bakery toronto

Local bakeries are stepping up production to help feed Toronto

The saying goes that man cannot live on bread alone, but here in Toronto during this pandemic it's an important staple that local bakeries are providing in increasingly creative ways.

"Our Commissary bakery has just recently stepped up its production to keep pace with a resurgence in demand for fresh baked bread," says Scott Hart, Executive Director of Operations for The Drake. "We added a selection of more practical enduring larder essentials to our Uber Eats and take-out menu at Drake Commissary.

"Some of our most popular take-out items were unexpected," Hart says. "At Drake Commissary frozen scones and cookies, brownie mix, and pancake mix are being added on to regular lunch or dinner orders."

Despite the demand, even a larger operation like The Drake with multiple locations isn't immune to concerns associated with business lost due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is not an easy go for us or any of our neighbouring restaurants," says Hart. "We are thankful for the customers that continue to support us and for the new ones that discover us.  

"To this end, we are ensuring that any surplus we might have from our day to day operations are repurposed or redistributed to our community in a healthy way. We are doing our best to make sure nothing is going to waste in these trying times."

Smaller bakeries like St. John's Bakery are finding it necessary to adapt during these times in order to ensure too much business isn't lost.

"While we have lost farmers' markets and restaurant revenue, companies such as Mama Earth, Sweet Potato and Big Carrot have filled the void," says Shawn Burk, General Manager of St. John's. "Also, our retail outlet has done well with the help of Uber Eats."

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"Our business has changed dramatically since we've entered these new times," says Matthew Faust, one of the owners of Brodflour. "We've seen a huge demand in our fresh milled flour. Our flour is alive, it's a living plant and being able to mill it and immediately sell it to our customers is something only we can offer right now.  

"We are so happy that customers are finally trying us out and their enthusiasm (and our sales) speak volumes about how amazing it is to work with freshly milled flour."

These bakeries have also had to work hard to take extreme sanitation measures during these times.

"We've implemented strict pickup guidelines with our delivery partners and the bakery is closed to the public and drivers," says Faust. "They flash us their order number through our door and then require them to step back five feet (behind a painted line) so that our staff can safely place their pickups on a table beside the door."

Brodflour has also adjusted their production in accordance to the needs of the community right now. "Since we provide a staple grocery item we have also revised our prices permanently in the hopes of making freshly milled, healthy flour and bread as accessible as possible," says Faust.

"We're also donating our products to help feed those in need.  We've teamed up with two centres in our area to provide fresh breads and flours to help those less fortunate than us. We have increased that since we've entered these times."

So if you find yourself in need of staples, don't settle for the last loaf of Wonderbread on the big box store shelf. Nourish your body (and soul) and support a small business that really needs it by grabbing a contactless delivery or convenient pickup from one of these clean, safe, local businesses.

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