The Roots of a Growing Food Story
When we first started Mile One Eating House, Pemberton had in-your-face mountains, forests and raw adventure, but it’s foodie culture wasn’t quite so obvious.
I’ve worked in Tofino. With its foodie guild, festivals, ultra luxury accommodations, the food culture is a lot more prominent.
In Pemberton, you have to dig a bit deeper.
Pemberton’s story? Well, it’s really rooted in the soil. As organic potato grower, Anna Helmer, has said to me, “Everything that goes into making good potato soil has happened up here: receding glaciers, exploding volcanoes and frequent flooding.”
We do not use even a small portion of what the Pemberton Valley has to offer – the seasonal produce and smaller crops are perfectly suited to upscale restaurants like Araxi.
But the staples here - the carrots, potatoes, beef – are the staples of our menu.
In my definition, food culture means really respecting the ingredients, understanding the story behind the ingredients. We’re always looking for a great product. Something that tastes great, and has a great story behind it.
Usually, somewhere deep within there’s an artisan’s touch. It all comes back to the people. Everything we do, whether it’s the relish or sausages that we’re producing, or the ingredients we’re sourcing, there’s a person involved. The distillery? That’s Tyler. Our fisherman of albacore tuna? It’s Ian Bryce and his family. There’s a person behind these things. Not a giant corporate machine. Brewmasters. Winemakers. Artisans. People.
When more space became available next to Mile One Eating House, we opted to expand. But not with more restaurant seats. Instead, we’ve opened a scratch kitchen, workspace and retail arm, because at the end of the day, we want to feel as though we’ve added something to seed Pemberton’s growing foodie culture. Not just to have done more business, turned more tables.
We want to grow our creative culinary team’s craft. We want to share great regional BC foodie products. We want to showcase Pemberton’s food scene. And we want to offer an adjunct to a great dining experience – a way to make the best parts of a good meal linger – a way for people to feel even more deeply connected with the place, to get a real taste of things.
When Yahoo Travel declared Pemberton to be the best little farm to table town in Canada, that really tipped the scales for us. We always knew there was something worth calling out here. But other people are realizing it too, and we have the opportunity to help make that connection.
It’s what we’ve been doing, as a restaurant – bridging the gap between the producer and the diner. The Market is a chance to flesh that story out for anyone who’s interested. We want to put great food (and good food producers) on the map. Because they deserve our regard. We want to offer people the chance to sample the best of BC. And to take some comfort home.
We think of it as an incubator. A place for Pemberton’s foodie culture to get going. After all, if a huge proportion of North American table potatoes get their start here, what else might this beautiful Valley yield, given the right conditions, some hard work and a little bit of passion? Let’s get started.
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2015