Some of you may have wondered “What is Kaslo?” And what’s it doing at the front of “sourdough pasta?” This article gives a little bit of Kaslo Sourdough’s history for the small town that caught the hearts of the family at the centre of our company, and will hopefully leave you with a bit of appreciation for small-town British Columbia.
So what is Kaslo? And more specifically, where is it? The Village of Kaslo is a small town in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia – Canada’s west-most province. Kaslo is situated on the shores of Kootenay Lake, one of the longest and deepest interior lakes in B.C. It’s also nestled between two fine mountain ranges – the Purcells and the Selkirks, both of which run north-south. We think of ourselves as one of the middle points between two of the biggest cities out west: we’re a 9-hour drive east from Vancouver, B.C., and an 8-hour drive southwest from Calgary, Alberta. In other words, if you’re in one of those cities, it takes effort to find us! But when you do, there’s a lake to fish, swim and kayak in, trails to walk, mountains to hike in the summer or snowshoe in the winter, and a whole lot of adventure, good food, and good people to take in.
Kaslo is also in the territories of the Ktunaxa Nation, the Indigenous Peoples whose relationship with the land continue to this day, and who hunted on and traversed the landscape long before the first settlers in search of gold and silver. Mining drew settlers and prospectors into the Kootenays in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Kaslo was no exception. While today, the town’s population is usually a quiet 850 people or so in the winter, in its mining heydays it was a bustling city of over 6000 people, and one of the go-to destinations on Kootenay Lake. These days, you can find the remnants of numerous ghost towns and dilapidated mines in the local area – remnants of a different history. For almost six decades the best way to reach Kaslo was by plying north on the Kootenay Lake as a passenger on the S.S. Moyie – one of the longest running sternwheelers in Canada (1989-1957), and today, one of the oldest intact passenger sternwheelers in the world. You can tour the S.S. Moyie National Historic Site when you visit town, or, like many of us in the Kaslo Sourdough family, make sure it’s one of the key spots for photos on your wedding day. Kaslo also has a thriving theatre production company in town, and for over 28 years has hosted a local summer jazz festival.
With all the splendor of beautiful B.C. around town, it’s not difficult to understand why Ulrich Lettrari, the father of the owner/operator of Kaslo Sourdough, vacationed in Kaslo once at the invitation of a family friend in the 1980s, fell in love with the town, and sought to move his family there from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as soon as it was feasible. As an immigrant from Germany, the mountains and landscape of the Kootenays reminded him much more of mountains and landscapes he’d left behind in the Erzgebirge Region of Saxony.
We’re happy he came to Kaslo. We love it here. Today, Kaslo continues to be home to not only the Lettrari families, but also Kaslo Sourdough. In small town B.C., you need resilience, determination, a bit of good luck, and a lot of ingenuity to make a living and make life here work well. Kaslo Sourdough has found a niche in developing high quality sourdough breads and sourdough pastas – good foods that bring good people together. We’re so grateful to everyone whose bought a loaf of bread or more recently, a bag of our pasta, and to those who continue to come back to our products. We can’t think of a better place to be – as a business, as a home, and as an employer for the great people that are a part of our team.Back to news