Summer Live/Work Opportunity at Birken House

We’re looking for a couple to join us for the busy summer season. We are a small bakery and Air b’n’b located in Birken, a half hour drive north of Pemberton, BC. We make awesome sourdough bread and baked goods for the local community and run an Air b’n’b. We host regular wood fired pizza nights and other events in the grounds of the bakery, and try to grow as many of our ingredients as possible in our vegetable garden.

Who will this suit?

A community spirited couple who enjoy country life, aren’t afraid of hard work and want to spend a summer in paradise! Between the two of you, you should have previous experience/interest in:

Gardening (vegetables and flowers), baking, food prep/service (a barista would be awesome), general yardwork building/property maintenance, use of basic tools, simple repairs and maintenance and air b’n’b cleaning. However, you should both be willing to learn new skills and jump in and do whatever needs to be done to keep the place running smoothly. You’ll be working under supervision, so you don’t need to be an expert.

What are we offering?

You will help us out with the bakery, air b’n’b and property on 3 days a week and in return we’ll provide you with a cool place to live in beautiful surroundings. We’re suggesting 3x 5hr days per person but you may wish to split the time differently, with one person doing more and one less, or days of different lengths. We’re happy to discuss other options. The other 4 days are your own. You can work elsewhere, work from home (we have good internet), or travel. If we need additional help beyond these hours and you’d like to take it on, we pay $20/hr for the extra time worked.

You’ll have your own cabin beside our house, with a living space with wood stove, full kitchen, bathroom and a sleeping loft. Electricity and wifi are included (we have no mobile phone service). It’s currently partially furnished. We can add more furniture if you don’t have your own.

When can you start?

The position starts asap and runs through the summer until mid October, when the bakery closes. You may be able to stay on in the cabin until the end of November by mutual agreement, but we  need it back in December.

What’s the next step?

Please send us a message by email only to [email protected], telling us why you think you’d be a great fit. No phone calls please. We’re busy, they get missed/lost and we all lose out.

References will be required.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

Workers at Birken House Bakery are the owner and spouse, plus one additional employee. The primary goal of this plan is to protect our employee, in addition to our customers.

Site Management

Goal: Modify the working environment and business operations to minimize the potential for COVID-19 to spread in the workplace.

Engineering Controls

  • Patio door to be used for access and egress from the bakery. Hand washing at the adjacent hand wash sink is mandatory when entering and before leaving the building.
  • Internal doors to be kept open whenever possible to minimize the need to touch door handles.
  • Employee(s) will be provided with a sealable bin for their personal belongings.
  • Employee(s) lunch etc. to be placed in plastic bag for storage in fridges etc. Employee(s) to bring their own cutlery etc. as necessary.

Administrative Controls

  • No visitors permitted in the bakery, except for essential personnel required to run the business.
  • Employee(s) should declare they are symptom-free when arriving for the day. If they have any symptoms, even mild symptoms, they must go home.
  • Communal food / sharing of meals to be avoided.
  • Employee(s) will be provided with a clean, non-medical mask and apron each day, and are required to place these into the washing machine at the end of the day.

Offsite (Market) Operations

  • All products to be bagged/ boxed/packaged prior to departure for the market.
  • Workers to wash/sanitize their hands and market tables after unloading/setup and prior to unpacking products.
  • While at the market, one person will exclusively handle cash and other forms of payment.
  • Workers should limit direct handling of credit/debit cards where possible and allow customers to scan/tap them.


Physical Distancing

Goal: To minimize in-person social interactions and increase the space between people to eliminate potential transmission of the virus.

Engineering Controls

  • Each worker will be designated their own worktable for general tasks within the bakery.
  • Each worker will have their own small scale.
  • Wash your hands before using the bulk scale, mixer or accessing flour storage bins.
  • Breaks/lunch to be taken at your own worktable or outside (weather permitting).
  • Where possible, workers should work more than 2 metres (6 feet) apart

Offsite (Market) Operations

  • It is acknowledged that social distancing may be challenging during setup, take down and while vending at the market. Workers will be provided with non-medical masks for use while travelling to and from the market together, during setup and takedown, and while serving the public if social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Personal Hygiene & Personal Protective Equipment

Goal: Have all employees practice diligent personal hygiene, and use personal protective equipment where necessary to minimize their risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in the workplace.

Engineering Controls

  • Washroom will have liquid soap, paper towels and warm running water at all times.
  • Hand sanitizer, gloves and clean, non-medical masks will be available at entrance/exit.

Administrative Controls

  • Workers must wash their hands at the start of their shift, before eating or drinking, after touching shared items (bulk scale, mixer, flour bins), after using the washroom and before leaving the worksite.
  • Workers must follow cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Workers must avoid touching their face without first cleaning their hands.
  • Workers are required to wear non-medical masks while packing finished baked goods.

Offsite (Market) Operations

  • Workers are required to wear non-medical masks while travelling to and from the market together, during setup and takedown, and while serving the public if social distancing cannot easily be maintained.


Goal: Increase cleaning and disinfection of common touch points to prevent COVID-19 from spreading through contaminated surfaces.

Engineering Controls

  • Plastic lined waste containers provided to dispose of used tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials.
  • Sanitizer provided so employees can sanitize their own workstations as necessary.

Administrative Controls

  • Cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas (e.g. cooler, freezer and regular door handles, faucets, bathrooms, hand-held tools, switches, control panels, scale, mixer etc.) to happen at the end of every day.
  • Dirty surfaces to be cleaned with soap and water before disinfecting with quaternary ammonium.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Gloves and masks to be available for cleaner.

Offsite (Market) Operations

  • Market tables to be sanitized every 15 minutes or if a customer has placed a bag, cellphone etc. on it.
  • Contactless payment (square) to be cleaned if it has been necessary to insert a card.
  • Hand sanitizer to be available beside contactless payment for customer use.

Return to Work Policies

Goal: To maintain a healthy workforce by ensuring that sick employees remain home for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms and do not return to work until safe to do so.

Administrative Controls

  • If, while at work, an employee starts experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild, the employee will be asked to don a mask and to leave work immediately, go straight home, and have them contact their family physician/primary care provider or 8-1-1 for further guidance.
  • Objects and surfaces (e.g. tools, tables) touched by sick employees to be disinfected before being used by others.
  • Employees who are sick with any symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with cold, influenza or COVID-19, even if symptoms are mild, they must not work, remain at home, and contact Health Link BC at 8-1-1.
  • A thermometer will be available on site. Anyone with a temperature over 37.5°C may have a fever and should consult with their family physician/primary health care provider.


Baking in the time of COVID-19

As the world unravels around us, we tend to gravitate to the comfort that a familiar routine brings. For me, that’s baking and so we’ve decided to start opening the bakery every Saturday morning to provide fresh bread and baked goods to our neighbours in the 452. We’ll keep this up for as long as we can. Suppliers don’t deliver here at the best of times, so looking forward who knows what will happen, but we’ll take it week by week.

Birken House Bakery will be open every Saturday from 9am-noon until further notice. We prefer that you order online, so we can minimize waste and the time you need to spend here, and the cut off for orders will be noon on Wednesday.

There are three options for payment. You can pay in advance by e-transfer, or at the bakery where we will have contactless payment (tap). We’ll also put out a cash jar for those who prefer to pay that way, but we will not be able to give you change, so please bring the exact amount.

There will be no access inside the bakery, but when you arrive just give us your name and we’ll put your order outside on a table for you. We’ve been in contact with Vancouver Coastal Health and are following their recommendations (observing hand washing recommendations, sanitizing the table frequently, etc.)

We’re starting with a limited bread selection and will be rotating in a few new products and old favourites. If there’s something you’d like to see us try, send us a message and we’ll do it if we can.

Stay safe, stay sane!

Eileen and Michael


We’re Hiring!

We’re Hiring!


Bakery Assistant

Birken House Bakery is looking for the perfect part-time person to join us in making awesome bread and baked goods for the busy summer Farmers’ Market season.

We are a small production bakery located in Birken, a half hour drive north of Pemberton, BC focused on hand crafted naturally leavened artisan breads, wood fired bagels, and baked goods using local summer produce. We source high quality local, natural and often organic ingredients.

What do you need me to do?

The work will be varied! You might be scaling and preparing bread doughs, making cookies, lighting and tending to the wood fired oven, washing dishes, cleaning the bakery, loading the truck, or helping with set up and vending at the weekly Pemberton Farmers’ market.

We need someone to work Wednesday-Friday from June-October. There is some flexibility in the hours worked each day. You may occasionally be asked to help at community events/ pizza nights if you’re available, but this is not essential.

What sort of person do you need?

You must be reliable, show up on time, be detail oriented and prepared to work hard. Previous commercial baking experience is not required, but ideally you will be a passionate home baker who wants to improve you skills. This would be a great opportunity for someone considering a career as a commercial baker. You should be capable of lifting a 20kg bag of flour and standing for long periods of time. You should be able to listen well, follow instructions and jump in where required. You should have a drivers’ license and your own car, or access to reliable transportation.

What do you offer?

We offer competitive pay and a bright, sunny work environment in a spectacular location. You can also take home a freshly baked loaf of bread each week. We do not offer accommodation, but if you can provide your own we have space and electrical hookup for a trailer. If you have gardening or vegetable growing experience, there may be the opportunity to extend this to a full time job by adding two days in the garden each week.

How do I apply?

Please submit a resume and cover letter to [email protected]

No phone calls please.

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.

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…..

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!