We anxiously await the May long weekend with trepidation and excitement. While the grass in the city has been green for a while, and golfers are already on the course (gasp), this is the traditional weekend for opening the cottage.
Preparations should be exciting not daunting- so we prepared a list to help with your packing and planning:
· Bug Spray
· First Aid kit
· Paper towel
· Toilet paper
· Pantry items, such as coffee, spices, non-perishables, baggies, tin foil & condiments
· Clothing for a wide range of weather- winter through summer.
· Propane for the BBQ?
To begin, it’s important to set your priorities for your arrival and for the weekend to ensure a smooth flow for your precious & limited cottage time. Upon arrival, do you need to turn on the heat, get the water running, plug in the refrigerator, make the beds, charge your phone? Next take a quick look around the property for any trees or limbs that have come down, ice or snow damage or any maintenance item that will require immediate attention.
Over the weekend:
Take time to enjoy the local restaurants and cafes. Relax at Erika's Bakery with your favourite cup of coffee (iced if you prefer) and a treat such as our celebration cone or wonderful new campfire cupcakes. No one bakes quite like Erika- don't skip this stop!
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind this May Long Weekend, is that amid the cleaning, clearing, installing and unpacking, take time to enjoy, relax and take in the wonder we call Muskoka. After all, we come to the cottage to relax and escape so make sure you take time to do so.
It’s farmers market time!! Erika and her staff are excited to be out in the fresh Muskoka air bringing our baked goods, (butter tarts, squares, bread, cookies, muffins, donuts, Chelsea buns, cinnamon buns and more) closer to you.
Farmer’s Markets have been consistent in our landscape despite the rise of brick buildings. Why is that? Shopping at the farmers market gives the consumer an opportunity to build a face to face relationship with the people who grow and prepare their food. It is often a source of information on how to prepare, cook and store produce, especially since local markets tend to feature local foods. Further the Farmer’s Market provides a place not only for commerce but for socialization.
Farmer’s Markets are known to showcase the areas unique produce, crafts and art, and the Farmer’s Markets in Muskoka certainly don’t disappoint.
Join us as we launch the 2019 Farmer’s Market Season. You can stop by our booth at the Huntsville, Bracebridge and Dwight Markets this summer and pick up your favourite Erika’s treats.
The Dwight Market (@dwightfarmersmarket) opens June 25thand runs from 10-2 every Tuesday, on Dwight Beach Road. Special to the Dwight Market- arrange your trip to take advantage of the Bigwin tours launching out of the Dwight Beach Dock Monday nights and Tuesday Mornings.
The Huntsville Market opens May 16th and runs every Thursday from 9am-2pm (@huntsvillemarket) at 407 Ravenscliffe Road, Huntsville.
The Bracebridge Market opens Saturday’s starting Victoria day and runs from 8:30am-1:00pm, located at Memorial Park.
Of course our bakery also carries a wide variety of sweets and is open daily all summer. See our homepage for our hours.
We look forward to meeting new people and reconnecting with our loyal customers! See you at the Market!
Look Who Walked into Erika's!
Look who walked into Erika’s! Sorry this blog is a little slow in coming, we have been very busy but felt it was still important enough to share with everyone. We had Matthew join us one day earlier in April at Erika’s. Matthew had lunch and as someone struck up a conversation with him everyone in the bakery soon realized that this young man was a special individual with a big heart. He sat and told us a few of his stories that he had encountered on his trek across the country. We all wanted to help so Erika’s supplied him with a couple of suppers and treats and one of our special customers made the commitment to find him on his journeys through the park.
Matthew Jefferson, a Wet’suwet’en or Caribou Clan Man (and The Killer Whale and Sun on his father’s side) & former Huntsville resident, is walking across Canada in what he has called “The Walk to Remember” with the goal to help remove the barriers between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. While Jefferson has found the walk to be personally healing, it has also continued to raise awareness murdered and missing Indigenous women.
Jefferson’s Aunt, Frances Brown, is one of these missing Indigenous women. Brown went missing October 14, 2017 when she went out to pick mushrooms. Not to be forgotten Jefferson has attached a picture of his missing Aunt to his backpack and continues to speak in the many towns he walks through. He recently spoke at Huntsville’s Brew House & Trinity United Church and gave an interview to Hunter’s Bay Radio. To hear his interview, click here!
It is estimated that Indigenous women are up to 7x more likely to be murdered than Non-Indigenous women. A recent RCMP report found that 1017 women who identify as Indigenous were murdered between 1980 and 2012. Indigenous groups put this number over 4000. Neither figure includes the individuals who are “just” missing.
You can follow Jefferson’s walk on Facebook – The Walk to Remember or contribute to his walk at https://www.gofundme.com/thewalktoremember
Cool nights and warm days are the perfect combination to get the Maple sap flowing. The Maple harvest has become synonymous with our Canadian culture, and what better place to celebrate - surrounded by Canada’s natural beauty - than here in Muskoka.
This Saturday, April 27th, represents the culmination of the Maple Trail, as Muskoka celebrates the Maple harvest in Hunstville. A family friendly event, the celebration includes activities, vendors, live music, street performers and of course delicious food. The Maple Market Place will feature the regions Maple Syrup producers, who will have on hand goodies to try, or buy. Stop by and visit us at Erika’s booth where we will feature a variety of Maple butter tarts, cookies and squares, donuts, Chelsea buns, cinnamon buns!
You never know what will happen next at Erika’s. Two years ago now, in the month of April, a man walked into Erika’s and up to the counter where he proceeded to declare he believed he was having a heart attack. Ever wonder how you’d react in an emergency? Well, at Erika’s we sprang into action right away, called 911, and did our best to make him comfortable. After what seemed like an impossibly long wait and watching this man who was visibly uncomfortable and unsure of what he should do, the first responders arrived, followed shortly thereafter by the ambulance, who administered the much needed help to this sick man.
A phone call fraught with tears from his wife and daughter thanked us for being there for him and acting so quickly followed soon after. We learned that this unknown man was named Stephen and that he had been airlifted to Newmarket, where they performed 6 bypass heart surgery and saved his life. In fact we later learned that Stephen’s doctors told him he would have probably lived another half hour without the much needed help he received. While we were just one part of the puzzle that day, Stephen was grateful for the care and compassion Erika’s showed him.
Today, we at Erika’s and Stephen have a special bond. To show his gratitude Stephen wrote this song for us recognizing Erika’s as the landmark it is in Dwight.
We are happy to report that Stephen is living life to the fullest, making the most of this second chance. We love to see Stephen, it puts a smile on our face when he drops in. We smile even broader when we think about the difference Erika’s has had on his life. While we make it part of everyday living, to pack as much as possible into each and every day (and sometimes maybe too much), we hope that Stephen’s story resonates on some level with everyone who hears it. Stephen has continued to finish things in his life he had only thought of before and he is happy waking up every day to continue.
We thought it was appropriate to bring this story to light at this time of year to remind us all of what Easter/Spring really means with new beginnings and a fresh start to all our lives. To here the song, click here or you can also tune into Country 102 in Bracebridge as this song and an interest story will be told through an interview with Stephen. This will be aired Thursday and Saturday of this week. Don’t forget to stop in at Erika’s and say hi and grab a favourite treat.
Behind the scenes at Erika's- Cupcakes
At Erika’s bakery in Dwight, there is always something new and exciting happening. Regulars enjoy coming in and hearing or seeing what we’re up to, and our staff, well, we enjoy keeping them on their toes!
This past month, through snow, sleet, & even some sun J, we have been travelling from Muskoka to Toronto for Cake Decorating classes as part of our continuing learning process. In bakery you might have noticed the addition of our Easter and spring cakes. These cakes are available to pre-order (48 hours notice please) while our spring cupcakes are available just for spring! You never know what we will bake up for summer, keep your eye on our Facebook page (@erikasbakeshoppe) for more pictures of our upcoming products.
Have a special request? Let us know, we would be happy to bake it up!
Erika’s Bakery- 705-635-9490 or email@example.com
Ever wonder about the origin of April fool’s Day? We did, so we did a little digging. As it turns out there is much speculation and no concrete answer. Disappointing we know. This wonderful little nugget, falling on the 1st of April has been popular since the beginning of the 19th century. It is customary on this day to play tricks on your friends, family & neighbors getting them to believe ridiculous things or sending them on a Fool’s errand looking for things that don’t exist. Newspapers, the mass media, and of course social media have also gotten in on the fun propagating “fake news’ sometimes with unpleasant consequences. For media pranks go wrong visit this site. And of course thank you to Bigwin for a good laugh this morning.
Help us Cheer on our Otters Midget AE team - Support our Huntsville Boys
Pack the Arena
Saturday March 30th -6:30pm
Sunday March 31st- 2:10pm
Recently we traveled to Pellham to cheer on our Huntsville Otters Midget AE team during two games 2 & 3 in the finals series. Having won all games in the playdown series, and having won the first game in the finals, hopes were high all around. Unfortunately the win was elusive in both games and the team returned to Huntsville defeated.
We have yet to sit in the stands of a sporting event and not hear the controversy of “bad calls, dirty players, or useless coaches.” It would seem that the spectators in the stands are always evaluating and coaching along with the team, however it is the players and the referees and linesmen that truly are the ones at that particular moment in time that really matters in a game. This is true at all levels competition from youth house league to professional.
It’s important that perspective not be lost here. Players, coaches, spectators could drop their heads and give up. BUT, there is so much more to competitive youth sport than winning and losing. In fact with only .02% of male hockey players in Ontario making an NHL career of the game, it perhaps more important that we recognize and emphasize the teachable moments in every victory and loss. This past weekend, as difficult as it was to watch, contained many important life lessons which will help the players in all aspects of their lives: how to rise above, life is not always fair, doing your best may not be enough, hold your head high, don’t give up, and how to lose, among a few.
All was not lost though, the team has up to 3 more opportunities to challenge Pellham and stand victorious. This weekend, Saturday March 30th at 6:30pm and Sunday March 31st at 2:10pm, the Otters will play two more games. To win both means the Otters will be the “All Ontario Champions.” Help us pack the Don Lough Arena with local supporters to cheer the team to a spectacular home victory, while showing them that the community is behind them win or lose.
Job Hunting in Muskoka?
This week in Huntsville, the Huntsville YMCA Employment and Learning Service is holding its annual job fair. Come out on Thursday March 28th to the Jack Bionda Arena, located at 20 Park Drive, between 1-5pm, where over 70 potential employers will be eagerly waiting to meet you. While you're there don't forget to stop at the Erika's booth and meet our very own Erika!
Erika's team is growing for the summer. A fast paced, friendly, family environment, we are searching for just the right person to join our team of superheroes. Will this be you? The Right team member will be confident, have great people skills, the initiative to problem solve & go above and beyond, the ability to multi-task and be available to work days, evenings and weekends. Currently Erika's team in looking for dishwashers, front counter, sandwich artists and prep assistants. Interested applicants should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with "sunshine team" in the subject line.
Traditionally St. Patrick's day or the Feast of St. Patrick, is held on March 17th, the date of the death of St. Patrick, the foremost Patron Saint of Ireland. A day to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Irish, the day is observed with a variety of festivities including the wearing of green, parades, drinking of green beer, singing and of course the traditional St. Patrick's dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Green beer during lent? Yes, according to tradition the Lenten restriction on alcohol consumption is lifted for St. Patrick's day.
Who was St. Patrick? Kidnapped and forced into slavery in Ireland at the tender age of 16, St. Patrick escaped only to return to Ireland 17 years later as a Priest with a mission to convert the Irish. Though we associate the colour green with St. Patrick, his colour was originally St. Patrick's blue. This was changed to green once St. Patrick was linked to the Irish Independent Movement in the late 18th century.
Join Erika for a traditional St. Patrick's dinner on Friday March 15, 2019. Seating is limited so reserve your spots ASAP. On the menu, corned beef & cabbage! Did you know there is no "corn" in the traditional dinner? Instead "Corned" refers to the large grains of salt called "corns" used to cure the meat.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
March Break in Muskoka – there is nowhere better to escape with the family and enjoy the amazing amount of snow that has fallen this year.
What to do you ask? Let us help.
The Muskoka Maple Trail is now running. A traditional family event, the Maple Trail features sugar bush tours to fabulous Maple Baked Goods. Speaking of maple baked goods I can smell the wonderful wafting scents of the bakery as I write this - I invite you to join us at Erika’s to sample our new Maple menu featuring hot and cold drinks & of course wonderful baked goodies. This week's feature drink, Erika's Steamer paired with "The Best Brownie Ever" and a sticker activity book for only $9.99. Browse Erika's for lot's of Melissa & Doug toys, activities and much more to enjoy this march break.
Horse Drawn Sleigh rides are always popular with the family and there are several operating including the ever popular Back of Beyond Equine Centre and the Twin Maple Farms.
Algonquin Park is a great destination for both memorable and educational activities. Give Fat Biking, Snowshoeing, or Cross Country skiing a try. Take a guided tour or explore the trails on your own.
Prefer downhill skiing? Hidden Valley Ski Resort offers great skiing and snowboarding for the whole family.
World class Deerhurst resort offers many family oriented activities from the Escape Room where families work together to solve a mystery through the use of problem solving, puzzles, codes, hidden clues and hidden secrets, to the petting farm, horseback riding and new – the starlight snowshoe trail.
While in Muskoka take time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this March Break with many local restaurants & pubs offering up unique menus for the day. Be sure to reserve your spot at Erika’s St. Patrick’s dinner taking place on March 15th. See the complete menu and more details here.
Don’t forget the ever popular tobogganing, dog sledding, skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling, or shopping in Muskoka’s unique gift stores and boutiques. There truly is something for all ages and all interests here in Muskoka. Happy March Break, we look forward to seeing you!
We've got your sweet tooth covered!
Erika's is proud to be featured on the Muskoka Maple Trail again this year.
Maple sap, the maple tree's natural anti-freeze for the roots in winter, has now made the list of super foods. Tests on the syrup found it to contain compounds which could help manage type 2 diabetes, as we as acting as anti -cancer and anti- inflammatory agents.
Ever wonder how maple syrup came to be? Legend has it that an Iroquois Chief yanked his hatchet from a maple tree where he had left it. Upon doing so, the sweet sap trickled down into a birch bark bowl that was leaning against the tree & the rest is history.
During pioneer days, sugar was a rare commodity, so the idea of being able to source a natural sweetener from the trees on the land was groundbreaking. Today maple syrup is used in a wide variety of sweet and savory treats, drinks and adult beverages.
This year Erika has expanded her maple menu especially for the Muskoka Maple Trail. Perennial favourites such as Erika's famous Muskoka maple butter tarts, freshly baked maple cinnamon & maple oatmeal muffins, Maple Muskoka Mist & the maple white hot chocolate, will be complimented by the Muskoka Maple Double Double with a maple pecan biscotti, the maple cinnamon latte with a maple sugar cookie on the side, maple bacon, Italian sodas with a maple twist – and so much more.
Erika's Team strives to prove leadership in our community and in business. We believe that all learning is an integral part of this process. Learning is continuous and is something we seek out in order to continue to offer current and quality products to our customers. Recently when we traveled to Toronto to attend a series of seminars.
The first seminar we attended was presented by Andrew Pyke, a sought after expert in the design community. Andrew believes in keeping up on the new trends and presenting fresh ideas in decorating through the use of colour, fabric, tile, lighting and furniture. Most recently Andrew has been intrigued by how simple yet effective shiplap can be. Shiplap, according to Andrew, provides small spaces with visual interest without clutter. Certainly this is a trend we see in Muskoka homes & cottages, and is a relatively simple and quick way to update your space. To read more on Andrew’s insights into ship lap, visit his blog “Shiplap, My New Design Crush” here.
Refreshing a space can be as simple as a can of paint and some interesting design elements. The hottest colours for 2019 were revealed. They included some of the standard colours we see year over year, as well as surprises such as coral and black. Framing some of your decorating basics such as different metals, wood or leather products with current trends and colour means you can update your space on a budget.
Colours of the Year: Paint: Pantone: Living Coral, Para: Ginger Scent, Benjamin Moore: Metropolitan, Sico: Grand Manan Black, PPG: Night Watch (Dark Green/Grey), Benjamin Moore: Oxford White
We also attended a seminar put on by Kelsey Ramsden who was named Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur two years running and has been recognized globally for building multiple, multi-million dollar business. Kelsey is an engineer by trade, a wife, mother and cancer survivor. The core of her message was that fundamentally, every successful person is a beginner at every stage, because only those who continue to strive are those who survive in business. It is that simple and that hard.
Designer Cory Christopher seminar resonated with our team. Christopher, a regular presence in the media, with appearances on CTV Edmonton, Global Edmonton, CBC Radio Active and features in news and national print, he encourages everyone he meets to discover their inner creative potential and add a little more beauty to their lives. Christopher’s message was clear: never give up, when you are willing to grow and change with the times and give each customer personal attention you will be successful.
The bottom line to all of this is to have the persistence to continue, don’t give up and keep changing and keep up with what is current in the market and of course always remember the customer. Make each customer feel special every time they come into your business whether you are selling a cup of coffee, a toy to a child, grandmother, or one of your biggest investments in life your home/cottage or land it is all the same technique. Our job is to keep current in learning while using our past knowledge and keep adding new knowledge. Then we need to add the special ingredient of love in everything we do by making the customers feel important and special to us. Everyone matters it is not just business.
Our latest Melissa & Doug order has arrived! The courier arrived and so did the boxes, we filled our office and then some! We are sure the staff wondered how many more boxes could possibly come through the doors- and where we were going to put it all, but we did it! Come into Erika’s Bakery and Gift Shop to see our wide selection of Melissa and Doug toys. We carry toys for all ages, starting with newborns. Don’t forget to stock up on crafts, dress-up clothes or puzzles to keep the young ones entertained. Looking for that perfect stuffy? From the Golden that “guards” our office, to the giraffe peeking out between the toys, Erika has lots of friends to choose from. Check out some of the Melissa & Doug we received, or come by to see the full selection.
Erika’s Apple Fritters are a daily staple at the bakery, they even have their own day – “Fritter Friday.” With requests coming province wide, customers enjoy the flavourful treat with a coffee in the traditional Muskoka bakery or they order to go- often for more than just themselves. The history of the Fritter can be traced back to the Roman’s who introduced the precursor of this delightful recipe to the Europeans. Called Scriblita this treat was created by frying dough in hot fat.
First mention of the Fritter in England can be traced back to the 1390’s. A sweet treat, the term Fritter is derived from the Latin term Frictura, meaning “a fry.” Essentially the term refers to anything coated in dough and fried.
Today’s Apple Fritter is not anything like the original British Fritter, but has evolved into the sweet, doughy treat we know today. Coated with a thick, sweet icing no one offers a Fritter quite like Erika! Come into Erika’s Bakery & enjoy an Apple Fritter while you catch up on all of the areas local events.
“It’s important to emphasize the we because it’s always about a tiny team that does something mighty.”
Erika, Tanya & Simone recently attended Michele Romanov’s talk entitled “As we talk about change,” at world renowned Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. A Dragon on CBC’s hit show Dragon’s Den, Michele is a successful, serial entrepreneur who started 5 companies before her 33rd birthday. Michele believes “it’s important to emphasize the “we” because it’s always about a tiny team that does something mighty.”
The Grainger family embodies Michele’s lived experience, “successful people who do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do.” Serial entrepreneurs themselves, the Grainger’s operate the immensely popular bakery & coffee shop in the heart of Dwight - “Erika’s.” Within the walls of the bakery customers will often find the family working happily together, Erika’s laughter ringing throughout the building. The positive energy brought by the 3 Grainger ladies readily transfers to the staff who diligently wait on customers.
Erika’s has welcomed visitors from over 21 countries, while happily servicing the regulars from our community. Weekly regular customers travel from Orillia and Niagara Falls to enjoy the ambiance of the bakery, a great cup of coffee and the outstanding company.
We invite you to drop into Erika’s enjoy a cup of coffee and a visit with us, perhaps we may even be able to tempt you into a treat.
Erika’s Bakery was busy in our community this past weekend. With a private catering job, assisting with the Dwight Carnival and serving our loyal customers , there was not a dull moment to be had.
Saturday in Dwight brought a beautiful sunny day where the Carnival kicked off the morning with the traditional Lions Pancake Breakfast. Real Maple Syrup, sausage, bacon, fruit salad and of course pancakes (yes we even had gluten free!). Erika’s assisted the Dwight Lions club in cooking 133 pancake breakfasts! Colin Winterbottom was awarded the Bob Palmer Award, which recognizes individuals for their dedication and passion in helping to make the community a better place for everyone.
Members of H.O.L.D. chaired the annual chili contest. With entries from local restaurants competing for bragging rights, including the Moose Café & Grill, Route 35, Family Place, the Bears Den, Webster's Beacon and Erika’s, for a small fee members of the community sampled all six entries before casting a ballot for their favourite. Congratulations to Webster’s Beacon for submitting the winning entry for 2019.
Carnival goers enjoyed plenty of outdoor activities including fat biking, snowshoeing, and a favourite of carnival attendees – Battle of the Balls. Combined with educational visits including an opportunity to pet a skunk, the Dwight Winter Carnival was a success with a good time had by all.
Next winter Dwight will celebrate 50 years of the Dwight Carnival. Volunteers or businesses who would like to contribute are always welcome. Please contact Erika’s (705- 635-9490) for more information on how you can give to this worthy family event.
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