UPDATE, January 8, 2013: Sadly, LPK’s closed over the holidays, so if you didn’t check it out in 2012, you’re too late!
“So which are your most sustainable goodies?” It’s Earth Day, and on a bid to find treats that are as friendly to the earth as they are to our palates, the family and I find ourselves at the counter of a local Toronto bakery known for its sustainable ways: LPK’s Culinary Groove.
From the slightly taken-aback look I receive, I clearly need to back up my rather sudden question with further explanation. “I’m running a bakery blog and have decided to celebrate Earth Day with a visit to an earth-friendly bakery. So here we are!” Lesia, owner of LPK’s, quickly comes out from behind the counter and points to the Fruitalicious Oat Squares, which, she explains, are full of local seasonal berries (fresh and frozen) and are also vegan and gluten free. These squares are a top seller, so we decide to test one out:
Delicious! The square is soft, similar in texture to a date square, not crumbly as some oat squares tend to be. The fruit in the middle is full of rich flavour, and I love that it’s not too sweet.
We’re told the nanaimo bars, (regular and peanut butter) are also very popular. Lesia explains that she’s recently sourced a local peanut grower who has agreed to sell her the peanuts so LPK’s will soon be grinding their own peanut butter on site – YUM! They will also be selling their nanaimo bars in retail locations around the city, and have come up with a fully biodegradable container and label to house the bars on store shelves – not bad! With a nod to the hubby’s love of all things peanut butter, we decide to try a PB nanaimo bar:
I have to say, I’m typically not one to order nanaimo bars when I’m out and about, because I find they can’t beat my mom’s and I always end up disappointed. But this nanaimo bar, while not an exact comparison given the middle layer is peanut butter, is a close contender. The base contains coconut and what appears to be chopped nuts, as any reasonable base should. The middle layer is thick, but thankfully not too sweet or too creamy, and the chocolate on top is the real deal. I’ll admit that if it hadn’t already been cut in half, the hubby would have been in real danger of not partaking in the taste testing at all!
Coming from a farming family myself, I’m always intrigued by the local-produce-skip-the-middle-man movement that is growing in Toronto, so I ask Lesia how she sources these local farmed ingredients from her little spot in the heart of the city? By attending the Brickworks Farmers Market every weekend, that’s how. She’s made some great connections, and estimates that 95% of her local dairy and fruit she uses in her baked goods comes from farmers she’s met at the market.
And as if fresh fruit and veg isn’t enough of a reason for me to hit the Brickworks market this summer, I now have additional incentive: Turns out this would be my chance to try LPK’s sweet potato donuts with maple sugar – HE-LLO!
718 Queen Street E
Toronto, ON M4M 1H2