"De la terre"

De la terre means from the earth.

De la terre is also the name of the bakery café that my sister works at in Fonthill, Ontario. Its focus is on local and organic, with local taking precedence over certified organic, but often you get both. So one way or the other "de la terre" is a well suited name for this place.

See their website for words from the horse's mouth. It's at De la terre Café and Bakery.

Or read on below for what I was able to pick up about this ambitious and pleasing spot.

Though my sister has only been working as pastry chef apprentice since November 1, 2007, De la terre is already approaching its second anniversary. Jan Campbell-Luxton is the proprietor and chef of the café. He serves up a mean breakfast (shown in the photographs here) and lunch (I sampled an amazing braised beef sourdough sandwich with the best Ontario mustard I've ever tasted, as well as an fascinating celery root and apple soup).

Though it's open for breakfast and lunch but not dinner, De la terre possesses an omnipotent influence on the neighbourhood that surrounds it. In addition to a commitment to local food crops, Jan also has a barter system set up so that anyone can bring in their fresh chemical-free greens or other local produce and strike up a deal with the kitchen.

I imagine that they've given out more than a few loaves of their bread this way. Their bread is also distributed at the Grimsby market on Thursdays and at a various other establishments, including the Saint Catharines restaurant called Pan Café.


As a pastry chef, my sister may not be affected by local harvests as much as head chefs who manage an entire kitchen. Regardless, she does use many regional ingredients in her creations.

You can see some of her recent baking, which she has been doing entirely on a volunteer basis. See the spelt wedding cake and dessert trays she customized for a wedding in Ball's Falls last weekend by clicking here.

That wedding -- my brother's, in fact -- carried a local theme similar to so many restaurants, recipes and cuisines have been the trend at the moment in the cultural zeitgeist. At the wedding reception, all the cupcakes, spelt brownies and other dessert nibblies were baked in a conventional domestic oven, in my sister's simple kitchen, located about only 15 minutes away from the reception.

Also keeping with the local theme, the wedding favours given out to guests of my brother and his bride once the fabulous desserts ended were large clay pots of young herbs -- mint, sage and rosemary sprigs. These were starter kits for a summer of home harvesting.

Local may be trendy these days, but it is more than that in the bigger picture. And it's more than sentiment at a wedding. It's delicious, for one thing.

When you're one of the neighbours of De la terre Café and Bakery, it's a huge benefit too and valuable addition to the community.