BIRCH & BOAR
Everyone associated with the BC Gourmet Arts Festival believed it critical to ensure authenticity with the event, and this mandated including sponsors personally invested in its success. This includes local spotlight, Birch & Board Charcuterie and Provisions, one of my all-time favorite local businesses, and a weekly tradition I maintain years after its opening.
"We were inspired by our love of the great bodegas in big cities," says co-founder William Miller. "The small delis and meat shops you would find around Vancouver, New York, Chicago, Montreal, etc. We also love local food ecosystems, a big desire to see them grow and be pushed to the forefront."
William and co. needed to incorporate as many local suppliers as possible, pushing the "locally-sourced" mantra famous across the culinary scene.
"The taste difference is worth the price of admission to us. Seeing our local farmers sell within a community they work so hard in and seeing people experience the difference local makes."
The operation started modestly as a single booth at the local Farmers' Market run by a handful of friends—William along with Eoin Foley, Garrett Fedorkiw, and Warren Sunstrum.
"Two of us were chefs who had worked at a plethora of places, from Vancouver to Vegas. Eoin and Garrett were early adopters in the growing downtown PG food scene."
However, it wasn't always smooth sailing. The obvious initial pains of opening a deli were subsequently followed by the lockdowns that came with COVID and the struggle to maintain staffing.
"The last couple of years has been highly challenging. We've seen record closures of restaurants around the province due to the pandemic. The unseen costs of doing business skyrocketed, including gloves, sanitizer, and paper products. Shipping prices have grown astronomically. Supply chain issues of every sort due to every conceivable scenario have occurred. We are fortunate that we placed our bets on local farmers. We didn't have to wait for pork to come off a boat from Vancouver to supply our big box stores. We had to call Martin and ask him to drive down the road for us. We are also incredibly thankful and grateful to the Prince George Community at large for supporting us for what were trying times for everyone, not just small businesses."
Birch & Boar is just one example among many local businesses proving that the culinary scene in Prince George is expanding and improving with each passing year.
"Prince George is often overlooked in our culinary and craft contributions to the province at large," William added. "Yet across the province, they drink our craft beer, enjoy our hot sauces, and sell our beef in their restaurants as local quality. Prince George is a growing community of artists, farmers, crafters, foodies, chefs, and entrepreneurs. I want to see it celebrated and for everyone to be as proud as I am when I stamp "Made in Prince George" on my products."
Birch & Boar is a proud sponsor of the BC Gourmet Arts Festival. Along with supplying the food for Sunday's Top Taste Truck Competition, B&B will also be selling various products on site.