Bailey Symington has been in the food industry for almost 20 years.
While on maternity leave, she began baking sourdoughs and croissants in her home and selling them. Most recently she was head baker with Pinetree Catering for three years. With encouragement from Pinetree she branched out on her own in December 2022 with Hearthstone Breads.
From her home she began supplying artisan loaves by special order and pick up. Foodies of Thunder Bay began buzzing online about her enticing baked offerings with beautiful designs and appetizing flavours. She eventually expanded to selling twice at week at Thunder Bay Market.
“I wasn’t sure if that was the direction I wanted to go when I first started out,” Symington said. “Since choosing that it’s made it a lot easier for me, everything is more predictable.”
She has regular customers who covet her unique breads like basil and olive oil, apricot and rosemary along with Canadian rye and baguettes. She can count on regular sales of her top variety, the dill and gouda (her most popular by far) using Thunder Oak Gouda.
“Beyond that I do a feature every week on Saturday and usually those sell out immediately," she said. "I did a Heartbeat Hot Sauce on one of my sourdoughs and that went crazy. There’s been requests for it.”
Hearthstone uses Brule Creek Flour, Debruin's basil in the basil and olive oil loaf. The seed and grain loaf has recently switched over to a local supply of seed and grain from Prosperity Blends.
“Any time I can use local, I’m trying to use local,” she said.
Symington also minimizes utilizing single use plastics, endeavouring to use paper or compostable bags. She sews and supplies bread wraps with medical-grade plastic on the inside.
“You just put your bread in, tie it up and it’s like keeping it in plastic but it’s all machine washable.”
The reusable bread wraps are also for sale at Hearthstone’s booth.
Symington is happy to assist home baker with issues they may be having with their home bakes. She’ll even supply a sour dough starter for people who want to try baking a sour dough themselves. As word spreads and demand has increased she plans to expand her workspace in the future to accommodate the volume.
Hearthstone’s Facebook page has regular updates with current features and the Hearthstone website has further contact information. Hearthstone Breads can be found on the second floor of the Thunder Bay Country Market at the CLE grounds, Wednesdays from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.