A whole lot of baking going on

RMB_Staff

It’s almost a year since we moved our town market from Ringwood Dr. opening on Main St., Stouffville.  After some renovations at our kitchen and bakery on Ringwood Dr. our team of bakers and cooks have been able to spread out and have more room for making food for you–all from scratch. We like to say that we cook and bake using the same ingredients that you use at home.

Remarkably, our wonderful bakers and cooks make over 60 kinds of cookies, cakes and muffins, and more than 50 kinds of entrees, soups and salads. Plus our bakers on Main St. make more than 20 kinds of pies, so that there are always good smells welcoming you as you walk in the door at Reesor’s.

Meet the team of cooks and bakers at Reesor’s

All of the fresh soups and entrees, fresh bread, muffins, and cookies sold at Reesor’s are made in our own premises on Ringwood Dr. right here in Stouffville.  We have an amazing team of bakers and cooks who work together, talk about food together and who keep the kitchen and bakery humming. They are our key food producers working from early in the morning to make the best and most delicious food in small batches for true homemade taste.

Harley (above left) graduated from the Culinary Arts program at George Brown College.  She and assistant Diana were cooking up and packaging our Spicy Black Bean Soup on a recent Monday morning.

Sandra brings her years of family cooking and professional baking to Reesor’s where she has been managing the bakery and kitchen for the past eight years.  Sandra loves to bake and it’s her labour of love to make cinnamon rolls for you each week.

Joyce our head cook for the past nine years also gets to work on her canoe paddling technique while making our vegan chili. Maybe she has paddled to Newfoundland and back?

Pam started with us as a bakery helper and it turns out she has a unique gift for bread.  She learned the art and science of bread under the watchful eye of Gail who taught her all things bread before she left us for full-time motherhood.

Lisa (at left) and Christina have 35 years of professional baking and cooking experience between them. Lisa likes “the challenge and the fun of  the Christmas baking season at Reesor’s because it’s a chance to come up with new ideas that our customers will like.” Christina, who graduated from the Pastry Arts Management program at George Brown College and who is one of our newest staff members sums it up, “We take pride in our work and we are here to do a good job, but at the same time we are like family caring about each other.”

Velvet Sunrise – Local Coffee Roaster

Meet our local coffee roasteries

If you live in central Stouffville you might remember when Mark Hayward was experimenting roasting coffee from his home. Or perhaps these days you can smell roasting coffee as you drive down the western end of Stouffville where his Velvet Sunrise roastery is now located at Ringwood Dr.

As the roast master Mark selects quality green beans as the foundation of roasting and then does a further process of sampling, roasting, cupping, and scoring for choosing the best beans and the best roast level for each coffee varietal.  Mark’s wife and coffee partner Lisa Darchiville tells us that, “Important to a good cup of coffee is to grind the freshly roasted beans as you need them and to try to brew with filtered water.”

Reesor’s is now offering Velvet Sunrise Coffee in its new orange, 400 g package where you can check out the roasting date and details such as organic or fairly traded or country of origin.

Mark Hayward owner of Velvet Sunrise coffee does a cupping and tasting process for each of his coffee varieties to select which beans to use for which roasts of coffee. 

Brooker’s Natural Meats

Tom Brooks the owner of Brooker’s Natural Meats in Schomberg, Ontario has established a unique way to bring Ontario meats to a few select stores.

Tom comes from a grocery store owner background and in 2009 began to envision a healthier way to eat than what has been available in the mainstream grocery stores. That vision helps him continue his labour of love providing Ontario meat to people who are becoming increasingly interested in their food sources.

Along with a team of farmers in Harriston, Ontario, Tom established a breeding program for cattle, pigs and chickens and hires these farmers to raise them on grass pastures and free-run chicken pens. The animals are raised as naturally and as stress free as possible and are shipped to nearby, provincially inspected facilities to make sausages and cuts of meat to Brooker’s recipes. Tom’s philosophy about meats is, “If it doesn’t need to be added—then don’t add it.”

At Reesor’s Market & Bakery in Stouffville we offer a range of Brooker’s Natural Meats including chicken sausage and chicken burgers, pork sausages, and beef hotdogs. All of our Brooker’s meats are gluten-free.

We are loving their chicken sausage on the BBQ and loving the short ingredient list: chicken, water, salt, raw sugar, parsley, chives, leeks, garlic. You can also try their Mild or Hot Italian, Honey Garlic, Spinach Feta, and Oktoberfest pork sausages or the nitrate-free pea-meal or sliced bacon.

Brooker’s chicken products are made from chickens raised using no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides and fed on a diet that is 100% organic. All are raised in a large, ethical, well-ventilated environment with free access to the outside.

The pork products are made from pigs that are allowed to forage and root through the grass for everything they need to be raised naturally. Their pasture diet is supplemented with a 100% GMO-free organic grain feed.

Even the Brooker’s beef hotdogs are gluten-free and nitrate-free and made from cattle that have a diet of 100% grass in the summer and grass silage during the winter months.

Brooker’s individually seals and flash-freezes their meats and you can store them in your freezer for up to six months to a year with no danger of freezer burn. Look for Brooker’s Natural Meats in our white freezers.

www.brookersmeat.com

Reesors_Cows_01

Preserving food and preserving the land

Have you been enjoying our popular “Country Flavour” jarred peaches and wondering who does the work to can those delicious “Baby Gold” peaches?  Melinda and Edna Brubacher are the young women who started Country Flavour in 2008 and who keep Reesor’s supplied with jarred applesauce, cherries,  chili sauces and other preserves.  Their home with its separate, small-scale commercial cannery is located in Ariss in Wellington County near to the town of Elmira in Waterloo County.

The Brubachers have already been busy this summer canning beets, zucchini, and asparagus and are now starting cucumber pickles.  Most of the food they preserve comes from their own or their parents’ garden and other farmers in their area. Their busiest time is still coming when the three sisters and three other friends will be canning peaches in the very warm and steamy cannery.

Edna is happy in her work. “I enjoy making all of the different products for our customers and I like working with my sister Melinda,” she says.  She’s also pleased that another sister is now working with them too.

Because they preserve local produce it means they have to can or freeze the fruits and vegetables during the Ontario growing season, but the Country Flavour kitchen is busy year-round. In the winter they use the frozen fruit to make jams and jellies and to make their very popular pickled eggs.

With so much supermarket food now imported from the US or China, Reesor’s believes that it’s important to keep demand high for peaches and other fruits and vegetables from the Niagara Region and other parts of Ontario.  This can help maintain land for agriculture and keep small-scale businesses such as Country Flavour viable supplying Ontarians with locally grown and preserved food through the winter as an alternative to imported, out of season fruit.

Because Melinda and Edna are members of the Old Order Mennonite church they don’t own a car or truck to deliver their jars of preserves.  Salome, the manager of Reesor’s Market & Bakery, drives   to Country Flavour a few times a year to pick up boxes of preserves to bring back to to Stouffville.  Salome enjoys the journey to Ariss going along the back roads and seeing the tidy farms and gardens of the Old Order Mennonite families.  She likes visiting Edna and Melinda because they are such friendly and down to earth people.

The Country Flavour cannery is on the right.  A family member’s horse and buggy is waiting out front.

Old Order Mennonites are Christian, pacifist believers who have kept many traditional theological and lifestyle practices.  They do adapt technologies that are required by regulation and practicality, such as the Brubachers’ commercial kitchen equipment that would be the envy of most home-canners.

The cannery in the Country Flavour commercial kitchen.

Part of the beliefs of Old Order Mennonites includes not taking photographs of themselves, neither men nor women. So, we can’t share a photo of the sisters.

Next winter it will be like a breath of fresh summer air to be able to reach for a jar of Country Flavour preserves and know that it comes from Ontario and the careful work of Edna, Melinda, their family and other Ontario growers.
Woolwich, Waterloo and Wellington Counties have many interesting and scenic areas.  Here are links to some of the highlights and a link if you are interested in knowing more about Old Order Mennonites.

West Montrose Covered Bridge

Woolwich County & Waterloo Cycling Tours

Woolwich County & Waterloo Driving Tours

Overview of beliefs & practice of Old Order Mennonites

Merrylynd Organic Farm

Farmer Peter Leahy, one of our beef producers, comes from one of the oldest farming families in Ontario. His family has been farming in the Lakefield area for the past 200 years.

Today, he runs Merrylynd Farm, a fully organic and GMO-free farm and mill in Lakefield, Ontario. Peter has been growing organic grains and producing organic beef and chicken since 1998. He made the switch to organics because he believes it makes good sense for the environment and for the community.
Peter suspects his cattle are truly happy, roaming outdoors all year round. In the summer, his herd of Angus Brown cows and bull have their own off-farm holiday at a secluded organic grass pasture to graze and breed.

We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Merryland Farms, selling their organic beef for almost a decade and offering a selection of their frozen steaks, roasts, and ground beef. We can vouch for their beef firsthand – we make our Shepherd’s Pie with it. And if you have eaten their stewing beef and wonder how it’s so tender? It’s cut from sirloin steak. Try it and taste the difference from Ontario’s Merrylynd Farms.

Producer Profile – Charlie Welsh

Reesors_Charlie

Charlie Welsh of Scotland, Ontario is one of our asparagus producers.

By now, you’re probably craving fresh-from-the-field Ontario vegetables on your plate – and at last, you can have your fix with the first crop of Ontario asparagus. At Reesor’s, we eagerly anticipate the first stalks of asparagus because it kicks off the Ontario growing season, which we always wait for.

At Reesor Farm in Markham we specialize in growing strawberries, sweet corn, and other vegetables.  So we count on farmer Charlie Welsh and other farmers from Norfolk County to grow asparagus for us.  Last week Charlie and his partner (and uncle) Peter Welsh harvested their first crop of asparagus, and as he sees with every harvest, the arrival of spring’s first vegetable is greeted with smiles. “When I bring asparagus to market every year, people are very excited. I’m happy to be growing something that people get excited about,” says Charlie.

The Welsh family has been growing sweet corn since the 1930s and started growing asparagus in 1989. On the shores of Lake Erie, Norfolk County has been an ideal growing location for asparagus because of its sandy loam soil.  Since his father retired in 2007, Charlie has been farming in partnership with his uncle Peter Welsh.

“The most challenging part about growing asparagus is like any crop, you are at the mercy of the weather,” says Charlie. “If it’s cold, it stops them from growing.  If it’s hot they grow too quickly and we can’t keep up with the picking.”

His tips for home gardeners who want to plant asparagus:   “Make sure your soil is well-drained and well-weeded.  It’s tricky weeding asparagus, so this is one of the challenges of raising it.”

Did you know?

• Asparagus can grow so fast during very warm weather that pickers go through the fields twice a day to harvest them before they get too large

• Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period

• A well-cared for asparagus planting will generally produce a crop for about 15 years without needing replanting

http://www.asparagus.on.ca/