Tips for Camp Cooks


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Photo by Steve Bosworth

Got a camp of hungry mouths to feed?

It’s no secret. Food plays a central role in a treeplanting camp. Treeplanters burn between 3000 – 5000 calories a day and require nutritional and balanced meals to achieve peak physical performance, as well as tasty and satisfying dishes to feed the soul.

As a camp cook, you have the daunting task of creating large meals that are nutritious, affordable, tasty, and easy to prepare. Why settle for imported produce and meats? By purchasing your food locally, you can serve meals that are fresher, more nutritious, and better for the local economy, without breaking your budget.

Beyond the Market is a project aimed at getting more local produce onto the plates of local consumers. We work with farmers, ranchers, wholesalers, distributors, restaurateurs, caterers, and cooks like you across central and northwest British Columbia to help link local food supply with demand.

Whatever your food purchasing needs, our resources will help you, at no cost. Search our directory for the farms nearest you. Browse our website to find more of resources you need.


What’s available to me?

Key Northern Staples

While the treeplanting season winds down as the harvest season ramps up, there are still many local farm products to choose from in spring and early summer. Consult our seasonal availability chart for more details.

In May and June, farms begin harvesting fresh salad greens, spinach, herbs, radishes and rhubarb. You might find a wild mushroom picker or farmer that grows Asian vegetables. July is an abundant month for a large variety of fresh market vegetables and berries.

Northern garden staples such as potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, garlic, and grains are stored for year-round availability. Proteins such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bison, rabbits and eggs are available all year and almost all major communities in the north have a resident butcher that purchases from locals ranchers.

The sweetest farm product of all, northern BC honey, is also available year round. Regions such as the Nechako Valley are renowned for their quality honey, which can be purchased economically in bulk. Be sure to serve it at the breakfast buffet and as a substitute for refined sugar if your budget allows.


Recipe Ideas

Key Northern Classics

Shepherd’s Pie

A hearty, economical meal and always a planter favourite. Be sure to use local beef, potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots – all staples of northern BC farms. Try ground lamb or bison for something different.


Use farm fresh eggs and add whatever is in season: broccoli, spinach, kale, kohlrabi, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, zucchini, bacon, sausage, herbs, etc – you have a wealth of options!


A classic northern favourite and the perfect end to a rainy day of planting. Serve it with sour cream and homemade bread for dipping. Beets are a proven performance enhancer for athletes, so keep ‘em coming!


If it can be shredded and eaten raw, it can be coleslaw! Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, green onions, and apples mixed with a tangy vinaigrette are staples of this versatile and hearty salad


There are dozens of talented jam makers in northern BC. Because ravenous planters would quickly gobble up the delectable preserves on the breakfast buffet, try hiding them away in your kitchen for use in snack bars and desserts.