The Old Grist Mill Pantry Share

Comments 56 by Steffani Cameron

The following has been contributed by Steffani Cameron, who lives and works in Victoria. Just before the pandemic she completed a 4-year worldwide adventure that she has chronicled at FullNomad.com.

Grist Mill Pantry Share

The Old Grist Mill Pantry Share

There are folks with passions and there are geeks. Chris Mathieson is a geek. His whole career has been a series of geek-outs – Executive Director at Vancouver’s Police Museum, Assistant Director at a gifted teens’ excursion called the Satori Camp in Spokane, Washington. Today, he’s the head geek and chief nerd of all things food, history, and garden at the Old Grist Mill & Garden in Keremeos

These days, that means rolling up his sleeves and creating great edible delights from the bounty grown at the Old Grist Mill and the surrounding farms and offered through their delectable “Pantry Share Program.”

If you’ve never been, the Old Grist Mill in Keremeos is a wonderland where heritage agriculture meets history in Canada’s food basket of the Similkameen Valley, adjacent to the famous big sibling, the Okanagan. Nestled in a valley the Crowsnest Highway slices through, the Grist Mill and Keremeos are often overlooked by those in hot pursuit of wine-tasting in the Okanagan. 

But it’s a highly recommended stop.

When it’s not a pandemic, that is.

Grist Mill Pantry Share

The grounds are gorgeous – the perfect place to get out and stretch your legs after a long drive. Explore the heritage gardens, learn about the importance of seed-saving in significant agricultural regions like the Similkameen and Okanagan. But then eat in their terrific restaurant – good, honest fare that’s well-priced and locally sourced.

Proprietor since 2013, Mathieson loves the Grist Mill’s gardens and its food-history contribution to BC. In his early years, restoring the grist mill was a labour of love done to precision. Today, he’s using a well-earned grant to expand their historical gardens. 

As a true history geek, of course his first step in creating the new grant-driven gardens was to dive into research at the provincial archives in Victoria, where I caught up with him and took a delivery of some of the world-class preserves he’s been cranking out of their kitchen.

Mathieson is outspoken and passionate on everything from heirloom vegetables to social responsibility, so he’s been first in line with cancelling camping reservations or closing their doors when public safety has a priority. But doing the right thing doesn’t mean the pandemic hasn’t taken a toll on his tourist-driven business too. 

Luckily, his knowledge of food and food history meant he could turn to something else to raise funds – the art of preservation.

Latching onto the trending “Consumer-Supported Agriculture” (CSA) programs out there, he launched their “Pantry Share Program” three years ago, but it exploded in popularity during 2020, thanks to the pandemic. 

How the Pantry Share Works

Essentially, you pay in advance for guaranteed product from their upcoming harvest. So, you pay to secure $200 or more worth of preserves from whatever harvest the Grist Mill has this year. That puts you front of the line for this year’s Lilac Jelly or “Cowboy Candy” Candied Jalapeno. You choose the products you want – out of some 120 or so products.

The Old Grist Mill is a purveyor of preservations of a different ilk. With over 200 edible plants and fruits, many being heirloom varieties, on the Grist Mill’s 12 acres of heritage gardens, plus a strong showing from Keremeos’ local producers, they’re banging out over 10,000 jars of artisanal preserves a season.

Running the joint since 2013, preservation isn’t new to Mathieson, since that’s what historical food was all about. But he’s been ramping their project up every season.

From chutneys to powders to jellies and puddings, his curiosity and ongoing quest for innovation means he loves product research and experimentation. 

As is explained on the Grist Mill Pantry Share page, “For every $100 in your share, you can expect to receive an average of ten jars (110mL jars for jellies, 375mL and 500mL for pickles, and 190mL for almost anything else) of product across all of our kinds of products.” It works out to about a 15% discount off retail pricing.

The products include jellies and jams, salsas, chutneys, powders, and even seasonal products, like their famous boozy Christmas fruitcake. Learn more about the program and sign up here.

Grist Mill Pickles

Being a food nerd myself, I was chuffed to try out some of the Grist Mill’s products that Mathieson sent my way. Turns out, when you’ve got a history nerd with a passion for cooking, it results in some tasty and unique product!

Please help keep an important part of BC’s food history alive in Keremeos. All it takes is buying and eating delicious things to support one of BC’s great food communities.

Win a $200 Pantry Share Credit

You can join the Pantry Share! Miss604 is giving away a $200 credit, which means you’ll get a delivery of this wonderful, delicious bounty right to your door when they do their next run. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post (1 entry)
  • Like/comment on this post on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Copy/paste the following on Twitter (1 entry)
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

One winner will be drawn at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Winner must live within the delivery area which is Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley or Okanagan. UPDATE! The winner is Heather.

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56 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Jason BThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 6:48pm PDT

    Excellent

  2. HeatherThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 6:51pm PDT

    Oh my gosh! What a wonderful program!! From a beautiful little part of our province. ❤️

  3. Barbara CalderThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 6:53pm PDT

    Love to do anything I can to support farmers! Brilliant idea. Looks absolutely delicious, too. 😋

  4. Anne BThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 7:07pm PDT

    What a cool idea!

  5. MaryanneThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 7:27pm PDT

    This would be amazing. We love that place!

  6. AlisonThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 7:57pm PDT

    So wonderful to find hidden gems of new, innovative food purveyors, from the bounty of BC!

  7. Amy PezzenteThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 9:03pm PDT

    Love this!!!!!!

  8. Claudia AndrewsThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 9:16pm PDT

    THIS IS SUCH A GREAT IDEA!! WOW THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE! Thanks a MILLION Miss 604 for this TOTALLY AWESOME CONTEST and a CHANCE TO TRY THIS WONDERFUL SERVICE!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the IDEA!

  9. Nicole-Ann PoitrasThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 9:17pm PDT

    This is such a great program and idea, and a great way to support a wonderful endeavor.

  10. LoriThursday, May 6th, 2021 — 9:50pm PDT

    Sounds delicious!

  11. LindaFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 12:07am PDT

    This sounds like a great way to bot get quality products and support makers directly.

  12. TonyFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 4:25am PDT

    Will always support Farmers! Great contest!

  13. Tabby72Friday, May 7th, 2021 — 6:30am PDT

    This is a great way to support local!

  14. Jax BaileyFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 7:28am PDT

    This sounds like an awesome program to be involved in

  15. CindyFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 8:03am PDT

    What a great idea!!

  16. TaniaFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 8:06am PDT

    This is very cool!😎

  17. RinoFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 8:07am PDT

    This would be amazing!

  18. LoriFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 8:15am PDT

    Thank you for the info. Driven past several times but didn’t know what it was. Will check them out.

  19. jane lillian jamesFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 9:26am PDT

    Sounds like a wonderful concept. I can’t wait to try it myself.

  20. EmmaFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 9:42am PDT

    What a great bundle! I would love to try all these local foods.

  21. Zuzana TycFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 9:54am PDT

    we will definitely visit as soon as the restrictions are lifted

  22. TanyaFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 10:00am PDT

    Looks amazing! Great idea!

  23. NicoleFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 11:01am PDT

    What a great concept!

  24. WenFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 12:40pm PDT

    It is wonderful to know about this. Thanks!

  25. ramona lomuFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 1:17pm PDT

    this place is amazing!

  26. RobFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 5:36pm PDT

    This is a great idea to help farmers keep producing both innovative and heritage products

  27. Michelle WFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 7:27pm PDT

    Sounds great!

  28. AngelaFriday, May 7th, 2021 — 7:39pm PDT

    I would love this!

  29. Ray CSaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 6:52am PDT

    Tasty!

  30. SherrySaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 10:32am PDT

    Chris had been such an innovative person saving the culture and heritage of the historical Grist Mill. I am so happy that he received a grant this year to preserve the historic gardens on the site. He will be employing a lot of summer students this year, giving locals jobs. Way to go Chris!

  31. TracySaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 10:47am PDT

    This sounds wonderful!

  32. Shirley SSaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 12:24pm PDT

    This is such a great way to support local.

  33. Heather GardinerSaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 4:54pm PDT

    I only recently learned about the Old Grist Mill and plan to visit this year (it’s in my health region). While looking at their site I read about this program and think it’s such a great idea!

  34. Debbie FSaturday, May 8th, 2021 — 7:11pm PDT

    Sounds like a great idea

  35. Tina MenchionsSunday, May 9th, 2021 — 12:20am PDT

    Love the Grist Mill! Beautiful grounds and a slice of BC history.

  36. Michael BSunday, May 9th, 2021 — 3:38pm PDT

    This would be amazing…what a unique prize!!

  37. ElizabethSunday, May 9th, 2021 — 3:39pm PDT

    I can only imagine how good everything tastes…here’s hoping I win!! 🙂

  38. LauraSunday, May 9th, 2021 — 4:29pm PDT

    Oh – yum! We plan to visit the Old Grist Mill when it’s safe to travel again.

  39. NicoleSunday, May 9th, 2021 — 8:43pm PDT

    Yum 🙂

  40. CarolMonday, May 10th, 2021 — 10:42am PDT

    This program is a great idea.

  41. Jill KMonday, May 10th, 2021 — 3:32pm PDT

    Lovely local products !

  42. Jeff SMonday, May 10th, 2021 — 4:58pm PDT

    Awesome!

  43. TiffMonday, May 10th, 2021 — 9:42pm PDT

    Love the idea of a pantry share program! Also a very convenient way to support and try local goods when it’s delivered right to your door!

  44. ChristelTuesday, May 11th, 2021 — 8:07pm PDT

    Awesome

  45. daneTuesday, May 11th, 2021 — 8:50pm PDT

    yummy!

  46. Lucie BTuesday, May 11th, 2021 — 10:06pm PDT

    Interesting concept!

  47. Miles MWednesday, May 12th, 2021 — 11:41am PDT

    Yummm… sounds fabulous! Crossing my fingers 🙂

  48. Kathleen BWednesday, May 12th, 2021 — 12:34pm PDT

    Sounds so yummy

  49. VivianWednesday, May 12th, 2021 — 10:03pm PDT

    I visited this beautiful place and ate at their restaurant on site a few years back!

  50. amy liuWednesday, May 12th, 2021 — 11:19pm PDT

    thanks for the chance

  51. MarilynThursday, May 13th, 2021 — 1:47am PDT

    I love to try new condiments, especially with bbq season here!

  52. Micheal DirkThursday, May 13th, 2021 — 1:50am PDT

    This would be so good.

  53. RonThursday, May 13th, 2021 — 8:26am PDT

    Would love to win this!

  54. mikeSunday, May 16th, 2021 — 7:19pm PDT

    Sounds delicious!

  55. angelaSunday, May 16th, 2021 — 7:20pm PDT

    I would love to win this to fill our pantry and enjoy all these delectable treats!

  56. NeleMonday, May 17th, 2021 — 12:01pm PDT

    What a great idea!

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