Grassroots start to Country Girls’ Vintage Kitchen
Country Girls’ Vintage Kitchen, a business started with two neighbours sharing recipes, is off to a promising start.
“Two years ago we began walking together in the early morning and talked non-stop about cooking,” said Amanda Kannegieter.
“At first we’d say we’d seen a good recipe we’d try for dinner. Then our conversations turned to canning and preserves and we decided to do it together,” added Vicki Matchett.
The two women live at Sunkatchers RV Park Cooperative a few minute’s drive west of Keremeos.
Amanda and her husband have lived at Sunkatchers for 10n years.
She operates Amanda’s Cleaning Services in the Keremeos area ten months of the year and spends the other two months enjoying the sunshine in Palm Desert.
A graphic artist with years of experience in the printing industry on the Prairies, Vicki moved to Keremeos two years ago.
“She does all the artistic work for Country Girls’,” said Amanda, who is in charge of sales.
Each jar has an eye-catching black and white label, a taster’s spoon and is topped with maple leaf patterned fabric.
During 2016, the women did the necessary preliminary work to establish their business — locating a commercial kitchen, obtaining Interior Health’s approval and trying new recipes.
“I always add some liquor — and sometimes it goes into the jam,” Vicki said with a wry smile.
Sunkatcher residents and the occasional visiting relative are eager to serve as taste testers for the Country Girls.
Last year, Vicki and Amanda placed a jar of their Honey Bourbon Pickled Blueberries on each table at a dinner in the park clubhouse attended by 62 residents.
“The jars were emptied in no time,” Vicki said.
Amanda told the story of a cherry Amaretto jelly that didn’t set properly.
“We thought it’d make great syrup so we invited several neighbours in for a pancake breakfast,” she said.
Country Girls now offers customers 10 different jams and jellies in 250 ml jars, the pickled blueberries and Disarrono Cherries which are local cherries canned with the Italian Amarettoflavoured liqueur.
Jams include Blackberry Lemon Drop and Blueberry Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur.
“The berries come from the coast. We trade my nephew in Chilliwack peaches for wild blackberries. The wild ones taste best,” Amanda said. There is also Peach Bellini jam made with local fruit and the cocktail Bellini, a combination of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach puree, as well as Black Currant Cassis jelly.
Cassis is a sweet, dark red, liqueur made from black currants.
“My favourite is the Strawberry Margarita jam followed by Vicki’s White Chocolate Kahlua Raspberry jam,” Amanda said.
Country Girls also sells two types of gift packs—the wine jelly pack features three local wines and pepper packet three types of peppers.
Currently, Country Girls products can be found at Orofino Winery and Seven Stones Winery, both in Cawston, and The Grist Mill and Mom and Pops Farm Market Produce in Keremeos.
Machett and Kannegieter were vendors at the 4th Annual Keremeos Fall Fair held at the Grist Mill on September 24.
“We’d like to sell at the Osoyoos Market on Main next year, perhaps at another farmers’ market and at more wineries. Who knows after that?” Amanda said.
Country Girls products are also available by special order.
Regardless of the challenges of starting a business, both women said they’re “having lots of fun.”
For information or to order phone , email or visit Country Girls on facebook.
Amanda Kannegieter, left, and Vicki Matchett, own Country Girls Vintage Kitchen in Keremeos. The business started with the two women sharing recipes on morning walks.