I am looking out my back window at the remnants of our latest winter storm. The spruce limbs are buckling under the weight of the snow – the white contrasts nicely with the evergreens. The neighbor’s cat has cut a path through the yard, marking up the otherwise pristine surface. I twist the top off my new jar of peanut butter and wreck the pristine surface of that by plunging my spoon in and hollowing out a pocket, leaving a swirl behind to fold down on itself.
I have never tasted this brand, Barbours Nuts original peanut butter. I might have overlooked it previously, or maybe it is a new addition to the shelf at my regular grocery store. Either way, it comes in a lovely glass jar, is gluten-free, and has no added sugar. But mostly I chose it because it was made in here Sussex, New Brunswick. (Please read other posts about Sussex: Sussex New Brunswick- Don’t Just Pass Through.)
I spoon-feed myself the creamy substance, rolling it around my mouth, tasting its nuances. It is a little salter than my regard brand but very nice tasting. This is when I realized I am a foodie and this province has a lot to offer. I discovered Dumfries maples in You travel alone? Here is another foodie adventure.
Speerville Flour Mill -November 2018
The leaves were at their peak, bright oranges and reds. I hungered to get out but I couldn’t do my normal adventure-style travels yet — I was recovering from a broken leg and my cast had only just been removed a week earlier, so I was still not very mobile. I made a deal with myself: I would take a road trip to Speerville, New Brunswick, enjoy the leaves and take a side visit to Speerville flour mill. It wouldn’t be risky and hopefully it would be delicious.
I initially drove right by the mill, an unassuming rectangular two-storey building set in a rural farming area. I parked at the front and cautiously hobbled out of the truck, leaning hard on my cane. My head pivoted from side to side, looking about for a door. I had expected a store-front operation but none was to be found, just a set of concrete stairs leading to a latched metal door. A lady had pulled in the lot with a a white sedan, and approached me with suspicion. “Can I help you?’
“Actually you might be able to, is this Speerville mill? She nodded and said,”Yes.” She pointed to the sign that was weather-faded. “I was hoping you’d have a storefront,” I said with a grimace. She replied with, “Well you can place an order upstairs and then pick it up at the warehouse.”
“Up there?” I pointed, with my eye cast upward, looking over the rim of my glasses. My voice registered dismay, knowing she was going in the “Employee Only” door on the first floor. “Yes, right through the door and up stairs.” Then she turned and went toward the more accessible door, leaving me to decide if I wanted to make the climb.
I manged to get up the outside concrete steps, then pushed open the door and entered the bottom level. My eyes drew a line from the bottom step to the top of the indoor stairs, and I weighed the pros of cons of attempting the ascent. Stairs be dammed. Unable to do a foot-over-foot climb yet, I hopped upward, making slow progress clinging to the railing of the the wooden-half landing staircase.
At the top floor I was disappointed there were no products on display, just a desk covered in papers under low lighting. “Hello, can I help you?” A lady greeted me with a smile. I steadied myself on my cane and came toward her. “Hi, I was hoping I could look at products, I have had your organic popcorn, I really liked it.” Not dropping her smile, she turned and gathered up some brochures and handed them to me. Glossy papers listing 12-grain cereals, gluten-free this and that, various types of organic, stone milled flours.”You have a lot of products, it all sounds yummy,” I said, flipping the paper over.
“If you want to place an order I can do that for you.” There was no debit or credit machine, and I didn’t bring cash. “That is OK, thanks anyway.” I left with the information she gave me and trundled back down the stairs. Outside I snapped a picture of the most striking feature of the place, a rusting wagon wheel marking the edge of driveway.
Even though the mill logo featured on each item is more glamorous than the real location, they have an excellent product line: over 150 items, 50 of which are grown and produced right here in the Maritimes. I bought some Speerville quinoa and popcorn at the grocery store when I got home. You can book tours of the mill through their website but the best way to enjoy this tourist attraction is by tasting the products.
Please join me in the next installment of A Foodie in New Brunswick, as I taste Jacob’s Cattle beans, herbs and spices, wines, beers, ciders and much more,from around my province.
Cheers from Maritimemac.