FOOD + DRINK UPDATE: SCONES, BEERS, + MARGARITAS
By Martha Gall
A quick glance at the Rocket Scone farmers market stall tells you that the scones are the work of a creative and passionate chef. You’ll find inventive sweet flavours such as Piña Colada (pineapple, rum, lime, and coconut), Vegan Raspberry Chocolate, and Caramel Apple, as well as savoury options like Zaatar and Feta, Keto Pumpkin Cheddar, Bacon and Chive, and Dill Goat Cheese. the ottawan had trouble choosing a favourite of the three flavours we bought last winter but we finally settled on the Maple Cream Pear, which was melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
Rocket Scone founder Maggie Chuang Delroy had a career in the medical industry before she married and decided to stay home with her kids. Time passed, the kids grew, and Maggie started baking for friends and family, all of whom were big fans of her flavourful scones. After a while, she realized that she could bring her products to the people by renting a stall at a local farmers’ market. Since she lived in Carp, taking part in the Saturday morning Carp Farmer’s Market was a no brainer.
She made her scones in her home’s kitchen, into the very wee hours of the morning, starting with 12 flavours. She met farmers who told her about the best locally grown berries, pears, plums, and apricots. She experimented with flavour combinations and developed a reputation for crowd pleasing treats. She quickly learned what she loved about running her small business. “Growing the business is rewarding,” she says. “Most of the time it’s enjoyable. It’s fun! I really enjoy meeting a lot of people.”
So, what about the downside? “Well, there are issues, there are changes, and of course there’s a lot of stress.” Adding to that stress early on was the knowledge that she was outgrowing her kitchen oven. She knew she needed to up her game so she bought a commercial oven, which was installed in the garage by an electrician.
Soon, however, her growing success at the farmers’ market meant that even the commercial oven wasn’t enough. Although she had two freezers at home, baked all night, and had a willing helper in her husband, her volume quickly outgrew the home operation. In addition to increased oven requirements, she needed more space for ingredient storage and packaging.
That's when Maggie went looking for a commercial kitchen to move her business into. She ultimately rented space in the kitchen of the former Venta Prep School in Carp, and was able to increase her output. She added the Sunday Ottawa Farmers Market at Lansdowne to her schedule, and she continues to produce new and creative scone flavours using the best local produce.
What will the next 12 months bring to Rocket Scone? Maggie’s still enjoying finding new flavours and bringing her goods to the Farmers Markets, and she hopes she’ll still be doing both in the next year. This is a hobby business, as she feels that life is too short, and she wants to be able to spend as much time as possible with her family. She has advice for anyone considering starting a baking business: “You need to love baking. Be sure that you’re passionate about it.”
Find Rocket Scones at the Carp Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from 8:30am to 1:00pm, and at Lansdowne Ottawa Farmers Market on Sundays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Check their social media feeds for current flavours.
▪️ Brew Donkey tours return on Labour day Weekend. Tickets are now on sale for Ottawa’s first and only - and extremely popular - weekly brewery tour service, starting September 3, 2021. Owner/operator Brad Campeau’s business is an excellent way to see how beer is made and sample some of Ottawa’s superb craft beer, without having to worry about who's doing the driving. There’s a tour for every beer lover: If IPAs are your jam, try the Y-East End Express Tour, which stops at Broadhead Beer, Orléans Brewing Company, and Stray Dog Brewing, all in Ottawa's East end. Or go west on the Western Libations Tour, which includes stops at Braumeister, Weatherhead Brew Co., and Top Shelf Distillers, where you'll see how they make their whisky, gin, and vodka. It’s an afternoon of good, clean, adult fun, from $80 per person plus tax.
▪️ The deal of the day is at the Broadway Bar and Grill at 1896 Prince of Wales Drive, where you’ll find Caesars, Margs, and Coronas for $5 all day. Grab one of their classic Club Sandwiches for $12 and two Fajitas for $30 while you're at it.
▪️ We talked about Ottawa’s newest brewery eariler in the year. Now, they have opened their taproom to the public. Welcome, Shillow Brewery.
+ Related The Last Ottawa – Gatineau Craft Brewery Map that you will ever need