On a posting from their Facebook page on June 2, Tudor and Cashel Township welcomed a new business into their community; Kitchens Garden Fresh Homemade Baked and Jarred Goods. Owned and operated by Frances Kitchen, this new home business sells a plethora of home-made items to appeal to every taste.
Kitchen and her husband moved up to Gilmour late last year, and she is fully home certified with a food handler’s certificate to run a home business selling food items.
“People can buy from me at home if they want, and sometimes they do, but mostly my business comes from the farmers markets,” she says.
These markets include the Havelock Farmer’s Market, which she still sells at, and the Campbellford Farmer’s Market, which she no longer sells at as it is too far away since she moved to Tudor and Cashel. She says she participated in the Hastings Farmer’s Market when it first opened many years ago for a couple of years, and she also sells her wares at the Kampfire Kitchen Chip Truck in Marmora. In fact, she has a funny story about one of her Havelock Farmer’s Market customers, John, who took a shine to her Skor cookies.
“He tried them once and the next week he phoned in and pre-ordered three dozen. And then after about three weeks of him always pre-ordering them and so many, and he eats them himself, I said to him ‘I know this isn’t really good for my business but you really need to cut back on your sugar. And so, he cut back on the Skor cookies but started buying butter tarts. I was like, oh my god, the butter tarts are worse [for sugar]!” she laughs.
While Kitchen loves the money she makes from her wares, as anyone would, right now she says her home business is to keep herself occupied and to feel useful.
“I have lots to do always but I need to feel important enough and I have to accomplish things. That’s why I keep doing it now. And it’s a beautiful social life and you meet so many great people,” she says.
Kitchen says that while she sold her goods from her house down around Havelock, she says she didn’t really promote it. Now that she has her new home in Gilmour, she’s aiming to do just that.
“Actually, I would love it if people would just come and pick stuff up from my home. Because if they give me a day’s notice I could have it baked for them and they could get it on a prearranged day. I’m not home everyday, but I’m home a lot,” she says.
The goods she sells include baked goods of all types, jarred preserves and jarred sauces. She says her top sellers are her Skor cookies, butter tarts and her lemon loaves. She also sells a myriad of pies, muffins and Chelsea buns. These baked goods, along with everything else she does, is prepared and packaged at her home.
“What I use I pick, or it’s bought from a farm or picked on my own property or from the wild, so I avoid all those sprays,” she says.
Kitchen says she makes her pie fillings ahead of time and jars it and also freezes product like tomato puree from her garden.
“As much as I might say that it’s made today, well I didn’t go and buy from a grocery store those tomatoes. It’s just the way I do it. I keep as much as I can and make do with what I’ve got and that gets sold,” she says.
Kitchen gets a lot of calls for her relishes in zucchini, cucumber and green tomato varieties and her bread and butter pickles and bread and butter zucchini. She says her daughter Christina, who usually doesn’t like relish, was at her grandmother’s house and tried some of that zucchini relish on a hot dog, and now she’s a convert.
“She just loved it and she hates zucchini, but she loved mine. I said, ‘yeah, it’s because you’re not tasting all the dumb additives.’ So now I supply her with that relish once in a while too,” she says.
While she posts regularly on her Facebook page, Kitchen says her daughter, who’s more computer savvy, says she’s not advertising enough. She has sent her a bunch of links for other sites, which Kitchen says she’ll be taking a good look at shortly to perhaps make use of them.
“I even thought of putting my chalk board that goes to the market with me out on my street for the neighbours to see today’s specials,” she says.
People can find more information about Kitchen’s products or get in touch with her at the Kitchens Garden Fresh Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kitchensgardenfresh, by email at email@example.com or by calling 705-761-6916. If you do pick up at her home, the address is 524 Pineview Ridge Road in Gilmour.
Kitchen emphasizes that if an item is not on the menu all you have to do is just ask her if she can make it, and she’ll tell you whether she can or can’t. As she said to one customer, “Come over and have a look at the stuff available, and usually given a day’s notice I can bake something for you.”
“I’m open and I’ve got a gazillion recipes. I just can’t list them all, that’s all,” she says. “I would love to have people come and pick stuff up from my home!”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times