2017 Vacation / Events

Steckle Heritage FarmHoping everyone is having a great summer! We’re craving some cottage time ourselves, so we’ll be doing the usual thing this year and closing for the last couple of weeks in August. Apologies in advance if this is any inconvenience – we don’t want to miss making your lunch, but we just have to bite the bullet and close for a bit if we’re going to get any break at all!

In other news – we’ll be doing Taste Local Taste Fresh again this year, an event where chefs and local producers pair up to make a bevy of dishes for guests to sample while touring the beautiful Steckle Heritage Farm. Proceeds go to Foodlink, an organization promoting local and sustainable food practices. Check out the event page here.

We’re also very excited to hear the fine folks at the Craftoberfest committee have decided on our home – the Kitchener Market – for their event this year. We’re looking forward to staying late and serving some awesome homemade bar food alongside some of the amazing craft beers that will be coming to the building from local brewers. We’re hoping this becomes a tradition!

Aug. 15-26 – Breadbaron closed for family vacation
Early Sep. – Breadbaron menu change
Sep. 10 – Taste Local Taste Fresh
Oct. 6-7 – Craftoberfest

#SteelRails16

Steel Rails SlidersWe had a blast this past weekend at Steel Rails 2016. The event was, for the first time, not on a train, but instead emulated the train feel with a series of rented shipping containers plonked down around a factory, which all contained art of all forms – a food/celebrity pun series of printed art, live performances both acrobatic and acoustic, and a tarot reader were among some of the attractions.

We pumped out 600 sandwiches, most of which contained a delicious batch of braised pork shoulder and a house made barbecue sauce. We’ll likely have these little babies on our menu soon. We’re looking forward to Steel Rails 2017, whether we provide delicious food or just attend the event ourselves.

Steps for Kids 2016

Steps for KidsWe’re proud to be participating again this year in Lutherwood’s Steps for Kids, a fundraiser for children’s mental health. It’s a walk/run where teams take pledges benefiting the Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Centre. The event takes place on May 1st of this year. We’ll be bringing some grilled veggie wraps and chicken caesar wraps to feed participants and volunteers. For more information or to support the cause, please visit the event page here – http://www.lutherwoodstepsforkids.ca/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1153800

Vacation Time 2015

caterpillar on deckBreadbaron turns two years old mid-August of 2015. It has been a great time so far with hopefully greater times to come! We’re planning something special for our anniversary, but we’re also planning on taking advantage of late August downtime to take a little vacation.

We’ll be closing the shop between August 18th and 28th, taking a little time to travel southern Ontario and recuperate a bit from our busy schedule. Only one Saturday will be affected – August 22nd. Hope everybody is having a wonderful summer so far!

Rampin’ up to Spring

Wild Leeks in Bowl

We’re excited for the spring and all the fresh new produce we’ll be growing and getting this year. One of the more exciting but lesser known native Ontario crops comes right at the beginning of the growing season. Wild leeks, or ramps, are a North American native member of the allium (onion) family. They are more often than not the first budding plants in their region for the year, so the best time to spot a patch is by looking around soon after the spring thaw. Since these guys are so delectable, with a mildly onion-like but very distinct flavour, they are unfortunately over-harvested. This combined with their long gestation / maturation time – a wild leek plant takes a few years to settle in – means that you should only ever pick a few at a time, and the largest ones in the patch at that. If you should be so lucky, clean them up and separate the tops from the stems. The tops make a wonderful pesto, and the stems can be sliced and lightly cooked to add a wonderful springtime “onion/garlic yet not” flavour to almost any dish. Alternatively, pickle the stems for a snappy crunchy snack. We owe it to these plants to enjoy them in moderation, though, or we won’t be enjoying anything at all. Just remember the best things come in small doses!

Steps for Kids

Lutherwood Steps for KidsWe’re proud to be sponsoring Lutherwood’s annual Steps for Kids this summer on May 3rd. The walk is a 3-5 km walk through scenic North Waterloo, starting and ending at the Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Centre, for which participants are fundraising. We’ll be on-site at the event, grilling up wraps made from our ever-changing menu (TBA by the way) and handing them out to participants. To learn more about participation or donation to this wonderful event, please visit lutherwoodstepsforkids.ca.

O’keefe’s – See the Orchard for the Trees

On my drive to my parents’ home in Bruce County last Thanksgiving, they told my girlfriend and I to check out O’keefe’s Grange, an apple orchard southwest of Owen Sound. My parents had recently bought a sapling tree from them and got to know the owners Bill and Lyn. We were lucky enough to stop by during their annual heritage apple tasting. It’s free to sample the 60 or so varieties they have harvested out of the 160-240 they grow.

o'keefe's grange

It was a unique experience unlike any orchard I’ve been to. We pulled into the lane way off a dirt county road and wandered into the wooden barn-like store. Hundreds of apples were organized by variety in various baskets, bowls, or plates with a peach paper sign that told you the apple’s name along with its origin, a brief description, and best use for the apple. A paring knife and napkins were placed by every few baskets and Bill told us to help ourselves. We would cut off a wedge, sample, wipe the knife and move on to the next one.

o'keefe apples on display

Like wine tasting, when you’re sampling several varieties the differences become quite noticeable – sweet, tart, and crisp were just the beginning. Some had notes of pineapple, from others you could get hints of banana or cranberry. Thick skin vs thin. Every few samples Bill would give us a bit more info about the apple we were eating. The ‘esopus spitzenburg,’ for instance, was discovered in the 18th century, had a late harvest, was pale red in colour, and had a crisp flesh. Good for eating out of hand, but also lends itself well to baking and cider. What we didn’t know is that it was supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favourite variety, and was a leading variety at the time in New York. It also benefits from a couple weeks in the cellar to develop a better flavour profile.

o'keefe apple seedlings

After about an hour, we wanted to buy a couple of all the apples to bring back to Waterloo and share with our friends. We slowly whittled our list down to 10 varieties and got a pound of each, which go for $2/lb. Bill was a little apprehensive to sell us the quantity he did as their intent is to sample apples to later have the customer purchase a sapling tree, but he was swayed by our enthusiasm.

The majority of apples were not very visually appealing. No pesticides are used on the property, which leaves the trees susceptible to bug bites, blemishes, and inconsistencies. Keep in mind, with upwards of 200 varieties, it’s got to be hard to sell wholesale. We had to ask what they did with any leftovers.

By mid November when all the trees have been harvested, what hasn’t yet sold is turned into cider. Every year a new batch of cider is released with a unique taste due to the apple composition of each year’s batch. Unfortunately we didn’t get our hands on a bottle, but will definitely be trying again this year!

O’keefe’s specialize in grafting heritage breeds. They use the tasting weekend as a marketing tool to sample unique apple profiles from either heritage or cross breeds. They have access to approximately 1000 varieties. So if you’re looking for an apple that you can’t find at the super market, give them a call. Bill and Lyn will tell you all you need.