This is article is part of a series that the Revelstoke Review is doing this market season. The Review will highlight the vendors that make the Farmers’ Market special.
Whether it’s the inviting smell, the old glass window covering their baked goods, or the friendly smiling faces of Summit City Artisanal Foods, in four years they’re a fresh bake for sore eyes.
Isabel Kessi and Mac Taliano are the ‘people that make stuff,’ and the duo responsible for Summit City’s enticing food. The two focus on a core list of items that they make, which have become fan favourites at the Local Food Initiative’s Farmers’ Market. They spoke about the origins of their business, the challenges, and what keeps them coming back to the market.
Taliano and Kessi started their work under a different banner before they got to Revelstoke.
“It started out as a means of making a life in Revelstoke,” said Taliano.
When they’re not behind the stand at the market, Taliano works as a paramedic. Those familiar with the market will recognize Kessi’s name immediately as she’s the manager of the whole market. As such, when she isn’t behind the stand, she’s likely found at the Local Food Initiative’s tent.
Four years ago, while ski touring in Rogers Pass, Taliano started brainstorming how he could help supplement a life in Revelstoke. They decided on making artisanal pasta, and they named it Rogers Pass-ta to keep the new venture tied to its roots.
Soon though, the two of them realized what so many who have attempted to make pasta inevitably encounter.
“It takes forever,” said Kessi.
Without a full production designed to make pasta, the process is extraordinarily time consuming. Kessi said the two of them were straightening every bit of spaghetti by hand at one point. So, the two changed the name to Summit City Artisanal Foods after a railway camp in Rogers Pass and started making baked goods instead.
Cinnamon cardamom, canalés, and coffee cake are just a few of Summit City’s staples. The two use all local ingredients. Whether it’s the eggs that come from their chickens, or the fruit that grows in their yard, or the flour that’s sourced from Armstrong, if it isn’t from Revelstoke, it’s usually not far from it.
When it comes to preparations for the market, fresh is key. Kessi bakes Friday afternoon, and Taliano is up at 4 a.m. to bake some more.
“The oven is not empty a single minute,” said Kessi.
At the market, Kessi pointed to a baked good on their table.
“I think our most special product is probably those little cakes,” said Kessi.
She was pointing at the Canelés de Bordeaux. Taliano explained that he’d first attempted the tough recipe during the COVID-19 pandemic from a baking challenge on Reddit. Moments later, a patron stepped forward proving Kessi’s point.
“You got me drooling here,” said the man approaching the stand.
“They’re called Canelés de Bordeaux. Its traditional old French pastry,” explained Taliano, adding “they’re not old, I made them this morning.”
The two said that they enjoyed the community feeling of the market and the social aspect of it. Taliano commented that it’s a big market in a small town, which makes it special.
“It’s cool to be able to sell here and be part of it,” he said.
When the market finishes, Kessi joked that they often plan to do a lot.
“Very ambitious plans of like mountain biking, hanging out with friends and stuff like that,” she said.
But when the time comes, and the market materials are packed up, the plans often change. Instead, it’s home for a cocktail and a nap after another day at the market.