Ontario’s Wonderful de la terre Bakery & Café in the Niagara Region

The Canadian craft bakery, de la terre, offers an impressive variety of “all sour dough, all the time” breads in Vineland in the heart of the wine country of the Niagara region of Ontario

Delicious looking breads & bagels fresh out of the oven

Chalkboard list of sour dough breads available (click on photo to enlarge)

Friendly help from Chloe, who explained that the coffee brewed up at the bakery, from Barclay and Todd’s in nearby St Catharines, is fair-traded and organic

2 loaves of sour dough breads: (i) whole wheat & rye and (ii) whole wheat, brought home to enjoy

A slice of the whole wheat and rye sour dough loaf with Greaves Pure Rhubarb Jam, a delicious afternoon pick-me-up

de la terre’s clever “marketing” slogan on a t-shirt: Flour To The People

Delicious sweets from de la terre include streusel and date squares, a peach almond tart, and a flaky blueberry croissant

On travels away from home, our directory for craft bakeries, offering naturally leavened breads and baked goods, made from scratch and hand-crafted, with the mindful sourcing of ingredients often including local grains and fruits is a handy resource to break up a long drive and connect up with the good bread movement that is taking hold in the U.S. and Canada. A late summer trip to enjoy a performance of the spectacular production of The Music Man at the Stratford Festival in Ontario called for a short side-trip off the busy QEW highway to stop at the de la terre bakery & café in the Niagara region of Ontario.

With the tuneful, old-fashioned Meredith Wilson musical score still ear-worming around the old brain (including the only Broadway tune recorded by the Beatles, Till There Was You), a restorative rest stop for a pastry and a cup of coffee at de la terre’s bakery in Vineland, Ontario was a perfect way to break up the long drive home to Albany in upstate New York. Plus, I knew a box of pastries and a jar of Greaves jam (purchased earlier at the Greaves Jams & Marmalades retail shop, since 1927, in Niagara-on-the-Lake) would make for a perfect thank-you gift for kindly neighbors who watched over my home in Albany.

With two locations in the Niagara region, we stopped at de la terre’s main bakery in Vineland, which was easy to find on the map. The café in nearby Jordan Station would have required some additional navigating, but next time we’re in the region, a longer stop for a meal will be in the offing.

The commitment articulated on the bakery’s home page plus the pride of the owner/baker who sketched out his background and training, demonstrated why this wonderful business is included in our directory:

de la terre is deeply committed to foregrounding [as opposed to backgrounding] locally produced foods and their producers, as well as encouraging consumer support of organic and sustainable agricultural practices. In this spirit, we use biodegradable and compostable take-out containers, cutlery, and napkins. We purchase our flour and produce from small independent farmers wherever possible.

The owner/proprietor of the bakery/café doesn’t hide behind corporate branding and marketing and also sums up his background succinctly:

Chef Jan Campbell-Luxton, owner and proprietor, has worked in professional kitchens in Canada and internationally since 1996. He trained at the Stratford Chefs School, then stayed on for several years there as a teacher. The philosophy of de la terre stems from his undergraduate honours degree in international development studies (Trent University).

Earlier this year, we posted a review of Amy Halloran’s The New Bread Basket, How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf (Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont, 2015). Jan Campbell-Luxton’s de la terre bakery in Ontario is a praiseworthy participant in this good bread movement.

The delicious fair trade Barclay and Todd’s coffee brewed up at de la terre bakery was a smooth and delicious awakener for the long drive home, and also demonstrated that the good food movement is wide-reaching: not just the mindful baking of bread but also the mindful brewing of coffee, the second most valuable “commodity” after oil. (Our coffee directory is also a useful resource for travelers.)

And as a closing note, this old fogey, who felt privileged to see the revival of the old Broadway musical set in Meredith Wilson’s fictional small town River City, Iowa by the impressive Stratford Festival actors, singers, musicians and dancers (who are capable of awesome acrobatics), couldn’t help but hope (alas, irrationally) when the curtain came down that the power of LOVE might just transform the con man and fear mongering narcissist currently in the White House (spoiler alert!) as it does for the con man and womanizer Harold Hill in this must-see production of The Music Man on stage until November 3rd in Stratford, Ontario.

[de la terre bakery (Jan Campbell-Luxton), Two locations: (1) 3839 Main Street, Jordan Station (Ontario), 905.562.4567, Bakery & Cafe hours: Mon-Sat 8:00AM-5:00PM, Sun 10:00AM-5:00PM, (2) 3451 King Street, Vineland (Ontario), Bakery: Mon-Sun 8:00AM-4:00PM, 905.562.1513]

(Frank W. Barrie, 9/5/18)

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