Christmas at Birken House

It might be cold, but that’s a great excuse to treat yourself to something cosy from Square Knits. If you prefer internal warmth, Pemberton Distillery will be on hand.

Put the finishing touch to your Seasonal décor or indulge in some lavender From The Garden Shed.

If you still need a last minute gift, how about some unique clothing from Earth and Elle or skin care/bath accessories from Sharon’s Herbal Healing. Michelle Whitlock will be bringing her jams, pickles and salsa and her mom’s crocheted baby moccasins.

Christene Crowe and Birken House Bakery will have something to satisfy those on your list with a sweet tooth and, for a healthier option, stock up on apples and squash from Blackwater Creek Orchard.

 

If you’re hungry Gimse Farm will be serving bratwurst, and Birken House Bakery will have pretzels, beef chilli, vegan curry and hot apple cider to keep you warm.

Christmas at Birken House

Christmas at Birken House

This year we’re having an outdoor Christmas market. Yes it might be cold, but that’s a great excuse to treat yourself to something cosy from Square Knits. If you prefer internal warmth, Pemberton Distillery will be on hand.

Put the finishing touch to your Seasonal décor or indulge in some lavender From The Garden Shed.

If you still need a last minute gift, how about some unique clothing from Earth and Elle or skin care/bath accessories from Sharon’s Herbal Healing. Michelle Whitlock will be bringing her jams, pickles and salsa and her mom’s crocheted baby moccasins.

Christene Crowe and Birken House Bakery will have something to satisfy those on your list with a sweet tooth and, for a healthier option, stock up on apples and squash from Blackwater Creek Orchard.

If you’re hungry Gimse Farm will be serving bratwurst, and Birken House Bakery will have pretzels, beef chilli, vegan curry and hot apple cider to keep you warm.

Winter Deliveries

We’ve reluctantly decided not to do deliveries every two weeks this winter. Last year there just weren’t enough orders to make it worthwhile, and it was a lot of driving and sitting around, so year we’re trying something different. We’re going to try to set up a ‘ pop up’ market stall about once a month at various local events and locations. The first will be this Sunday, November 10th at Helmer Farm Open House. Remember if you want something specific and you’re worried we’ll run out you can always place an order through the website and we’ll have it waiting for you!

Food for Thought…..

Food for Thought…..

As a Board Member of the Pemberton Farmers’ Market, I’m passionate about locally sourced food, and understand the importance of supporting our local farmers. I also believe that the strength of a community lies in its ability to support those members who face financial challenges that sometimes prevent them participating fully in community life. That’s why I was pleased to find an opportunity to support both, and I’d like to ask you to consider doing the same.

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP) is a partnership between the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, the Province of British Columbia, and Provincial Health Services. Community partner organizations distribute coupons to lower-income families and seniors who participate in their food literacy programs. These coupons can be spent at all participating BC farmers’ markets to purchase vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, cut herbs, meat and fish. The goal of the program is to provide fresh local food to thousands of British Columbians facing economic barriers, while directly supporting local farmers across BC. 

Each week for 16 weeks (beginning in June of each year), coupons of $21 value are distributed to each participant to use at his/her weekly farmers’ market. Our local partner in Pemberton is Sea to Sky Community Services, and last year we were able to support 31 local families. This year, we have identified 40 families and/or seniors who qualify, but we are not guaranteed any particular level of government support. In addition, the funded portion of the program does not allow support of individuals who are not pregnant or seniors, whereas individual donations can do so.

A donation of $25 will allow a low income individual or family to access fresh produce from local growers at the weekly Farmers’ Market. $400 allows them to have that access for the whole season. Individuals, local businesses, sports teams and other organizations can now donate directly to the FMNCP and be eligible for a charitable tax receipt. For more details, or to make your donation, contact our market manager Molli Reynolds or donate directly here. Remember to designate Pemberton as the community to be supported if you want the most local benefit. 

I’m going to be making a donation this year in memory of my mother, May McAdam, a lifelong farmer and passionate community volunteer, who passed away in Ireland in September last year at the age of 91. My brother told me she slipped peacefully away, shortly after he told her that all the barley was sold and the weather had held for baling the straw…. 

Why not give the gift of fresh, locally grown food to families facing economic barriers, while supporting your local farmers?

The Problem with Packaging

The Problem with Packaging

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about packaging. As a baker, it’s always seemed crazy to me that a product that has a shelf life of a few days should be wrapped in packaging that lasts for hundreds of years. In the Pemberton area we’re fortunate that lots of our plastic packaging can now be recycled at the transfer station, but I’m more than a little concerned that much of this plastic will end up in a landfill somewhere anyway, due to it being contaminated, or there not being a market for it.

When I started the bakery, I really wanted to follow the Cradle to Cradle principle- that all my packaging should be reusable or compostable. Living in Birken, it also made more sense to me that it should be backyard compostable- driving my compost to Pemberton so it can be trucked to Whistler to an industrial compost facility is better than shipping plastic to China or India for recycling, but it’s still not ideal.

If we’re just selling bread at the Farmer’s market, packaging is not a big problem- bread and pies go in compostable paper bags or cardboard boxes, jam goes in a reusable jar. At Christmas, we use compostable cellophane (made from wood cellulose), raffia (a fibre from palm trees) and reusable silver bells. The packaging has a cost, and it’s built into the product. However, once we started selling granola, it became a bit more challenging. At first we sold it in olive jars that we had on hand, with a small deposit, but they take several weeks to come back and many never do. We needed a more permanent solution, and for now that involves purchasing larger jars, which come at a significant cost. We’ve therefore decided to work on a refill principle. We’re selling granola in two sizes- 900ml and 1.8L. The small size will cost $10- $8 is for the granola, and $2 for the jar. If you’re a repeat customer and return your last jar, the cost will be $8. If you want to keep the jar and reuse it for something else, that’s great. The large size will cost $20, which includes $4 for the jar. That means the refill cost, if you return your jar, is $16. If you want to keep the jars, it’s easy to purchase new lids for them in any store that sells canning supplies. Better still, if you have the same jars in good condition taking up space in a cardboard box in your basement, get in touch and I’ll buy them from you. The good news is that there are many companies working on making backyard compostable ‘bio-plastics’, and we’ll soon have more options.

We know it’s a little inconvenient- you have to save your jars and remember to bring them back. It’s just like remembering to bring your reusable bag when you go to the grocery store. We hope you agree with us that in the bigger picture, it’s worth it.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, except for a great piece of advice given to me by my father: “at the end of every year ask yourself if you still enjoy what you’re doing, and if you don’t, resolve to not be doing it this time next year.” Good advice indeed (and one of the reasons I am now a baker!).

However, this year I’ve resolved to get better at both cooking and baking in the wood fired oven by doing it every week. The plan is to light the oven on Saturday morning, bake pizza in a hot oven on Saturday night, and then bake bread on Sunday morning with the heat still left in the oven. I’ve discovered that there’s still enough heat left to cook dinner on Sunday evening too, which is awesome. This week I made einkorn sourdough bread, and there was enough heat left in the oven for roasted butternut squash, lentil and kale salad and a roasted beetroot and goat cheese tart. A great start but, like most resolutions, we’ll see how long it lasts!

Welcome to the Bakery

Welcome to the Bakery

Welcome to our brand new website! It’s been a long time coming, but after a busy summer we finally found time to get it up and running. Thanks so much to Michelle Nortje of Moose Web design for doing such a great job.

Like many folks in the Sea to Sky, November is a chance to recover from the busy summer market season and catch my breath before the busy Christmas season begins. That means I’m taking a break to spend some time with family, and my next delivery will be on Friday December 14th. If you already know what you’d like, why not try out the new order form on the website? I’d love to hear what you think.

I’m not putting my feet up just yet though. First I have to finish my Christmas fruitcakes and traditional Christmas puddings. These aren’t up on the website order form, but you can send me an email if you’d like to order something seasonal. The fruit is already soaking in brandy and over the next week I’ll be making the cakes and putting them to sleep for a few weeks wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth. Actually I might even try that myself!