‘A lot of people say it’s the best they’ve had, but it’s not for everyone’
EARLTOWN – A national magazine has declared a Colchester business’s pancakes some of the best from coast-to-coast.
© Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Maggie Howatt, a cook at Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown for about 17 years, keeps the pancakes coming to a full house on Sunday. The pancakes at the maple farm have been named one of the top seven in Canada by Canadian Living magazine.
Sugar Moon Farm got that designation in the March 2013 issue of Canadian Living and for Quita Gray, one of the operators, she couldn’t be happier.
“It can’t help but help our business,” said Gray, sitting on a chair yesterday while about a dozen people – young and old – filed into the log cabin restaurant for a bite to eat. “When people come in and take a look at our menu, we can tell them about the designation and be proud of that.”
The pancakes were one of seven listed from Canada – a list that also includes Creperie Catherine in Mont Tremblant, Que., Elmira Maple Syrup Festival in Elmira, Ont., the Hoito Restaurant in Thunder Bay, Ont., the Original Pancake House in Winnipeg, Man., The Calgary Stampede Caravan in Calgary, Alb., and Jethro’s Fine Grub in Vancouver, B.C.
“We’ve already gotten some people that have never been here before come in and say they saw us in Canadian Living. It elevates us to another level,” said Gray.
Gray and Scott Whitelaw first met at ranger school in Fredericton, N.B., in 1986.
“We met the original owner of Sugar Moon Farm in 1994 and apprenticed here learning maple sugar and horse logging. We took over in 1996,” said Gray, who is originally from Vancouver Island, while Whitelaw is from Rhode Island.
The recipe the business uses for its pancakes comes from Bob Williams’ mother, Sybil, who used to make pancakes in the sugar camp next door to the restaurant.
“It was a quirky recipe – you mixed everything together and then you added boiling water. By doing that, when you flipped the pancakes, they rose really well.”
Over the years, Gray said the maple farm has adapted the recipe and now uses mainly red fife.
“Red fife is an original strain of wheat that was developed in Canada. It’s a tasty grain and valued by bakers,” she said of the wheat, which is stoneground at Speerville Mills in Northern New Brunswick.
“When we found the red fife and experimented with it, it enhanced the pancake. A lot of people say it’s the best they’ve had, but it’s not for everyone. Some visitors say they wish we had pancakes with white flour, and we respect that. But you can get pancakes with white flour anywhere – this is something you can’t really get anywhere else.”
The maple farm sells packages of the dry ingredients.
In the Canadian Living article, written by Rheanna Kish and The Test Kitchen, it calls breakfast at Sugar Moon Farm “delicious.”
“The all-you-can-eat buttermilk red fife pancakes are made to order with locally sourced ingredients; they are certainly not to be missed,” said the article.
A pair of Truro women raved about the pancakes as they waited in line to pay their bills.
“They’re fluffy…it’s the red fife. I bought some to take home,” said Mary Fleming. “They’re a robust pancake. I don’t know if you can say that about a pancake, but they are. They’re very hearty.”
Her friend Maureen Rail also said the pancakes prompted their visit.
“They’re very tasty and unusual,” she said.
Sugar Moon’s Organic “Red Fife” Buttermilk Pancakes:
3 tabelspoons (45mL) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (425 mL) fresh buttermilk
1 cup organic whole wheat flour (250 mL)
1/2 cup (125 mL) organic whole white flour
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon (5mL) sugar
3/4 teaspoon (3mL) baking soda
2 teaspoons (10mL) baking powder
In a bowl, beat eggs. Add oil and buttermilk; mix thoroughly.
In a large bowl, thoroughly combine white and whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly until combined.
For each pancake, pour about 1/3 cup (75mL) of batter onto a hot griddle; cook until bubbles appear on top, then flip to cook the other side. Serve with pure maple syrup. Makes eight to ten pancakes.