Market Report is a Savour Calgary feature telling the stories behind the great local offerings at area farmers’ markets and food halls. In this edition we learn more about Kristen Gillis of Homestead Bread and Celeste’s Cookie Jar created by Celeste Raymond.

Homestead Bread

While some of us picked up baking during the pandemic, Kristen Gillis has been baking bread since 2015. Homestead Bread was initially envisioned as a baking school with the support of Calgary’s Fresh & Local Farm Outlet, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, it became a micro-bakery instead. Today, along with her assistant Belle Winsor, Kristen creates hundreds of loaves of sourdough a week, all made from locally milled, organic flour.

homestead breadHomestead Bread focuses on sourdough loaves, and Kristen’s dedication to sourdough breadmaking is palpable. Baking bread using a sourdough starter instead of yeast is the original method of breadmaking and goes back thousands of years. She says, “Many people tell me that my bread is the first they’ve been able to eat in years without any consequences to their digestion,” and she credits this to the sourdough breadmaking process.

The bakery has several bestsellers, including a hearty cheese-and-herb loaf and a lightly floral lavender-and-honey loaf. Its rainbow loaf is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind showstopper. Unlike most colorful baked goods, which use artificial food coloring, Kristen’s rainbow loaf is created with purées of carrots, purple potatoes, peas and beets. As a result, not only does the loaf have beautiful swirls of color, it is also one-third vegetables and a hit with children and adults alike.

Though she plans to enjoy the summer, Kristen is already looking to the fall, when she’ll have a new apple-cinnamon sourdough loaf available. In the meantime, her delicious, healthy rainbow loaf will be a standard fixture on our countertops.

Homestead Bread | Multiple locations including delivery options in S.E. and S.W., and The Magic Pantry Marketplace and Local Goods YYC Marketplace in the N.W. | 6324 Bowness Rd. N.W. and 4039 Brentwood Rd. N.W. | 587.356.0038 and 403.828.7792 |

Céleste’s Cookie Jar

It’s rare to find a cookie that is as beautiful as it is delicious, but in Calgary, look no further than Céleste’s Cookie Jar. Céleste Raymond has been baking and decorating cookies for more than a decade, and after working in business management for almost as long, she finally took the plunge this year and opened her eponymous bakery. A one-woman show, Céleste designs, tests, bakes, decorates and packages all the cookies herself.

cookiesLike many, Céleste’s love of cookies stems from childhood when she baked and decorated Christmas cookies with her mom every year. Baking has always been a passion of hers and she is constantly perfecting her cookie and icing recipes, as well as her decorating skills. These days, her seasonal collections of vanilla and chocolate sugar cookies are her most popular hit. Her cookies offer a delicate crunch, strong flavors of vanilla or chocolate, and are beautifully decorated with royal icing at the perfect sweetness level – not overwhelmingly sweet, but definitely a treat!

We visited Céleste in the spring when her Easter cookies were so popular that they sold out at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market. This summer, she plans to have Pride cookies in time for the Calgary Pride Festival. As a new small business owner, Céleste is enjoying the journey; she loves to make people smile with her baking and Céleste’s Cookie Jar is letting her do just that.

Céleste’s Cookie Jar Online orders, Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market, 1320 5th Ave. N.W. and Bridgeland Riverside Farmers’ Market 917 Centre Ave. N.E. | | Instagram: @celestescookiejar