Amanda Kilborn was travelling from Ontario through the Northwest Territories when a car accident derailed her plans. She eventually found her way to her sister, who lived around the Shuswap lakes and started to build her bakery, Forest and Food Fixations.
Initially, Amanda approached the Sorrento Village Farmers’ Market in 2017 to sell foraged foods like mushrooms and berries. She had experience foraging as a hobby in Ontario and was inspired by the abundance of mushrooms in BC. However, foraging can be inconsistent, so she started to bake.
“I needed something supplementary to my foraging because you can’t always find things,” said Amanda. “Now, the foraging is supplementary to my baking.”
It wasn’t Amanda’s first foray into baking. She trained as a baker at George Brown College in Toronto and worked as a baker in a café. At the farmers market, she started to sell artisanal bread like sourdough, brioche buns, homestyle loaves, and baked goods, often infused with her forest findings.
“Going to the market was more accessible than going to grocers,” said Amanda. “It made it easier for me to get my bread out there for people to try.”
Eventually, the grocers came to her. She was approached by the local Askew’s Foods and other grocers and cafés to sell her breads in-store. Now, she bakes full time and spent the last year equipping her new kitchen.
Despite her growth, Amanda still sees the farmer’s farmer’s market as the heart of her business.
“The farmer’s market is a place to engage in the community, and to see the same people seasonally is wonderful,” said Amanda. “That just feeds my soul, and I think that’s what really makes it different from just being a loaf of bread in a store.”
“People may not know who I am, so if they see me at a market, like the ones I do outside of my usual markets, they put a face to the name and love that. They love to know who is making their food.”
For the moment, Amanda is content with slowly growing her budding business and foraging on the side. In the off-season, she offers identification tours to teach others to identify local edible foods. However, she dreams of future possibilities like offering baking classes or opening her own bakery café.