Part of a series about the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market, written by Valerie Davies.
Oak Haven Organic Bakery and Bike Barn – Doug Brown and Joy Elliott
by Valerie Davies
Oak Haven has been coming to the Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market for over 20 years now. They sell hand made breads which are baked in a wood fired oven, can provide landscape design and they also sell and repair bicycles.
Doug Brown and Joy Elliott came to the Annapolis Royal area in 1995 with their 2 young children, Trinette and Coburn. The 4 of them quickly became regular faces at the summer market and in town. A few years later the twins, Nita and Amber, were born. All four children grew up running around at the market getting to know the great people in the community.
Doug has always had a passion for making breads by hand and has perfected his methods of preparing both yeasted and sourdough bread. All the flour for the breads is Canadian grown Organic Whole Wheat, Spelt, or Khorasan. Organic Buckwheat Groats are also used for the gluten-free Nama Bread. The Spelt and the Khorasan flours are ancient varieties of wheat. Each has its own unique flavour and properties that make it desirable to those seeking an alternative to mainstream bread products.
All the breads are baked in a wood-fired oven that Doug built. The bakery is a licensed kitchen that was added onto the old farmhouse that Doug and Joy live in with their children. The Oak Haven property includes large organic gardens and a greenhouse where many vegetables are grown and a large woodlot where Doug harvests firewood (primarily for the bakery oven).
The bread making method involves preparations 12 hours before the bake day starts. Most of the yeasted breads use a pre-ferment process, similar to a sour dough bread. This improves the taste, the keeping quality and the digestibility of the breads. Oak Haven carries up to 14 different varieties of bread ranging from the nine Grain Bread to the Squash Bread at the market. They also carry a number of treats ranging from their signature Sun-Squares to the seasonally varying treats including Ginger – Rhubarb Tarts, Blueberry Turnovers, Cinnamon Buns and Almond Tarts. All ingredients are organic including butter, sugar and raisins.
Joy is generally the face you will see at the market selling baked goods, some vegetables and keeping in touch with members of the community. Occasionally, you will find one of the younger family members filling in for her. While in town, Joy also keeps up-to-date with any on-going landscape projects that she has been involved with. Joy is a Landscape Architect and has been very involved with local municipal and residential landscape design projects since arriving in the area. Recent Town of Annapolis Royal projects include the Waterfront Amphitheatre project due to begin construction in 2017.
Doug is also at the market, but he operates from a different booth with his line of Devinci Bicycles. Devinci is a Canadian company based in Quebec that makes top of the line road and off road bicycles. Doug has been an avid cyclist all his life and has been repairing and selling bicycles since the 1980’s. You can talk to Doug about any of your bicycle problems or interests. He is an experienced bicycle mechanic and a certified Shimano technician. He can also direct you to some great cycling routes in the area. We are lucky here to have beautiful scenery, very low traffic volume and a number of alternative secondary routes conducive to leisurely or quick cycling adventures.
Oak Haven feels very fortunate to have found such a loving, warm and creative community in which to call home. The Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market is a big part of that community and Doug and Joy plan to keep coming to both the summer and the winter markets for many years to come.