It’s been just two weeks for one of the Local Food Initiative’s Farmers’ Market’s most recent additions, ‘Oat Gurl’, which brings locally made oat milk to the community.
Kaisa Lindfors is the ‘gurl’ behind Revelstoke’s latest oat milk producer. While Lindfors is no stranger to the market after living in the area for years and having sold her pottery at the market, the past two weeks have been the first of many for her latest venture: oat milk. Lindfors spoke about how she makes the oat milk, what prompted her to start, and how she’s managed to create a near-zero waste product in town.
“Oat Gurl is oat milk that I make at the community kitchen here in town,” said Lindfors.
Lindfors sources the oats from another local business, Mountain Goodness. The oats are organic, gluten-free, and grown in Canada. The most recent batch was made from oats grown in Chilliwack.
For anyone who has frequented cafés in the past several years, oat milk has become a popular addition to the milk options. Oat milk and other alternative kinds of milk have exploded in popularity for those looking for a lactose-free, or more environment-friendly option.
“The environmental impact of alternative milks is way lower,” said Lindfors.
Even within the alternative milk sphere, oat milk reigns as one of — if not the most — environmentally conscious options. The environmental benefits come from the amount of water needed to create the milk. Despite its fame, what may surprise consumers about oat milk is how simple it is to make.
The basic recipe for making it is combining oats and water, blending the mixture for almost a minute, and straining it. That’s it, that’s all.
Lindfors started making oat milk several years ago for her and her friends while tinkering with the recipe to maximize the flavour. As she worked to refine the process, somewhere along the way ‘Oat Gurl’ began to stick with her.
“I don’t know where ‘Oat Gurl’ came from anymore, but I just feel like it’s silly and I like that it’s kind of stupid,” she said with a laugh, adding that she also appreciated that it was a play on the traditional milkman.
Lindfors adds no preservatives to her product, which gives the milk a shelf life of roughly a week. The timeline fits with Lindfors’ schedule and with her sustainability goals.
“The idea is that it’s a bottle deposit system so you can return your bottle every week and then we have zero waste oat milk,” she said.
The timing works well, allowing her customers to buy a bottle for the week on Saturdays, with the option to replace it the following Saturday.
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The Neighbourhood Kitchen, where Lindfors makes the oat milk, was created by Community Connections and has been instrumental in getting Oat Gurl off the ground.
“It’s amazing. It’s all brand new…it’s really easy to use,” she said.
Although Oat Gurl is still new, Lindfors said she’s already had someone return to replace their bottle from the week before, showing early signs that her model is working.
Lindfors wasn’t a stranger to the market before Oat Gurl. She also sells her pottery with Sisaret Ceramics at the market, now sitting alongside the milk bottles. Lindfors is a potter and she opened a studio with her two friends to create The Clay Collective in the Big Eddy.
Despite the early success of Oat Gurl, and although she’s sold other products at the market before, Lindfors said she still found it nerve-wracking to be selling her oat milk.
“It’s still kind of scary right now to start something new,” she said.
Oat Gurl milk can be found at the market with the superhero banner, donning a big ‘O-G’ on its chest.
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