Pantry Essentials

By Miche Genest          Photos by Cathie Archbould


Households across the Yukon have been enjoying locally produced vegetables, meat, cheese, and eggs for several years, and our cohort of artisanal producers is thriving. But until recently, we have not had a regular, locally produced supply of three pantry essentials: milk, grains, and flour. Now, praise be to the farmers, that has changed.

Trevor and Marie Amiot, of Hinterland Flour Mill, and Krista and Jason Roske, of Sunnyside Farm, are the farmers in question. Both families have worked their farms near Whitehorse for some years; the Amiots started off in livestock and animal feed before shifting to grain for human consumption, and the Roskes have offered eggs, poultry, and market-garden vegetables through farm-gate and food-club sales. For both families, there came a moment when they spied an opportunity and went for it.

The Amiots had long been struck by the quality of their feed barley and its suitability for the Yukon’s growing conditions. They were already considering producing grain for human consumption when Trevor read an article about hull-less barley, in which the hull is so loosely attached to the kernel it falls off during harvesting, resulting in easier processing and a more nutritious grain. He took the leap and planted some. “It turned out really well, and I just decided to get the flour mill on the go,” he says. At first the Amiots milled flour for themselves, testing recipes on their friends and their two kids, aged nine and six, who ate a lot of pancakes.

The Amiots’ Hinterland Flour Mill goods arrived in stores in May of 2021—whole barley, barley flour, hard red spring wheat flour, and a few packaged mixes for cookies and those pancakes. The response was immediate and positive, and the Hinterland repertoire of products has kept expanding ever since. (The brownie mix, I can attest, is fabulous.) As Trevor says, “Because the price point of our flour [is] high, we need every angle for people to get to know our product and get used to cooking with it.” The Amiots are producing 500–600 tonnes of grain on their 400 acres, but it doesn’t all go into flour and grains for humans. They’re still feeding animals, which means that no part of their product is wasted.

Jason Roske was keen on the idea of dairy farming way before Krista bought in. “He had to drag me along for a while,” she says. “But we do like a challenge, and nobody else was doing it.” The couple assessed the feasibility of a large-size dairy operation, and then came a scary moment, says Krista, when they realized, “Hey, this is doable.” The Roskes had the foundation and the manure pit dug for that large operation when one of their funders didn’t come through, and they were forced to scale down. “Jason and I had a new design and were ready to go in one week,” says Krista.

They started off with six cows, Jerseys and Jersey crosses, valued for the high fat content of their milk. By the early summer, the Roskes were producing 160 two-litre jugs of whole milk and 13 kg of butter per week. Their products were in several Whitehorse grocery stores—the butter sold out as soon as it hit the shelves—and Kate Roske, 14, was having a blast in the kitchen, making ice cream and baked goods.

The Roskes hope to be milking 10 cows this fall, and dreams of a larger operation have not gone away. Future plans include cottage cheese, sour cream, and other cultured dairy products, but not skim or 2% milk, coffee cream or whipping cream—too logistically complicated. Instead, they’ll stick to unhomogenized whole milk, where the fat separates into a layer of cream after a couple of days and can be scooped out by a long spoon or shaken back into the milk. It’s a style of milk closer to what our grandparents drank and closer to the Roske’s hearts.

The Roskes and the Amiots neither can nor want to replace all the grain, flour, and milk that come up the highway. Rather, they hope to contribute to food security and feed their community with high quality, delicious products. So far, so good.

We used Hinterland Mill flours and Sunnyside Farm milk and butter in all the following recipes, and they worked beautifully.

Whole Wheat and Barley Quick Bread

A simple, quick bread with a wonderful nutty flavour.

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) barley flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) hard red spring wheat flour
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 (2.5 ml) tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole milk, soured with 1 tbsp (15 ml) apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) birch syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and liberally butter a 9 x 5-inch (23 x 13-cm) loaf pan.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.


  3. Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing with a few quick strokes. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  4. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the top is golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a rack. Slice when thoroughly cool.

Makes 4 servings.