Ahhh…the smell of fresh baked goods! It is always so much better when its homemade too – just the way Ma or Gramma used to make it.
On the edge of the village, Oasis Gas & Variety on Chiefswood Road is home to one of Ohsweken’s many hidden gems: Traditional Treats, a small two-person operated bakery, and its packing all the goodness of Grandma’s kitchen.
Traditional Treats is a homestyle bakery with two local men, Dwight Garlow and Morgan Hill, behind the scenes, manning the ovens. The bakery was founded by Garlow and his mother, Betty Garlow, about thirteen years ago, not long after they took over the lease for the gas station and store.
“I had previous baking experience from Tim Horton’s and my mom and I used to bake for Red Indian (when It was open) and for other convenience stores,” tells Garlow of the early days of Traditional Treats. “I saw that nobody was using the oven here, so I fired ‘er up!”
Traditional Treats used to vend their baked goods through the Six Nations Bingo Hall, which Garlow accredits for most of the “word of mouth” and “buzz” around his products. However, Traditional Treats now keeps its products for its own shelves under its own brand.
Starring on the menu, and their most popular item, is a long list of different types of cookies including: chocolate chip, double chocolate, peanut butter, ginger, specialty Christmas cookies, and Indian cookies (with or without raisins, which remains widely under debate), followed by fresh scones, custom order cakes and pies, cheesecakes, sandwiches, and even lunch specials. There’s also – you guessed it- some pretty tasty (and not too greasy!) Indian donuts.
We asked Garlow, what is it about Indian donuts that seems to capture the heart and soul.
“The natural herbs and spices, the cinnamon the nutmeg…there’s something about the combination of that in the donut, that it’s earthy”
Since opening, the tiny bakery has been known for giving the community more than just a sweet-tooth.
“It’s always been important for me to give and donate to funerals” explains Garlow “If someone were to come in here for a funeral, we would give them one bowl which makes about 3 dozen Indian cookies or Indian donuts”
There are also a lot of customers who come in to buy the “traditional” baked goods to take to other reserves where they are unavailable, such as their Indian cookies and donuts. They also offer a fundraising program selling custom order sheets of cookies for sports teams.
Five years ago, they added a fry shack which offers hamburgers, poutines, and other hot menu items as well.
If you’re craving some homemade soul-food, be sure to check out Traditional Treats at Oasis Gas and Variety between 9am – 2pm from Monday to Friday, or call them to place your own special order (they even do bulk orders!) at 519-445-2756.