On the fifth day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

…One little imp named Hailey Bekker.

photo cred: Graeme Bekker


She lives… get this… in a Geo-dome!

Up the North Fork and in the bush, surrounded by greenhouses and goats, one husband, a dog, and all things wild — it’s no wonder she started Lost and Found Flowers, a business about bringing the forest, and gardening, (both wild flowers and tame ones) with all their beauty into your home, your wedding, or your party table.



She’s busy right now creating Christmas wreathes of all shapes and sizes, of which she’s hand wound the vines and foraged herself for the supplies. She’s fearless with prickles and thorns, and full of talent when it comes to making those green and white and red wreathes look breath-taking on your front door!



But this past summer she did everything from decorating a fairytale wedding, playing the fairy for a birthday party, supplying parties with centre-pieces, putting together a giant floral design in Nelson with other gardeners and making flower crowns for sweet little girls at the farmer’s market.

A fairy crown for a fairytale wedding made by Hailey!

Here is our interview with Hailey!

Tiff: What inspired you to start arranging flowers, and what is your favourite part of what you do?

Hailey: Flowers have always held such a special place in my life, from when I was a little girl planting sweet peas with my dad to exploring the wild flowers of the forest in my backyard, and carrying in armloads of weeds onto my mom’s mantle place. It just seems natural that I started arranging them – and the more I did, the bigger, crafted and more creative they seemed to get. It has always been my hobby, my go-to thing, that brings me calmness and joy like no other. And now I get to call it my job!

The thing I love most is using the plants I have around me. There is an exciting challenge when working with seasonal flowers, in some ways tricky because it can be unpredictable, but it is such a gift every day to step outside and discover what is beautiful out there and bring it inside to share!

Tiff: Tell us about your business, Lost and Found Flowers. What types of services and arrangements do you have available?

Hailey: Lost and Found Flowers came about because I needed a creative outlet and an excuse to grow more flowers, in all honesty! You may have seen my husband and I with our veggies at the farmers markets with takeaway bouquets this last year, but that is just one of the many ways we can get flowers to you. We do any arrangements and events, big or small, anywhere around the Kootenays. We focus our designs on being both sustainable and beautiful, which means using all local product, no floral foam, and reusing wherever possible while maintaining a huge emphasis on quality and creativity. We love a challenge, so if you have a vision of a project in mind, we would love to try it. Some things we’ve done recently include making flower crowns at a birthday party, creating a living meadow for a wedding ceremony, decaying out a 20s themed party with peacock feathers and lush urns.

Tiff: Tell us a bit about who you are, what is something most people don’t know about you?

Hailey: I am the head designer and the one who does all the scheming and arranging to pull event days off. But it is a serious team effort with my husband Graeme helping to keep this ship afloat with his building skills, encouragement and second set of hands. Speaking of ships – you may not know, but we lived on a sail boat, Totem, on the west coast. We still have an affinity for living in unique places, because our current home is a Geodome (think giant soccer ball) inside of a greenhouse. Living off grid has really changed my views on sustainability and makes being eco friendly a high priority in all my work. It also often stretches one’s creativity and ability to think outside the box – literally!

Tiff: Why have you chosen to live in Grand Forks?

Hailey: I sometimes think Grand Forks chose us. It was never on my radar to move to a small town like this, but almost two years ago a combination of offers and life changes seemed to land us here. We were ready to get off the water and begin a new life on land and learn new skills, be closer to family – and we don’t want to go back to the prairies, so here we are!

Tiff: What’s your favourite part about Grand Forks?

Hailey: One of the biggest draws of being here is having land available for us to grow on so we can learn the art of small scale farming our flowers and vegetables, and having a place to call home where we can live our dreams out so they aren’t just dreams (like starting a floral design business!). The small town vibe of Grand Forks has been such an interesting transition for myself, and having a business where I get to meet people by bringing them joy and beauty has been such a great way to meet people. One of my favourite things in life is handing people something I worked hard to make, whether it’s cookies, a carrot, or most especially flowers.

Tiff: If someone wants to purchase one of your creations to adorn their home this Christmas, how can they go about doing that? Can people purchase gift cards for those on their Christmas list from you?

Hailey: Find me on November 30 (at the Kettle Valley Food Co-op) and Nov 30 – Dec 1 (at the gallery 2) at the local craft markets with a wide assortment of original Christmas wreathes ready to take home and invite the season in.

You can also place custom orders online by connecting with me via email haileybekker@gmail.com or on our website thegfdiggers@gmail.com or find us on instagram where you can see loads of beautiful pictures to brighten your days. (@lostandfoundflowers) and last but not least, good old Facebook (Lost and Found Flowers).

Want to gift someone but can’t decide what they’d like? Come find me at one of the markets to purchase a gift certificate that can be used at any time throughout this year.


So think about your Christmas decorations – the Christmas you want to bring to your tables, to your door, maybe a wreath for a friend when you go out shopping – and contact Hailey!

Stay tuned on Monday for our next entrepreneur!!

On the fourth day of Christmas, Grand Forks gave to you…

If you close your eyes for a small moment, and imagine yourself sitting over a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee, you will have an idea of the fun we had with creator of Juggernaut Coffee, Katie Mitchell.

We didn’t get a chance to write down our interview with her, so this post is a little different from our others, a little more informal just for a change of pace…


We arrived at her small farm on a cold afternoon to a very friendly welcome, and a somewhat chaotic atmosphere (she has one pair of cute little two-year-old twins, and two dogs – need I say more?).

Katie was right in the middle of roasting us our very own fresh batch of beans, outside on her porch, and it was such a delight to experience her at work.

(No, this is not how she normally roasts her coffee – it was an experience reserved just for our pleasure, as her brand new coffee house and workshop is under construction at the moment.)



As she turned the handle on the big pot full of coffee beans, we chatted about how and why Katie chose coffee as her business.

Katie has a background as a chef, and this new venture into coffee roasting is just the kind of sensory experience you might expect a talented chef to excel at. Fragrant steam rose up in the air as we watched, and Katie paid close attention to the process even as we discussed her business with her.

She casually mentioned

  •  the weight of the pot, (it changes apparently)
  • the changing smell, (from a grain smell to a coffee smell)
  • the sound of the popping, (there’s different kinds of popping that happen during the transformation!)
  • and the colour of the beans

all things she pays close attention to as she roasts! It wasn’t long before our mouths were watering at the tantalizing aroma that wafted through the air.


One of the things Katie is most passionate about, is the fair-trade, ethically sourced business she does with small farms in Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Honduras.

Her suppliers go directly to the farmers and ask them what they want to sell the coffee for. It means Katie pays more for her coffee, but the quality is better, and knowing where it’s coming from and that she’s being fair is what makes the whole thing worth it for her!

In her workshop huge bags of organic beans sit, ready to be roasted – and they’ve come all the way across the world, from little farms (some where she’s their only client!) that she knows, personally, get a competitive price for their product. She urges everyone to know where they’re getting their coffee from, and that the people who are producing the beans are getting paid what they should.

“Coffee is a commodity,” she said, “people are always trying to undercut the price of it.” Working with small farms, and a supplier who carries the same values as her is the only way she’ll do it.



When we asked Katie what inspired her to start Juggernaut Coffee, she chuckled. “I was buying so many green coffee beans that my supplier asked me if I was already running a business. I told him no. I just have twins. I’m that tired.”

But the conversation got her thinking, she said. She had wanted a business that allowed her to be home with her kids, that she might be able to do “out in the wild” as she put it, on her own turf, as she loves the solitude and freedom of rural life.


With a very handy husband, who knows the ins and outs of construction, and her own chef background, knowing how to navigate health codes and organic certification, it was the perfect opportunity. There is no other roaster in Grand Forks, and there’s always an appetite for great coffee.

“Coffee is appealing,” She said with a smile, “because it’s dynamic and always changing. Conditions are always changing globally, as well as in Grand Forks, we have the challenge of adapting and consistently getting a high quality product.”

When we asked Katie what advice she would give to coffee lovers – she said “Don’t keep your coffee in the freezer! Only buy what you need. Drink it within a week to get the best out of the beans!”

You can buy Juggernaut Coffee’s different blends (Dark and Espresso) from the Wooden Spoon, Jerseyland Organics, or contact Katie on her instagram account @juggernaut.coffee, or call her at (250)442-3430.

What a great way for you to spend your Christmas morning! Over a freshly brewed, freshly roasted cup of coffee!! Yum!

We highly recommend Juggernaut, what a great business to support – a local business concerned with ethics that support other far away local businesses!

Stay tuned this Thursday for our next entrepreneur!!


On the third day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

We give you… Vanessa Heerschop.


Saucy, hardworking little bee who’s set up a Crossfit gym right down town. She’s designed a space where you will feel welcomed and safe as you improve your own beautiful self. Vanessa will be there to guide you as you try out new things and work your body into a strong and healthy machine.

She hasn’t always been all muscle and toned the way she is today, she’s had to work her way up, and she knows all about what it feels like to think you’ll never get there.

As a young mom and nurse, she’s experienced the intimidation of walking into a gym where you instantly feel the weight of a whole lot of eyeballs looking your way. In her space there will be no judgement. NIL. Only a team to cheer you on as you try out new and fun workouts.gfshoplocal-2

It might look a little crazy, you might feel a little anxious… but I promise you it’ll be fun and friendly — you’ll leave feeling supported and strong with new friends to encourage you in our community.


What are those boxes, balls, kettle-bells and rings you say? Why just some toys you get to play with as you work!

Here’s our little chat with Vanessa:

Tiff: Tell us how you became passionate about health and fitness.

Vanessa: I’ve always been active, but really fell in love with group fitness and CrossFit while on maternity leave with my daughter. Belonging to a community that encouraged and supported me was pivotal for my physical and mental health during a time that could have been very isolating. In addition, as a Registered Nurse I believe in the power of healing ourselves with physical activity and lifestyle in addition to or sometimes in place of medication or other medical management. Hearing people say they are no longer experiencing pain is one of the many joys I get out of my job.

What is CrossFit?

Vanessa: The million dollar question! Essentially it’s a coach-led group fitness class that is different every day. The movements performed in CrossFit workouts are ‘functional’ which means they help us move better in our daily lives as well. It’s completely adaptable and scalable so everyone of every ability can get a good workout.

Tell us about your vision for Humble Fit Collective?

Vanessa: Humble Fit Collective is intended to be a place where people, who may have previously felt intimidated or scared of gyms can feel safe and comfortable working out. I believe that feeling physically strong and capable helps us feel better about ourselves and in turn fosters our ability to be better partners, parents, and community members. My hope is that by reducing fear and other potential barriers, Humble Fit Collective can be a place people can access more easily so they can reap those rewards of physical activity and be the best version of themselves.

What type of person should do CrossFit? Any advice for someone who is unsure whether they can do it or will like it?

Vanessa: All you need to participate in CrossFit is a good attitude. We welcome anyone and everyone. You will always have a coach leading you and teaching you every movement. They can also always adapt and change movements depending on injuries, mobility concerns or other potential limitations. My best advice would be to try it! Most people find themselves pretty hooked once they do. It’s more than a workout, it’s an hour spent with people who become your cheering squad, your inspiration and your community.

What can someone expect when they become a member of Humble Fit? Do you offer other classes than CrossFit?

Vanessa: We currently offer CrossFit classes 5-6 times a day, 5 days a week. In addition we offer yoga of differing styles which is include in membership. On Saturdays we run a community class that is different each week. Sometimes its CrossFit, sometimes a group run or hike, sometimes yoga, or even nutritional seminars, all also include in a membership.

If someone wants to join or purchase a pass for someone else as a gift, how can they go about that? 

Vanessa: passes and gift certificates can be purchased online via the following link: https://humble-fit-collective-studio.triib.com/buy-gift-certificate/ or stopping into the gym weekdays 10am-12pm or 4:30pm-6:30pm

Tell us a bit about you and why you’ve chosen to live in Grand Forks.

I’m originally from Kelowna, BC. but have been living in Alberta for the last 5 years with my Lethbridge born husband. We welcomed our daughter Navy into the world 3 years ago and decided we wanted to raise her somewhere smaller, and where she could be outside comfortably and safely most months of the year. We chose Grand Forks as our close friends relocated here 3 years ago and we wanted to be able to raise our family alongside them and theirs.

What is your favourite part about living in GF?

There’s too much to list! I love the community. I love walking down the street and knowing half the people I run into. Everyone is down to earth and welcoming. I love that we can be anywhere really in under 10 minutes. I love being back in the mountains, I love the entrepreneurial spirit here, the amazing group of mothers I’ve gotten to know. We’ve only been here since June, yet we have a support system that feels as thought it’s been in place for years.

So we’ll leave you with that – if you’re curious, go and have a chat with Vanessa, or check out Humble Fit Collective online. Maybe you have a friend looking for a new challenge, a new work out or a fresh start – maybe you want to buy a trial pass for yourself! It might be an unconventional gift, but it’s a good one!

Stay tuned this Monday for our next entrepreneur!

On the second day of Christmas, Grand Forks brings to you…

Riley Friesen, owner of Knotty Oak Designs, works in a cute little corner of her house, where the light streams in from a small window to the side and bounces off of a large wooden desk. It’s a beautiful, cozy space, just right for getting creative. gfshoplocal-11

Her tools and bits are placed here an there with beautiful rounds of wood propped up in all the corners and free spaces of the room.gfshoplocal-10

Riley welcomed us in to do a little snooping, and talked with us about how she’s worked her way up from painted signs to the challenge of wood burning. But that’s not all she does. In a big beautiful chest on the floor next to the desk are all her crocheted pieces, everything from blankets to tea cozies.

This young mom and entrepreneur was a lot of fun to talk with, easy going and casual, curled up in her chair as she worked, making us feel right at home as we chatted.


Her designs are beautiful, full of geometrical shapes and simple, clean lines that catch your eye. She’s hard at work at the moment, getting ready for the upcoming Christmas craft show, where she’ll share a booth with yours truly, Kettle River Bath and Body! Come on out and find us there if you can!

Riley is currently beginning a new project for all those of you looking for Christmas gifts – a subscription box of goodies in partnership with Kettle River Bath and Body. Come and catch a glimpse of what it’ll look like and pre-order one for yourself or a loved one!


Here is our interview with Riley.

Tiff: Tell us about the different things that you make?

Riley: For the last couple of years I’ve been really into Pyrography, and using my burning tool to create some cool stuff. This year I’m working on more decorative pieces, where in the past I did a lot of signs that seemed to be on trend. I’ve also got bamboo cutting boards, cork hot plates, and wood disk magnets, and, of course, Christmas decorations! There there is my first love… crocheting. It’s my wind down time after a day. Kid goes down to bed, make myself some tea (or wine if it’s been a day), curl up in my favourite chair and start creating. I’ve always loved slouchy toques and big chunky Infinity scarves, so I’m doing a lot of that this year.

Tiff: How did you get started doing what you do? What inspired you?

Riley: I have a lot of Artists in my family. Both my Nanas are amazing painters, my dad and my Papa do woodwork, and my mom is so darn crafty she could put the rest of us to shame. So I think I got my creative side from all the wonderful people I have in my life to look up to. My mother-in-law actually taught me to crochet about 10 years ago… she taught me to knit, but I’m an instant gratification kind of person so once I started crocheting I never picked up the needles again. Wood has always been around me. I grew up in the bush and my dad is a carpenter. So creating something out of wood runs in my blood.

Tiff: What is the most satisfying part of making the things you make?

Riley: Other than the creative outlet which I so desperately need in my life, probably people’s reaction. I think if you stare at something long enough you actually start doubting that its any good. But when people are stoked on your work, it definitely gives you a little spark to keep pushing on and creating new pieces.

Tiff: Where can someone purchase your handmade items?

Riley: The GFSS craft fair is on Saturday Nov. 24th, and I’ll be there selling. I always welcome custom orders too. People can find me on my facebook page: Knotty Oak Designs, my instagram account @knottyoakdesigns or just email an order to knottyoakdesigns@outlook.com I’m hoping to get a website up in the new year!

Tiff: Why do you choose to live in Grand Forks? And what is your favourite part about living here?

Riley: My husband and I grew up in Vernon, and we loved the freedom and security it offered. We spent 3 years grinding in Northern Alberta and knew that before we started a family we wanted to settle down somewhere that somewhat resembled ‘Old Vernon’. Bran had spent a lot of his youth boxing in GF so he took me for a visit and I fell in love. Within 6 months we had bought a house, left Alberta, and made GF our home.

My favourite part is probably the sense of community and security. I love the comfort of knowing my son can grow up somewhere he can be free. He can ride his bike around town with his friends, or meet buddies in town and I don’t need to worry. (He doesn’t do that yet though, he’s only 7) I also love the lifestyle in the boundary. We are so lucky to live in an area where you can go and adventure in your backyard. There is never nothing to do… and for the most part its free. River days, camping, campfires and friends that have become family. That’s what GF is to me. Plus… I got Nana and Papa to move to Jewel Lake… just sweetens the pot.

So we’ll leave you with the option of contacting Riley about your Christmas needs, and maybe stopping by to say hello at the craft fair!

Stay tuned for our third entrepreneur this Thursday! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks before Christmas – lots of wonderful people coming your way! Keep your eye out for our blog posts twice a week til we’re done this series!

On the first day of Christmas, Grand Forks gave to you…

Looking for a little slice of joy? Maybe the perfect gift is something a loved one can put on their wall to brighten up the room – or a card you want to send to a faraway friend – or even a fridge magnet. If so we have just what you need…



Meet Shannon Thorpe Frederick, friendly little thing and painter extraordinare. She works out of her own cozy cabin in the woods, dubbed Willow Studio, and welcomed us in, wearing her famous paint sweater, to where she creates her masterpieces.


Willow Studio can also be recognized part time as Shannon’s kitchen, a cozy little space cluttered with colour and the glow of old wood. Shannon’s paintings hang everywhere, brightening up the walls and filling up all the nooks and crannies.


As we sat, and Shannon fiddled with a tiny brush on some of the details she hadn’t quite finished, we talked about some of the things she loves, and below you can find our interview with her.


Tiff: Tell us what inspired you to start painting?

Shannon:  I’ve always been an artistic person and dabbled in painting, but after having my daughters, I found I really craved creativity. It seemed to balance me out as a person again after both of my pregnancies. In a sense when you gain becoming a mother, you loose a part of the person you were before. Painting kept my identity and my sanity.


Tiff: Why did you choose Grand Forks, and what is your favourite part of living here?

Shannon: We kind of just ended up here, and we’re so grateful we did. Between the rivers and lake and awesome climate, we think it’s a pretty great place to live.


Tiff: What style of painting do you enjoy most? Can you describe it?

Shannon: I love painting with acrylics, I find they are so diverse, whether you are mixing with gels or breaking them down with water, they can do almost anything…


Tiff: You lead children’s paint nights on top of creating your own stuff – what’s your advice for young, aspiring artists?

Shannon: The thing I love most about working with kids is their total lack of inhibitions. Most often they are pretty pleased with just about every brush stroke they paint. Teaching adults is fun too, but they don’t seem to have the same personal freedom that kids do. So advice for aspiring artists? Let it go – just try. Don’t stress, because really – what’s the worst that can happen?


Tiff: If someone would like to purchase one of your pieces, where can they do that?

Shannon: I’m working with a designer to create a webpage, so until its finished, my facebook page (Shannon Thorpe paintings) is a pretty easy way to see my work and products, but I am also in a few places in town. You can find my stuff at The Thyme and Plate, The Wooden Spoon, The GF Art Gallery, Arts 2 at Christina Lake and the Deadwood Junction.



So we’ll just leave you with that to ponder. Shannon’s painting are vivid and bright and full of the joy that just shimmers around her grin. Maybe this Christmas they’re just what you need!

Stay tuned for our second entrepreneur this coming Monday…



Grand Forks days of Christmas

I have a little gift for you now that Christmas is on the horizon. It’s a charming little package, buildings boxed together in fun little squares, one wide market street and a couple of schools spilling out children, as they laugh and play and grow. You’ll find it sprinkled here and there with colourful maple trees and all kinds of houses, big and tall ones, short and small ones, all of them nestled between two rushing rivers. This gift is ready and waiting for you to explore, and it is called Grand Forks.


In the next few weeks, I’d love to show you little parts of it – mainly, it’s new and young entrepreneurs. Why, you ask? I could tell you all kinds of statistics to support why you should shop local, I could try to convince you with numbers. You might have heard them somewhere, you’ve probably read them. It goes something like this: money spent at a local business generates 3.5X more wealth for the local economy than when you shop at those big box stores.

But this is the heart of what I think: Grand Forks is worth unwrapping.

I want you to see it as a Christmas gift.

And I want you to experience the joy of being part of something – the warmth of connecting in a place where people wave and say hi to you on the street. Where business owners know each other and do their best to help each other out. Where things like floods and fires bring out the everyday heroes and everyone sticks together to get each other through to the other side. Where you can make a difference by investing in it.


Maybe this year you could forgo the big shopping malls and the easy, no thinking kinds of gifts that are so quick to be forgotten, and instead shop local. Yes, that is my challenge to you: shop local.

Because when you do, you’ll only make Grand Forks warmer. More appealing. More investable and stronger. A town worth unwrapping and one where you just might find a home.


Stay tuned for our first day of Grand Forks Christmas gifts on Thursday!


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