A community bakery offers training opportunities for at-risk youth
A Long History
Nestor’s Bakery was founded on December 1, 1937, when brothers-in-law Jack Jaciuk and Nestor Wiwchar formed a partnership to buy Brothers Bakery located at 238 Avenue I South. They moved to the bakery’s current location at 912 20th Street West shortly thereafter.
In 1979, John and Audrey Matushewski became the new owners of Nestor's Bakery and maintained many of the old traditions. For example, the bakery still uses the original 1940 recipes for Nestor's rye, pumpernickel and Easter bread.
Audrey says she has got to know a lot of people over the years and that the neighbourhood seems to undergo changes every 10 years. “It’s a different century now and different people,” she says. “The food has to change too.”
A New Beginning
After 37 years in the business, Audrey started thinking about retirement. The pieces fell into place when she spoke to Keith Jorgenson, one of the founders of the Youth Development Corporation (YDC), who was interested in starting a baking training program for at-risk youth.
Audrey sold the bakery to YDC in September. She and all her staff stayed on and they continue to bake all their customers’ long-standing favourites, but they are now joined by a group of apprentice bakers and a new line of products and services.
YDC provides education and on-the-job training programs for young people who have been involved in the criminal justice system. The young people spend part of their time studying and the rest of the day learning a skill. For example, a contractor takes young people out to construction sites, teaching them the trade while they do the actual work. The youth receive a salary as does the contractor and there is some money left over to help with administration and program costs. As a result, YDC is less reliant on government grants and has greater long-term sustainability, while the youth have an easier transition to full-time employment.
A group of young people is now working in the bakery where they will each have complete responsibility for a particular product – calzones, tarts, cookies or pizza. If supplies run low, they are responsible for deciding what to make next and making it. They will eventually teach each other how to make the different products in order to have a full repertoire of baking skills.
Three Sisters, a reminder of the three traditional Native American crops of beans, corn and squash that support and complement each other. But it is also a tribute to the three cultures that founded our community – First Nations/Metis, European and Asian.
The bakery’s products certainly honour that powerful mix of cultures. A Ukrainian baker continues to make traditional Ukrainian baked goods – pampushky, a bismark with a poppy seed filling, and kolach, yellow braided bread. The lunch special when I dropped by was bannock and borscht, and you can purchase cabbage rolls, perogies and local garlic sausage.
Carmen Dyck, who runs Three Sisters, is also introducing a line of lower-fat, lower-sugar, whole wheat products. Don’t miss the rosemary shortbread and the farmer cookies (stuffed full of raisins, chocolate chips, coconut and more).
Carmen’s line of Fruition Orchards’ jams and granola are available at the bakery now that she no longer has a booth at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.
Better Bread Box
The Three Sisters youth training program offers a bi-weekly bread box. For $20 ($10 for Flying Solo), you will get a box heaped full of bread, cookies, tarts and more. There are various options depending on your taste. You can even add in farm-fresh eggs and honey. Boxes can be picked up at the bakery, at YDC or at The Better Good on Broadway.
Nestor’s/Three Sisters is truly a community bakery with regular customers who drop by every couple of days. They even cook holiday turkeys for schools and churches.
A large wholesale operation supplies local and small-town (Radisson, Alvena) hotels, restaurants, small grocery stores, businesses and schools.
The bakery is also available for fundraisers. They’ll supply the baked goods for a bake sale and split the profits, or you can rent the bakery when it’s not in use. “We’re a non-profit, community bakery,” explains Carmen. “The more use people can get out of it the better.”
Dreaming of the Future
Carmen Dyck and Keith Jorgenson have bold dreams for the future. They are already serving a simple lunch special, and they plan to expand the front section of the store to provide room for a few tables and chairs.
They will have outdoor seating next summer and would love to turn the empty lot next door into a garden café.
Nestor’s Bakery has played an important role in Riversdale’s past. It now moves forward with pride and confidence.
Sneak Peek, October 13, 4-7 pm
Don't miss this opportunity to visit the bakery and sample the goods!
Three Sisters/Nestor's Bakery is celebrating its grand opening on Wednesday, October 19 with a muffin swarm. They'll be handing out free muffins and cookies on 20th Street and downtown.