im one track minded on this. if anyone saw my post in the kitchen consumer forum im trying to create the right chamber for drying sausages... ill be seeing them in my sleep next.

Mather! You got it! The intended use is indeed as a drainpipe holder.

gallery_28661_4804_78153.jpg

Here's one on our house.

However, you're nowhere close on the food use. I sympathize with your sausage drying problem, but I don't think this is the answer. Sorry!

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Ready for breakfast? Anyone who has spent much time in France will recognize what follows.

As I mentioned last night we fogies get together on Tuesday mornings for breakfast and to shoot the breeze. The was a lot of discussion this morning about why French wedding dinners take so long. (One of the guys had just been to one where aperitifs started at 6:00PM, they sat down at 9:30PM and he & his wife left at 1:15 AM after the main course, but before cheese, dessert or coffee.) We also had a long discussion about where to go this year to watch the Tour de France. The easy part was settling upon Mazamet. The hard part is choosing the restaurant for lunch afterwards. I got the restaurant assignment.

Not much more to say so here are some pictures just to make you drool a little bit.

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Here's the table.

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Croissants, pain au raison & torsacle. Note 2 different types of croissant; nature & beurre. Buy the beurre they're much richer!

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The bread from the local shop.

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Coffee.

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Jams. All home made by friends.

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Close up of pain au raison and Torsacle.

Alan's turn next week.

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gallery_28661_4818_5414.jpg

We're visiting Najac.

Najac is about 10 miles from where we live and as you see is an exceptionally pretty village. The drive over to Najac is equally nice as you pass through some very nice farmland sprinkled with cows, pass a duck farm with all of the foie gras on the hoof so to speak and go along a ridge with beautiful views to either side. You can make out the Averyron Gorge all the way from Villefranche to St Antonin. There are some favorite hiking paths around here.

You come down off the ridge passing a small well proportioned château until you reach & cross the river Averyron. Before you cross there is a nice Hotel Restaurant down a small lane (although John Whiting of French forum fame tells me that the restaurant has gone off!) Now you go up & up the hill to the village, the church and the château. 3/4 of the way up is our favorite pizzeria which does both Italian & French food. Cheap & cheerful!

At the top is the village.

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The village has a hotel/ restaurant (Bib Gourmand) and three cafes that serve food. There is an excellent pâtisserie as well as a general store. A favorite pass time for visitors is to look at the houses for sale in the windows of the Notaire and the Real Estate Agent. We can all dream can't we.

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The view down the hill.

Nothing fancy here, not very touristy but a very nice place to visit.

If you have the legs for it you can walk up to & around the château.

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The views are worth it!

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Oh that breakfast! It brings back excellent and hungry-making memories.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Before I forget here's the fridge photo.

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Nothing too dramatic. You can just see the magrets that I'm cooking for dinner near the bottom.

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Lurking at the back are my two jars of duck fat. Couldn't cook properly here without them. Fortunately duck fat seems to keep for a long time in the fridge.

I'm going to post the Apricot tart recipe next as I've now finished making it>

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Here's the Apricot Tart recipe with some pictures.

These rustic fruit tarts are easy to make and are especially good as we move through the summer and fully tree ripened fruits are progressively available. I’ve started with an Apricot tart because they are what is at their peak right now. In a few weeks it will be peaches, then plums and onto fall with pears. The technique of making the tart is the same no matter which fruit you choose to use.

Here goes: (pre-heat you oven to 190 degrees C.)

This pie is made on a cookie sheet or in my case a big round pizza sheet. Use whatever you have that suits and is large enough to contain the size of pie you want to make. For example my pizza sheet is about 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter.

Here's the mise en place:

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1) First make your pate brisée in the normal way. Make enough to cover the bottom of your container PLUS about 2 inches all around when rolled out thinly.

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2) Cut the apricots in half & take out the seeds.

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3) Mix some flour, sugar & the ground almonds in equal quantities. Make about 11/2 cup; more if your apricots are very ripe & will give off lots of juice. ( NOTE: I like my fruit tarts to be tart. If you like more sweetness then add more sugar to the mixture or you can sprinkle on sugar after you have assembled the tart.)

4) Roll out the pate brisée into a round or rectangle (depending upon the container you are using) the size of your pie PLUS about 2 inches all around.

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5) Coat the entire pie surface fairly evenly with the flour/sugar/almond mixture.

6) Lay a ring of apricots, cut side down, around the pie surface. Add a second ring inside that & so on until you’ve covered the surface. Now start a second layer beginning with a layer inside the bottom outside layer. Continue until you have used all of the apricots. (its Ok to go to 3 layer near the middle if you want to)

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7) Turn up the edge of the crust until it comes over the outer layer of apricots. It will naturally fold. Pinch the fold then move to the next segment. Keep going until you have folded the crust up all around the pie & have securely pinched it together.

8) Brush the folded edges with an egg wash (or a bit of water) and sprinkle on some sugar.

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9) Cook in the oven until the crust is nice & brown & the apricots are soft. Near the end you may want to turn on your broiler & brown the tops of the apricots & crust. Be careful though!

10) Cool on a rack & serve with ice cream.

gallery_28661_4828_2828.jpg

The finished product.

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Mather! You got it! The intended use is indeed as a drainpipe holder.

gallery_28661_4804_78153.jpg

Here's one on our house.

Oh!! I WAS close!!

Is the food use to clamp a filter (cheesecloth, muslin, whatever) to the mouth of a jar so you can pour two-handed and not have the fabric slide into the jar?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Oh!! I WAS close!!

Is the food use to clamp a filter (cheesecloth, muslin, whatever) to the mouth of a jar so you can pour two-handed and not have the fabric slide into the jar?

A very good thought, but still not it.

Think simple. I'm going to use mine tonight.

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That tart is beautiful. If those apricots taste as good as they look, you've got a great source. Are they grown locally? Sorry if I missed that earlier, but going back through the topic I still haven't spotted where you got them, much less how far they had to travel.

To what extent, if at all, is French produce becoming cultivated with an eye to ease of shipping and longer shelf life? California apricots seem to be a casualty of the market pressures, and the things we get out here in Minnesota are pale memories of what we used to be able to get.

Edited to add: if I had a clamp like that and was planning to barbecue, I'd use that ring as a cup-holder outside. Maybe the cup would hold basting fluid, or tools. Maybe it would hold my beverage. I think I'm going to have to get some of those.


Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Here's the Apricot Tart recipe with some pictures.

gallery_28661_4828_2828.jpg

The finished product.

Thank you, Dave - it looks fab (and suitably rustic :wink: )! It's quite interesting to have a layer of ground almonds, sugar & flour under the apricots - I wouldn't have thought of that, but I can see it gives a nice extra layer to the cake.

I hope to make it this weekend - and I like tart tarts too :raz:

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The breakfast basket full of beautiful breads - a sight to behold! And your apricot tart looks wonderful.

OK...you are going to use yours tonite...how about a trivet for hot pans on the table?

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Your breakfast table is mighty inviting, to say nothing of that beautiful apricot tart. Am loving your descriptions of everything. :wink:

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Here we go on dinner.

Of course the best laid plans go awry. Linda who had been shopping all day with her friend Jean in Montauban called at about 5:30 to say they were on their way home, but that she wouldn't want any dinner as they had had a big lunch of pintade. Here I am cooking for two on the blog!

Inspiration; I called Rob, Jean's husband, and invited him up for dinner since If Linda didn't want anything neither would Jean. This worked like a charm.

So, here's how you do Anaheim peppers with Brie on the BBQ.

1) Cut the peppers in half length ways. Then cut out the white ribs & scrape out the seeds.

2) Cut a nice piece of Brie into narrow strips.

3) Take both to a nice hot BBQ. Place the cut pepper, cut side down on the grill.

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4) when the peppers start to brown turn them over & put a piece of Brie into the cavity.

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5) let this cook until the Brie has melted and the peppers are soft. (on a hot grill this will only take 3-5 minutes)

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6) serve immediately.

For the zucchini first cut them into quarters length ways. Then coat them lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle herbs de Provence & garlic granules over them.

Place on your hot BBQ skin side down.

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Leave for 3-4 minutes then turn to one side and cook until browned.

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Do the same for the other side then serve hot.

For the Magret (duck breasts) first cut a cross hatch pattern on the fatty side trying to avoid cutting into the meat. Then rub a good coating of sea salt into the fat side.

Next gently sauté the magret, fat side down, in a frying pan on the stove. You will need to pour off & save the rendered duck fat at least twice. This process should take about 15 minutes.

Take the magret(s) to your BBQ and place Skin (fatty) side down on a medium hot grill. Put salt, pepper & fresh thyme leaves on the top.Cook until the fat is crisp & brown.

gallery_28661_4829_4128.jpg

Turn the heat up or move to a hot part of the grill and cook the other side. The timing depends upon how well cooked you like your meat. Traditionally, magret is cooked rare, quite pink.

When done take off the grill.

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Note that I was cooking the magret & the zucchini at the same time. Its just practice to get the timings right.

Next cut the magret into thin slices & arrange with the zucchini to serve. As you can see I've added a little pot of ailiade de Toulouse. (I'll give the recipe for this if anybody asks)

gallery_28661_4829_819.jpg

Delicious. Rob & I enjoyed ourselves and Linda & Jean had a bit despite not being hungry.

The good news was that Linda & Jean had bought something we could have for dessert.

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Lovely little white grapes marinated in cassis and covered with 70% chocolate.

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Its so easy to eat well!

As for wine we had some more of Sarah's rose and some Burgundian chardonnay.

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l.

To what extent, if at all, is French produce becoming cultivated with an eye to ease of shipping and longer shelf life?  California apricots seem to be a casualty of the market pressures, and the things we get out here in Minnesota are pale memories of what we used to be able to get.

Edited to add: if I had a clamp like that and was planning to barbecue, I'd use that ring as a cup-holder outside.  Maybe the cup would hold basting fluid, or tools.  Maybe it would hold my beverage.  I think I'm going to have to get some of those.

There does seem to be some trend that way, but if you buy your fruits in season on the local markets they will be the real thing. Obviously if you are buying out of season or buying something that isn't grown in France you will tend to get 'factory' farmed produce. Still, I think that in general in France the market doesn't put up with the worst excesses of terrible so called food.

I love your suggestions for uses for the mystery item even though they're wrong. I might just have to add a holder to my BBQ.

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The breakfast basket full of beautiful breads - a sight to behold!  And your apricot tart looks wonderful.

OK...you are going to use yours tonite...how about a trivet for hot pans on the table?

Yet another good idea. This item is getting steadily more useful even though nobody has come up with the use I have in mind and have seen demonstrated.

Keep trying.

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Recipe for ailiade de Toulouse: yes, I'm asking. Please!

The dinner looks terrific. I didn't see anything that had looked molded or clamped. I didn't see any free-standing terrines or cheesecakes that looked like they'd been molded in a collar of parchment paper held in shape by that clamp. I'm still thinking.

This might be one of the best ways even to develop new uses for old stuff, eh? :laugh:


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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      Before Newfoundland  became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony.  Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada.  Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although  the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English.  French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else.   Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France.  There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
       
      Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington.  In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon.  NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline.  By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles).
       
      The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's.  While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated.
       
      In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids.  There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice!  There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds.   They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears.
       
      Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
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