This story is one of a series focusing on local makers. In 2022, The Review will be finding out what local entrepreneur-makers are creating, will explore the how-they-do-it aspect of what they do and of course, we will be asking them why they do what they do. This week, we speak with Sabrina Barker, owner of The Pink House Breads and Goods. She and her family moved to St-Eugene in December 2020. Read on to see what’s cooking in the Barker household.
Sabrina Barker and her family moved here late in 2020 and their story is familiar. The couple and their two young children relocated here from British Columbia to be closer to family members.
A good thing about the move is that Sabrina’s dream–selling her baked goods, bread and buns–was, indeed, a moveable feast.
Sabrina has been baking for family and friends she was was in her teens. “I made our wedding canoli cake!” she says with a laugh.
The 27-year-old had started a baking business in British Columbia about two years ago. People could order and pick up their goodies at her home. Now that the family has moved to Eastern Canada, Sabrina says her family is enjoying the change of pace, while she stays home with the couple’s four-year-old and 18-month-old children. She cares for the family by day and bakes in the evening.
The move from BC also required a decision for Sabrina to stay at home, instead of continuing with her job as locomotive engineer. She says she doesn’t miss her run in Revelstoke, where at this time of year, she would be watching for avalanches.
“I don’t have to worry about that any more,” she commented.
Continuing with her career at the time would have meant being away from home a lot, so she is truly content with what she refers to as a change of pace.
You will be able to find Sabrina and baked goods from The Pink House Breads and Goods at the Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market, but you can also find her on Facebook and place orders there, or give her a call.
And now: the part you have been waiting for. What does she bake?
A popular item with her customers are cinnamon buns, she says–iced with cream cheese icing, although she won’t be bringing those to the Farmers’ Market just yet, she says. She also bakes a variety of breads.
She loves to make cakes and cupcakes. There is so much freedom when you make cakes, she says.
Her favourite things to make are something called cardamom cakes: a kind of round, shortbread cookie that is rolled in icing sugar while they are still warm from the oven.
“They are kind of fun. They look like mini-snowballs and the icing sugar kind of makes this fine glaze on the cookies,” she said, adding that cardamom is her favourite spice.
And then there are the bagels. Sabrina makes a variety of bagels– the “everything” bagel has a mixed topping consisting of garlic, onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and salt sprinkled on top.
In the beginning, Sabrina says she couldn’t believe that people were buying everything she could make.
“But it worked for us – I was able to do baking at night and earn a little income but also, I got to do what I love to do,” she continued.
One can tell that Sabrina likes the creative part of baking. Although there is a certain comfort that comes from using familiar ingredients and trusted recipes, she likes to try unusual combinations. An example of what she will have at the January 22 Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market is banana cream pie meringue pops.
She also confides that cannoli are big in their household. Each year for the couple’s anniversary, they make a different kind of cake featuring cannoli, like: Black Forest cannoli cake, for example.
Her future dreams include setting up a mobile bakery truck, so that she can transport even refrigerated goods to larger urban centres like Ottawa. Her husband, a purchaser who works for a building supply company in Ottawa, regularly takes orders and then delivers on Fridays. Sabrina feels that there is room to grow her business to serve more customers.
But at the heart of it, it’s all about the baking.
At night, after the children are in bed, Sabrina does what she calls a “re-set.” She cleans and prepares her kitchen for baking.
“There is a rhythm to baking. From the kneading of the dough for bagels or whisking a batter, it’s really calming, somehow,” Sabrina explains.
She is looking forward to meeting people, something which has been difficult during the pandemic.
“Right now, I make what I want, but if anybody has any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them!” she says.
Connect with the Pink House Breads and Goods here.
You can speak with Sabrina by calling: 1-403-998-5510.