yxe food

Local Shopping Made Easy

sask made.jpg

When looking to support locally produced or sourced products it can be a bit of a daunting task.  I can almost guarantee that if asked each one of you would LOVE to support more local businesses but cost and convenience would be factors that may lead you astray. This is something I know all too well as I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to support as much locally produced food products as I could. 

With a constant eye for business opportunities and growth I decided to turn one of my rental properties into a Saskatchewan experience on the short term rental site - Airbnb. The rental market was taking a massive hit and I thought I would use this as an opportunity to change things up and test these new waters. I love marketing so I created a vision board - on that vision board I asked myself what would set me apart and tell a story.  My Airbnb story would be exposing my guests to as much local goodness as I could. From the art on the walls to the soaps in the shower. Recommendations to locally owned restaurants and directions to our local farmer's market - complete with my fav things to do. Now a plan was in place but how to source all of this? Common grocery stores have few selections of Saskatchewan products and the convenience of trying to get to the farmers market just wasn't happening with a busy schedule. I knew where I had to go.....Sask Made Marketplace.

Road Coffee Co . and  Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company  are always ready for brewing.

Road Coffee Co. and Rock Paper Coffee Roasting Company are always ready for brewing.

Everything was all there in one spot. It was perfect - I was able to decorate the walls with framed post cards from local photographers and artists. The coffee beans and teas that I provide complimentary to my guests are all local entrepreneurs. Even a collection of local cooking oils, jams, and an assortment of other treats are left for the guests to try. 

Three Farmer's,   Over the Hill , and  M&M Garlic  are ready for guests to experience. #local

Three Farmer's, Over the Hill, and M&M Garlic are ready for guests to experience. #local

Not only does Sask Made Marketplace have all the items that complete my local experience they are very knowledgeable about each of the companies they support. With freezers filled with local meats, perogies, and pizzas it truly is a one stop shop. The stores hours make it convenient to shop at and there is always something new being sampled. I'm a few months into this new venture and the guests adore these little local touches and I adore the convenience of going to one place. Match made in local heaven ;)

We sat down with Amanda from Sask Made and wanted to learn more about the business, their goals for 2018, and what we can expect to see at their booth in a few weeks at the Modern Woman Show. I see big things for this company! These women are certainly making a #supportlocal difference in our city.

Tell us about your business?

The SaskMade Marketplace is a Saskatchewan company partnered with local farmers, processors, and artisans to provide a wide range of unique, locally produced gourmet ingredients, grocery items, giftware, souvenirs, and gift baskets.

How did you get started?

The business was started as a medium to educate people about farm to fork and what it really means to support local. We wanted to become the local authority on food, which I think we have.

What inspires you?

Challenge and Change. I always want to be challenging myself and learning. Life is an opportunity to continuously grow and experience new things - I love that! 

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

A Modern Woman isn't afraid to be who she is or do what she loves, nor does she pass judgment on other women. We need to support each other and understand that we are all going to make different decisions and take different paths in life; none of them are wrong. If you want to be a career woman, be a career woman. If you want to be a stay at home mom, good for you. No judgement. "Whatever makes you happy" is my motto.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Women are stronger when they support each other so get to know other women entrepreneurs in your area. Join local industry and women-in-business groups.  In these organizations you will always find good advice and guidance when you need it. There are many people who have gone before you, so learn from them!

Also, never be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. Two little pieces of advice we often give our friends and family but can sometimes forget to do for ourselves.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

It would be to trust yourself and do not hold back. If you want do something, do it now!

What is in the future for your business?

This year we are hoping to bring in some unique kitchenware, cookware and entertaining items to compliment our vast selection of gourmet groceries.  But we are always on the lookout for new grocery products and gift ideas to change things up!

As for a 2-5 year goal, we'd like to have a second location or expand our current store and add a complimentary space, like a cafe or bistro.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

A particular person doesn't come to mind, but I respect any women who are out there changing the world and breaking down barriers. For example women in science and technology or agriculture, which are largely male dominated industries. It's hard work and not everyone can do it.

Tell us about you – what makes you tick, what are your hobbies, where would we find you on a Wednesday night? A Friday night?

Well I have 2.5 year old twin girls, so Wednesday evenings would find me at home hanging out with my family or maybe squeezing in a quick workout once the kids have gone to bed.

Friday's are a bit more exciting; I'm usually cooking dinner with my husband with a glass of wine or having friends over for appetizers and drinks. I love cooking, eating and drinking so anything that involves those makes me a happy lady.

If you could have any super power what would it be?

I would have the same super power as Magneto from X-Men. The ability to control metal would be amazing!

What will you be showcasing at the Modern Woman Show?

We will be showcasing all the wonderful food items that our local farmers grow and produce for us. I want to focus on some of the great gourmet cooking ingredients like oils , vinegars, mustards and sauces that anyone can easily use to create an amazing meal at home.

We will also have two of our vendors sampling with us, one each day. So make sure you stop by for a few samples!

Sask Made Marketplace can be found online www.saskmade.ca and shopping made easy at 1621 8th Street East. Come visit their booth and start your local journey with Sask Made at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 14th & 15th at Prairieland Park. 

To check out the little local airbnb and all the lovely companies we support visit our Instagram Page @stay_at_cas_hill 


Hazy Shade of Winter


I know you have done it.

You have all been googling exotic holidays, scouring Expedia for a cheap flight, grab a quick break to somewhere where the temperature isn’t frost bite and extreme cold weather warnings. I yearn for the heat of the sun on my skin. That cold snap was the death of me at the end of December. Every year I make a commitment that after almost 34 years on this planet I’m going to learn how to enjoy our not so warm climate. I’m going to embrace winter activities and make the best of the 4-6 months of less than desirable weather.

First step to that is preparing for the cold. Invest in the gear. Sometimes I wear my fall or spring jackets and essentially dress like a complete jackass all in the name of fashion. Poor clothing decisions from head to toe. It’s silly and I know I’m going to freeze to death.  Dressing for the climate is one thing that can make those cold days more bearable. Dress like we live in the arctic – because we do. The Canadian Goose jackets are an example of the proper equipment (costly but a life time warranty) because you will not feel the pain of winter. I have a knock off version to save bucks but the down fill, length to cover my ass at the rink and the massive hood works just the same. Then find the proper boots, a toque, and mitts. The key is preparation. I was gifted a car starter and if you don’t have the luxury of parking indoors – this is like winning the lottery. Another way to make your winter less bitter is to make sure you know where your car plug in is and having a proper length extension cord and snow brush/scraper on hand – it will make those dark mornings a little brighter.

Over the holidays I had elaborate plans to head up north to our family cabin at Delaronde Lake to really engage in the prairie winter pastimes of ice fishing, snowmobiling, outdoor fires, and frosty walks with the dog. Well at -47 degrees Celsius it didn’t quite work out the way I had imagined. The pipes for the water froze up, the quads and snowmobiles started momentarily but then died. The ice shack was pulled out of storage but the epic windshield and lack of snowmobile to pull it left it sitting on the cabin driveway. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise because what we did do was spend 4 days together making memories and catching up. Board games, cozy fireplace hangs, amazing meals, and laughter was on the to-do list and it didn’t disappoint. We were even able to bring my darling mother in law whom got her first snowmobile ride (driven by 10 year old Beckett). The lake has been a summer pastime and due to our hectic hockey and work schedules we never make it out during the snow months so this was very special for us all. I highly suggest going up to Elk Ridge or finding a lakeside spot to enjoy a weekend during the winter.  The air is crisp and creating a new adventure will have a lasting effect on the family.

If staying in the city is more your cup of tea then you are in a city with great things to entertain you and your families. My suggestion would be to grab a Flow or Planet S magazine (check them out online) for what’s happening in Saskatoon. This city has concerts, art galleries, theatre, comedy….the list is endless. There are winter carnivals and activities throughout the colder months that definitely break up this sometimes horrendous season. If you’re a foodie then the talented chefs in this city can have you on a weekend food crawl for all 16 weeks we might consider winter. My favourites are starting off at 9mile brewery for some sampling of local made brewskies, I would then suggest one of the many delicious locally ran restaurants in the Riversdale area including The Hollows, Leydas, Picaro, Drift’s Vista Lounge, or Odd Couple. If Broadway is more your flavor then Una Pizza, Calories, Nosh Eatery, And Sushiro are all on my top ten. We are so lucky to live in a city with so many great places to wet your whistle and fill your belly.

Now sometimes you just have to get away. The cold has got you making an escape plan…..as does mine right now. No amount of wine and cozy movie nights are fulfilling the urge for me to fly the coop to a warm sunny place. Now where would I go…well to be honest the best vacations I have ever had have been to a beautiful boutique resort in Panama called Sansara. If you’re a lover of food, enjoy yoga and want to surf (beginner or elite) then it has everything you could possible want. I call it a 5 star resort in the jungle. A best kept secret that I want to share with everyone. Sansara, owned and operated by born and raised Saskatchewanians Janel & Mike Phillips was a labour of love. Moving their lives to Panama when they found the perfect spot on the beach to make their dream come true of making a quaint retreat resort. It’s breathtaking. A little jaunt to get there but once settled in one of their bungalows you won’t want to leave. I learned what going on a vacation really was. Coming home I was more in shape and rested then I had ever been. Sometimes a Panamanian vacation isn’t in the books so jumping on a quick flight to a sunny destination down south or an all-inclusive resort for the ease of no planning and just taking in the hot Caribbean sun is exactly what the doctor ordered. I definitely encourage travel as its good for the soul. You can take all the vitamin d drops in the world but it certainly doesn’t come close to the actual thing.

I hope that each of you take what you need from our change of seasons. May winter not be the grumbling swear under your breath and perhaps it’s the undiscovered love for snow shoeing, the quiet time at the lake with family and a board game, or perhaps it’s the excuse to book that flight to Panama. Happy Wintering everyone may it be the best one yet.