On our way through the Beartooth Mountains to the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park we stopped in Cooke City, Montana. We had a quick lunch and popped in to the Cooke City Store, one of the oldest general stores still in operation. I love the feeling of historic/old places. I always try to imagine what it must have been like when it first opened.
Any way, while roaming about the store I noticed lots of tasty treats made with huckleberries or chokecherries. Come to find out, both are local to Wyoming and Montana. Here are some fun facts:
They are native to the northwestern United States and Canada, growing from Wyoming west to Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. They also grow in Idaho and Montana. They require elevations of from 2,000 to 11,000 feet and reportedly thrive in acidic mountain soil. Most huckleberries are still grown in the wild (mostly in national parks) and apparently they may require 15 years of growth to reach full maturity.
The chokecherry is considered by some to be the most widespread tree in North America. It is found from Newfoundland to British Colombia, through all but the most northern of our boreal forests. It ranges across the northern half of the United States, being found in the Appalachians south to Georgia and in the Rockies through southern Arizona and New Mexico. For many Native American tribes particularly in the northern Rockies, northern Plains, and boreal forest region, chokecherry was a staple food item. They are a favorite of bears too, but are toxic to horses.