This past Sunday, I stopped by opening day at Many Feathers Farmer’s Market. I went a number of times last summer, so I knew what to expect in finding some great locally grown produce. At one of the first stands along the line of vendors, I met a woman named Azra Zahirovic who was selling her fruit and meat pies for the first time ever in Mississauga. Her business is called Real Sweets Bakery, based out of Hamilton, Ontario on Barton Street.
Azra’s pies were made from scratch and when I sampled the chicken and the beef varieties, I knew my meat-pie-loving husband would approve. Through the conversation that ensued, I learned there was more to the story.
She was so happy about her pastry, explaining she uses butter and not lard, and she was even more proud of her pie fillings, made from organic and locally sourced meats and produce. The meat could even be traced back to the source, which made me more than comfortable giving her goods a try. Almost afraid to ask the price, I surprisingly discovered the individual pies ranged from $6.00 to $6.50 per pie, depending on the type. And they were almost twice the size of the ones I normally get from my local bakery.
I asked how she got her start and it turns out she was a refugee from Bosnia who came to Canada with next to nothing. When she arrived, she spoke no English. Hard to believe because she had a very good command of the language, despite a bit of an accent. Meeting her was an absolute delight!
Fast forward to last night’s dinner when we cooked two of the beef pot pies. After spending spent a lovely day at the Toronto Zoo visiting the Panda cubs, the last thing I had the energy for was cooking a meal. I simply popped the frozen meat pies in the oven at 350ºF and 35 minutes later, voila…we had a home cooked from scratch meal.
On the “Sugar Scale” [my unofficial recipe rating system], these meat pies scored a nine out of 10. They were made with quality ingredients that were fresh, organic and locally sourced. The price was very reasonable, too. I’ll most definitely buy Azra’s pies again.
This was a from-scratch story on so many levels: wholesome homemade pies produced in a self-made business by a woman who made a life for herself from scratch in her new homeland!
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