The First Chapter
This is not us, but @thevillagebakeshoppe roots are firmly planted with these two. (We are Dean and Wendy, but more about us in the second chapter!) We wanted to first share about the foundation behind our baking adventures!
These two are Wendy’s parents - Bill and Helen Rutherford, who once upon a time owned Rutherford’s Farm Market at the corner of County Road 1 and Highway 62.
Before the market opened in 1986, Bill and Helen were farmers who had Mapledene Farms on what is now Wilson Road. They first had livestock, but then moved into cash crops where they became growers of a wide range of vegetables. The yearly harvests were processed here in Prince Edward County at the local canning factories. (Fun fact - PEC has a rich canning history, and was once known as the Garden County of Canada). Unfortunately, the factories closed, and Bill and Helen needed to change and adapt (not a new concept, but since 2020 this has been called ‘pivoting’).
Rutherford’s Farm Market opened in 1986. It operated until 1999 when Bill and Helen retired. The market evolved on its own, starting as a hub to purchase fruits and vegetables (fresh and frozen). The majority of the fresh produce was locally sourced, and what wasn’t available locally was brought in from other Ontario growers (eg. peaches). Eventually, a bakery was incorporated into the market… see the connection now...
Along with the fresh produce, the bakery became a cornerstone for the market. Helen was head baker, with no real experience other than cooking for her family. The bakery side of things quickly grew; locals and tourists would come to sample the delicious goodness. Bread, buns, pies, and donuts were among the most popular items. Helen’s own bread recipe is used for our @thevillagebakeshoppe breads and cinnamon buns. She’s also the mastermind behind our whipped shortbread and shortcake. Although she’s not in the kitchen with us, she is our head consultant! We often find ourselves seeking her input about future recipes and ideas.
So there’s the scoop on part of the backstory to @thevillagebakeshoppe. Check out the second chapter below...
The Second Chapter
We’ve shared some of the backstory of our baking adventures in the first chapter, and how it was inspired by Wendy’s parents and Rutherford’s Farm Market… it’s now time for us to formally introduce ourselves and share the rest of the story!
We are Dean and Wendy, and we are the bakers @thevillagebakeshoppe! We have both always enjoyed cooking, and preparing food with our kids, and for our family. Dean has been the keeper of the original bread recipe from the market, and over the years he was the one that was responsible for preparing the buns for family get togethers. It became a bit of a family joke that we should start selling bread and buns!
In a formal job sense, we are both educators, working for the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. We love our jobs, but during the multiple lockdowns over the past two years, our jobs got pretty heavy and we were feeling secluded… so many of us had those same feelings. During this time we came to understand the importance of mental health and well-being, and how vital it was to embrace the things that bring us joy… that’s when the idea of The Village Bake Shoppe sprouted. One of the few benefits of the pandemic was that we had time to toy with ideas, and how to bring the bake shop to fruition… so last year on March 27th, we had our first official bake day, and… we loved it! It truly filled our buckets!
We are so appreciative of the support and welcome we have received. It has been such great fun connecting with everyone… Re-connecting with old friends, customers from the market, while also meeting so many others from our community. We look forward to many bake days ahead!