While his pizza toppings might steal the show, David Allard puts considerable effort into his crusts, producing not just his own doughs but the flour they’re made from.
For the past few months, Allard has slowly but steadily been building up his two new businesses at Salmon Arm’s Westgate Public Market. One is the Mount Ida Grain Company, the other is the Westgate Food Hub. The former is a line of fresh milled organic flours that he makes on site. The latter, among other things, offers a variety of pizzas made from that flour.
“I’m passionate about food and we’ve had great feedback on our products – a lot of it revolves around the crust,” said Allard.
Both businesses represent Allard’s entrepreneurial pandemic pivot. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Allard said he took the food trucks he owns on the festival circuit. With festivals on hold, Allard made a decision last spring to do something different, something that would help him grow the food business he’s been building for the past five years.
The idea for the Mount Ida Grain Company was inspired by pizza. Allard said one of his mobile operations is a wood-fired pizza trailer. He said he’d been playing around with recipes for fresh milled grains in the past, and wanted to incorporate that as one of his new ventures. The grains he uses are sourced locally through Fieldstone Organics in Armstrong.
“What I’m trying to do here with Westgate Food Hub and Mount Ida grain is help shift people’s perception of what flour is, how you can use flour, the differences between fresh milled flour, heritage grains, so-called ancient grains, and what we’ve been accustomed to for the last hundred years, to be honest, which is basically commodity flour,” said Allard.
Allard also relies on his neighbours at the Westgate Public Market for other ingredients; Windmill Meats and Olive Us for various meats and olive oil. For cheese, it’s a short trip down the road to Tanto Latte.
“All I need to do now is grow some tomatoes and then I can say it’s all local,” said Allard.
The Westage Food Hub sells pizza by the slice as well as pre-made Roman and Detroit-style frozen pies. Custom pizzas can also be ordered in advance for pickup. The food hub also sells coffee, smoothies, and will soon offer noodle and rice bowls for lunch.
Sometime in the spring, Allard will be expanding the Westgate Food Hub’s offerings to include portable pizza ovens and higher-end cookware, bakeware and other kitchen items.
Mount Ida Grain flours are sold at the Westgate Food Hub and at DeMille’s Farm Market.
For more information, visit the Mount Ida Grain Company on Facebook and marketplacebc.ca, and the Westgate Food Hub on Facebook.
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