Category Heritage / Heirloom

Holiday Traditions: Crawford’s Village Bakery

UPDATE: Crawford’s Village Bakery is closing November 30, 2014. 

My first memory of Crawford’s Village Bakery is of the sweet fragrance of their still warm pies as we stocked them in the Cheeseboard Café’s cooler when I waitressed there back in the 80s. Alison made frequent trips to Crawford’s to keep up with the demand for their delicious, freshly baked fruit pies, like Strawberry Rhubarb and Cherry. I fondly recall the elderly lady who routinely struggled to get to the Cheeseboard just for a prized piece of Blueberry Pie.


My favourite memories of Crawford’s are the trips my Mom, sisters, and I used to make there every holiday. At Thanksgiving we’d pick up our order of Pumpkin and Dutch Apple Pie (my favourite!).


At Christmas we ordered Butter Pecan Pie and our Easter order often included Quiche.


Mom and I loved to browse the shelves for gourmet goodies to embellish our feast,


stuff in Christmas stockings, or hand out as charming hostess gifts.


(Top photo) Suc’ Aromatisé flavoured sugars from France – can’t wait to try the Violet. (Middle photo) Martin Pouret French mustard, Safinter Smoked Spanish Paprika, and Terre Exotique Flower Salad from France. (Bottom photo) Guelph, Ontario’s Kitchen Connaisseur.

Our cookie trays included Aunt Maud’s Christmas Fruitcake. Lucy Maud Montgomery was related to the Crawfords. Elaine and Kelly Crawford published Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book from Lucy’s original recipes, which were passed down through the family. You can buy it at Crawford’s.


Mom always placed a festively-shaped, handcrafted Chocolate Sucker on each grandchild’s plate.


We often picked up little treats for ourselves to enjoy later like German Chocolate Brownies. In those days, we’d linger over a homemade lunch that Crawford’s used to serve in the adjoining room.


(Photo) German Chocolate Squares, Butter Tart Squares, and Date Squares.

I still adore going to Crawford’s for pies and gourmet goodies, cherishing the traditions that Mom and I started. Crawford’s was founded in 1967 by Bob and Elaine Crawford who still run it today, with the help of their daughter, Kelly, and friendly staff.


(Top photo) Some of the happy bakery staff: Angela, Katie, and Jennifer. (Middle photo) Andrea, the talented jam and jelly maker. (Bottom photo) Corry, one of the lovely chocolate ladies.

Throughout all of these years, the quality of Crawford’s products has remained consistently excellent. We have never been disappointed.

The classic fruit pies (Blueberry, Cherry, Dutch Apple, Strawberry Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Cream Cheese, and Butter Pecan) are usually regularly available throughout the year. Summer seasonal pies (available on certain weekends) include such delights as Luscious Lime, Lemon Chiffon, Double Lemon, Lemon Sour Cream, and Blueberry Lemon Crumble.


Luscious Lime Pie

Apple is available all year until summer’s celebration of Peach. Raisin Pie is available by special order. Butterscotch Pie is baked about six times a year, usually around a holiday or long weekend. Pumpkin and Crimsonberry are available weekly except during the summer.


Crimsonberry Pie

Lemon Meringue is available on weekends only from fall to spring. Mince and Mincekin pies (pumpkin with a bottom layer of mince) are the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crawford’s usually features lighter pies at Easter to celebrate spring. Stay tuned to Crawford’s Facebook page for pie schedule announcements. All pies are lovingly made from scratch with a perfect crust and delectable fillings. Crawford’s pies remain the gold standard for pies in our region and are worth every calorie!

The shelves are brimming with artisanal treats and fine imported products like olives, oils, vinegars, pastas, and sauces.


Local products include The Garlic Box, Credit Valley Gold Honey, and Temple’s Sugar Bush Maple Syrup.


And of course, Crawford’s homemade Jams, Jellies, and Sauces. Oh, I think I’ll make my Dad’s day and pick him up a jar of Crawford’s Chili Sauce and a Meat Pie.


I bought my son an old-fashioned Chocolate Cake from Crawford’s for his birthday this year and it was really good. Crawford’s handmade and dipped Chocolate Truffles are far too tempting to resist!


Leave enough time to hunt for a vintage treasure to buy amongst the antiques that have replaced the little café. Check out the Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum in the same space.


Businesses like this, run by families like the Crawfords, are an absolute pleasure to write about. Thank you to the Crawford family for years of continued excellent service.

Call ahead to reserve your favourite pie or to place a chocolate order.

Open 7 days a week:
Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Open Thanksgiving Day, Easter Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
Crawford’s Village Bakery & Distinctive Foods
2809 Bovaird Drive West
Brampton, ON (Norval)
Telephone: 905-451-0347

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How Will Your Garden Grow?

Olive Charky, full of malarkey, how will your garden grow?

With chocolate mint and orange mint…


…and pretty lavender all in a row?


Flavoured mint and gorgeous lavender found at Sheridan Nurseries.

 With Elephant garlic and French shallots…


…and Russian Blue potatoes all in a row?


Gourmet seed potatoes, garlic, and onion found at Terra Greenhouses.

With locally-grown, heirloom tomato seedlings all in a row?


About twenty varieties of beautiful, heirloom tomato seedlings available at Heatherlea Farm Market.

I’d love to hear how YOUR garden will grow!

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Easter Feast: Part Two

UPDATE: Crawford’s Village Bakery is closing November 30, 2014.

Happy Easter! This week, I’ve got notes on my ham and tips on potatoes and homemade desserts for your Easter feast, including a treasured heirloom recipe I served at our family Easter last weekend. Please scroll to the bottom for the recipe.

But first, here are some ways to put a little spring in your step this Easter. Easter is in full bloom at Terra Greenhouses – just look at the sea of gorgeous pink or blue hydrangea blooms.


And of course, there’s no place like Springridge Farm for Easter fun. Click here for what you need to know before heading out to Springridge Farm’s Easter Festival, held on Good Friday April 18, Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20, 2014: (be sure to check out the video link). Say hello to the baby chicks.

Every Easter, Starsky Fine Foods sells these adorable baked lambs that make a sweet table decoration.  And look at the colourful Easter palms.


You can find pussy willows at Herridge’s Farm Fresh Market, which opened yesterday.


By the way, the quiches we ordered last week from Crawford’s Village Bakery were as delectable as their pies: Crawford’s famous pie crust filled to the brim with a generous, flavourful custard that wasn’t too rich.

The Country Ham that I ordered from Heatherlea Farm Market was easy to prepare and I was pleased with the results. Basically, I just removed the skin, trimmed the fat and scored it, then placed the ham cut-side down in the slow cooker, added a bit of water, and let it slow cook until the fat rendered and the meat reached a safe temperature. After I let it rest, I glazed it according to the recipe (see Easter Feast: Part One), let the glaze rest, and then carved it. I have never smelled a more aromatic ham. It was so succulent and tasty straight out of the slow cooker. If you are planning on making this recipe, be aware that the six pound ham just fit in my oval seven quart slow cooker and served sixteen people with leftovers.

What goes better with ham than scalloped potatoes? If you are craving a casserole of thickly sliced potatoes in a rich and creamy sauce with lots of sharp cheddar cheese, I really like Chef Michael Smith’s recipe: Potato Cheddar Casserole.

Herridge’s Farm Fresh Market has Ontario greenhouse rhubarb, a harbinger of spring. Click here for an easy Rhubarb Torte recipe that will make a confident baker out of an apprehensive one and a rhubarb lover out of anyone:


On her blog Cook Me Quick, my friend Carol posted the original recipe for the heavenly carrot cake that the Cheeseboard Café used to serve. Oh, I’ve got lots of good memories of waitressing with friends at the Cheeseboard during my school years; the food was so good that it sparked an interest in cooking in me. The Cheeseboard Cafe’s Carrot Cake recipe can be found here:

Here is what I made for our feast:


Grandma Brown’s Broken Window Glass Cake

Makes one 9” x 13” pan, serving 16 +

I treasure my grandmother’s handwritten recipe for this family favourite we used to serve every holiday. It’s a ridiculously retro dessert but it’s light, refreshing, and appealing to all ages. The colourful cubes of Jell-O look like a church stained glass window. I am reviving this cheery cake to our annual Easter feast with a tip of my Easter bonnet to Grandma Brown.

Grandma Brown preferred strawberry, cherry, and lime Jell-O for the cubes; I like to replace one red coloured Jell-O with grape if I can find it (Walmart) or orange. Make the Jell-O cubes early in the morning on the day before you plan to serve the dessert; they need to chill until firm before you fold them into the filling. Defrost the Cool Whip in the fridge while preparing the Jell-O. Later that day, finish the dessert and let it chill overnight.

Special Equipment:
3 (8”) square pans
1 (9” x 13”) rectangular pan


Jell-O Cubes:
1 pkg. 3 oz. (85 g) grape or orange Jell-O
1 pkg. 3 oz. (85 g) cherry or strawberry or raspberry Jell-O
1 pkg. 3 oz. (85 g) lime Jell-O

1 cup canned pineapple juice
½ cup white sugar
1 pkg. 3 oz. (85 g) lemon Jell-O
1 container (1 litre) frozen Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed or 2 cups whipped cream

2 ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup (scant) brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
Butter for greasing pan


  1. Place the frozen Cool Whip in the fridge to thaw for 4 to 5 hours while the Jell-O sets.
  2. Jell-O Cubes: Prepare the grape, cherry, and lime Jell-O separately; empty each flavour into three separate 8-inch square pans. Add 1 cup of boiling water to each pan; stir well to scrape gelatin granules from bottom of pan and dissolve thoroughly. Add ½ cup of cold water; stir thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap; chill in fridge until firm, at least 3 hours. When firm, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (but leave in pan) and proceed with next steps.
  3. Filling: Empty 1 package of lemon Jell-O in a large bowl; set aside. Place 1 cup pineapple juice with ½ cup sugar in a small pot and bring it just to the boil, stirring frequently; watch carefully and remove it from the heat as soon as the first bubble appears. Pour hot pineapple mixture over Jell-O and stir thoroughly until dissolved completely.  Add ½ cup cold water. Mix well. Chill in fridge to partially set (set your timer for every 15 minutes to stir and check for readiness); it should be partially thickened and cool but still in liquid state.
  4. Crust: Meanwhile, mix crumbs with butter, and sugar; stir well. Set aside about 1 cup for garnish. Pat remaining crumb mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom of greased 9×13-inch cake pan to make a crust; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. Fold Cool Whip into partially set lemon Jell-O. Gently fold in Jell-O cubes. Pour into graham cracker crust. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup of crumb topping over top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled the next day.
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Fun Farmer Felfies

“What on earth is a felfie” you ask? A “selfie” is a photo that you take of yourself and post to social media. Our farmers are taking the selfie trend and turning it into something cool: selfie + farmer = felfie.

To celebrate the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, I have collected felfies from some fun local farmers that you really ought to get to know. I hope you will be inspired to visit their farms and follow them on social media. Since it is #ThankaFarmerThursday, let’s tell these families how grateful we are for their farm-to-table-fresh, quality products. Be sure to check my Farm/Farmers’ Market Directory for a listing of local farm markets and farmers’ markets.

#felfie #familyfarming #ThankaFarmerThursday


The Thatcher Family:


#naturallyraised #farmbeauties #farmlove

“This is Dana and Sophie Thatcher, and their wee friend, of Thatcher Farms. We raise beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey and cut fresh meats here at the farm 5 days a week.  We have an on-farm butcher shop, bakery, and country store.”  [Dana Thatcher, Thatcher Farms]

Small-scale, mixed working farm. Naturally-raised, hormone, and additive-free meat; raised on farm, fed on their own farm-grown feed. Custom-order butchering. Meat pies, ready-made meals, sweet honey, eggs, pure maple syrup, artisan cheese, jams, and jellies, gift baskets, raw pet foods, and butchery classes. Click here to find out why Dana and Adam Thatcher earned the 2013 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers award.

Thatcher Farms
#5727 5th Line of Eramosa, RR# 1
Rockwood, Ontario N0B 2K0
Telephone: (519) 856-4073
Twitter: @DanaBuylocal
Open year round (check website for Christmas hours):
Tuesday and Wednesday: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Farm-stand at: Guelph Farmers’ Market

The den Haan Family:


 #hardworkers #farmdog

“John den Haan or as some of us know him as “Poppa John” is a second generation farmer. His dad and mom (Opa and Oma) purchased the farm we now farm on today when they came from Holland. John’s duties include… well everything. He is a jack-of-all-trades; whether it’s milking the cows morning and night, feeding, or in the fields he’s hard at work. Megs, our Border Collie and mascot, helps to round up the cows in the morning and can often be found wherever John is. She spends her spare hours greeting customers at the farm store. John and Megs are a true picture of hard workers.” [Marianne den Haan, daughter, Sheldon Creek Dairy]


#nextgeneration #happyfarmer #yougogirl

“Emily den Haan is 23. She is farming full-time on her own farm across the road and at Haanview Farms. She actually has her very own herd of purebred shorthorns. These shorthorns are pretty special – they belonged to Archie Currie, our father/grandfather. Emily has taken over much of the herd and is the next generation to have these cows and well, let’s just say she definitely shares the same passion for cows as grandpa did.” [Marianne den Haan, daughter, Sheldon Creek Dairy]

On-farm production and glass bottling of whole, non-homogenized, minimally-processed, naturally fresh milk and yogurt products from John and Bonnie den Haan’s own herd of happy and healthy cows that graze the pastures of the 3rd generation Haanview farm in Sheldon Valley. On-farm store; products also available in other retail locations. The 3rd annual Sheldon Creek Dairy Day on the Farm will be held on June 14, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..  It’s a great opportunity to meet the den Haan family and the cows, tour the barn, and enjoy the local farmers market, live music, face painting, kids craft, cooking demonstrations, and product samples.

Sheldon Creek Dairy
4316 RR#2
5th Concession
Loretto, Ontario L0G 1L0
Telephone:  (705) 434-0404
Open year round:
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Laidlaw Family:


#familyroots #seventhgeneration #heirloomorchard

“I did capture our family planting a new orchard… (my favourite felfie). The tiny twig in the middle is in fact a baby apple tree! The feet belong to Spencer, Margo, [and their parents] Laura and Mark Laidlaw. And the last one is a little Hallowe’en vignette [of Laura] in our barn.” [Laura Kelly, Carl Laidlaw Orchards]


#creative #countrycharm

Seventh generation heirloom orchard and on-farm market: 20 varieties of pick-your-own or already-picked apples (including heirloom varieties), 3 varieties of pears, sweet corn, honey, and candy apples. Bring in baked goods, local squash, garlic, jams, and preserves.  Make your own pie on-site or buy already made. Barbeque hot dogs, sausages, corn, and drinks available on weekends. Old-fashioned fall family fun in a charming vintage setting. For details, please read my post “Happy Under the Apple Boughs: Carl Laidlaw Orchards”.

Carl Laidlaw Orchards
9496 Heritage Road
Brampton, Ontario
L6X 0A1
Telephone: (905) 456-2095
Open: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during September and October, possibly into November depending on Mother Nature.

Thanks so much to my farmer friends for submitting your felfies!

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Heritage Cookbook: Mom’s Sage & Onion Bread Stuffing and Mom’s Apple Crisp

I love to have our extended family gathered around us, joined together by food at a family feast. That’s how I imagine heaven, all of us together again, around the table. We’d wear silly paper hats. We’d crack up over my brother’s humour and marvel over my father-in-law’s poetic recitals. Roast turkey and my Mom’s Sage & Onion Bread Stuffing would scent the air. My Grandma’s Stained Glass Window Cake and my Nana’s Carrot Christmas Pudding would make a grand entrance. I’d peer through the elbows on the tables, at the smiles of all my loved ones.

I have wonderful memories of my Mom and I cooking our family feast in her kitchen. While my Dad sang Silver Bells in the background (happy to be the errand boy), Mom and I would talk for hours as we wrestled with the bird and happily cooked our way through our family-favourite casseroles and all the fixings of a holiday feast. I loved it when my Mom asked me to taste-test her stuffing: “is there enough butter, onion, broth, sage?” It was just a simple Sage and Onion Bread Stuffing recipe from her Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, but my mom knew how to season it just right.

My Mom was very modest about her cooking abilities – yet to this day, I have never tasted a better Chicken Divan, potato-egg salad, turkey stuffing, or apple crisp. We all have our favourite recipes made by our mothers that we grew to love so much.

My sisters and I have taken over the cooking for my side of our ever-expanding clan. We make the traditional, family-favourite recipes that Mom used to serve: my aunt’s Swedish Potatoes, Mom’s Sage & Onion Bread Stuffing, and Vegetables Supreme (from the first Fare for Friends cookbook). I only recently perfected my Grandma’s Stained Glass Window Cake recipe, which I cooked from a recipe scribbled down too hastily on a scrap of paper – it took me a couple of tries to get it right. I have my Nana’s Carrot Christmas Pudding recipe that I may try to make this Christmas. It’s so important to accurately record these heritage recipes to pass down to future generations.

On that note, I have a really great idea I want to share with you. Why not create your own cookbook of treasured family recipes, photos and stories, and then give copies to family members as Christmas gifts? It’s far easier than it sounds. I have come across a fabulous website – HeritageCookbook – that allows you to easily create your own cookbook on-line, with a minimum order of only four cookbooks. Become a free trial-member for 30 days and invite as many people as you want to submit recipes and photos from their own computer, by logging on to your registration. You’ll have access to HeritageCookbook’s templates, photo library, and support. Most people complete their cookbooks within the free-trial month but if you don’t, the monthly fee is minimal. When you are finished, the cookbooks are printed on quality, coated paper with laminated covers.

Though their customer base is largely American (the pricing on the website is in American funds), the company is Canadian-owned and the books are printed in Toronto. HeritageCookbook has printed over 200,000 quality cookbooks and has been recommended by Oprah, Rachel Ray, and one of my friends. The wheels are turning in my head. Which project shall I start with: a family treasury, a church fundraiser, or perhaps my own Olive to Eat cookbook? I can’t wait to get started.

To both sides of our family – near and far, from the other side of the continent to the other side of the Atlantic, and to those we hold close in our hearts – I’m so grateful for the memories, old and new. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mom’s Sage & Onion Bread Stuffing

Serves 4 to 6

This recipe is from my Mom’s Better Homes & Gardens cookbook that she received as a wedding gift back in 1954. She made it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The key to this simple, classic stuffing is to season it to your taste – but make sure you use lots of butter and sage. We always add more of each ingredient than the recipe calls for but never measure – so start out with the recipe, then slowly add more, tasting as you go along, until it tastes just right.

Since the recipe only serves 4 to 6 people, you will likely need to multiply the recipe for a larger feast. If you are stuffing your turkey, calculate 1 cup of stuffing for 1 pound of uncooked turkey; don’t stuff your turkey until you are ready to put it in the oven; promptly remove any leftover stuffing from the cooked carcass and store separately in the refrigerator. I have heard a lot of talk lately about cooking your turkey unstuffed and cooking the stuffing in a separate baking dish. By the time you get the stuffing in the turkey’s cavity heated to a safe internal temperature of 165°F, you dry out the poor bird. Makes sense to me, so my recipe instructs you to cook it in a separate casserole while the turkey rests.


4 cups dry bread cubes – “stuffing croutons” that grocery stores bring in for the holidays

3 tablespoons (or more) finely chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon (or more) salt

¼ teaspoon (or more) freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon (or more) poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon (or more) ground sage

1/3 cup (or more) melted butter

Hot chicken broth or water, just enough to moisten the bread


  1. Combine bread, onion, and seasonings in a large bowl; add butter and toss. Slowly add hot broth, bit by bit, until bread is just moistened. Taste and if necessary, add more onion, broth, butter, or seasonings, until seasoned to your taste. Toss gently to mix thoroughly.
  2. Place stuffing mixture in an ovenproof casserole; cover and chill until ready to bake.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring stuffing casserole to room temperature before placing in preheated oven. Bake, covered, until hot throughout and flavours have melded together – about 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Mom’s Apple Crisp

Makes one 9”-square baking dish.

I have my Mom’s handwritten copy of this recipe. She called it Apple Crisp – Dad’s Favourite and included a little story about the recipe’s origin – it was submitted to St. Andrews United Church in Chatham, by the mother of my aunt’s boyfriend in grade 4 in 1942.

Apple Crisp

This is an easy – and I think more delicious – way to enjoy warm apple pie without the fuss of the crust. It is packed with tart apples and brown sugar and has a crumbly, cinnamon-scented streusel topping. The butter, spices, apple juices, and brown sugar meld together in a delicious mélange that caramelizes around the edges. It smells so wonderful cooking. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream – or perhaps Belly Ice Cream’s Caramel and Sea Salt.

A note on cinnamon: thanks to some helpful advice from Chef Michael Smith, I have fallen in love with Vietnamese cinnamon. I couldn’t get my hands on the brand that Chef Michael uses but found McCormick Gourmet Organic Ground Saigon Cinnamon at my local grocery store – Longo’s Glen Erin. I compared the taste between Saigon Cinnamon, regular cinnamon, and a third gourmet organic cinnamon I picked up at another grocery store, all very recently. To me, the Saigon Cinnamon is the most aromatic, flavourful, and spiciest of the three cinnamons. Olive it! Thank you Chef Michael Smith!

Apple Crisp



5 cups cored, peeled, and very thinly sliced apples (about 6 to 8 apples, ask your farmer which available apples are best for apple crisp)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

Dash of grated nutmeg


½ cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour (measured by spooning in, then leveling off with a knife)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese cinnamon)

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


  1. Place oven rack in middle of oven; preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with ¾ cup brown sugar and dash of nutmeg until evenly coated. Pour filling into a 9” square baking dish and level gently with a spatula.
  3. Add all topping ingredients (except butter) to a medium bowl; stir to combine evenly. Add butter to bowl; blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender to break down the butter into the flour until the mixture becomes crumbly, resembling coarse breadcrumbs without any large chunks of butter. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over apples.
  4. Bake until apples are tender and topping is browned, about 35 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Spoon into pretty cups and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with whipped cream.

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