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Madoc’s Familial Goldmine

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In the quaint community of Madoc lies a boutique bakery that cherishes carefully crafted, old-fashioned baking. Hastings County’s Hidden Goldmine Bakery is a family-owned business that has mastered traditional, preservative-free dessert recipes. Hidden Goldmine Bakery is run by the Freeman family, and they have successfully translated their family’s passion for baking into a rapidly growing business that delights the sweet tooth. 

Hidden Goldmine Bakery began as Cheryl Freeman’s passion project which grew into a serious business endeavour. It started out as an addition to the family home. The family bought their first industrial oven in 2004 and there has been no looking back for them ever since. With the support of the community and the family’s hard work, the bakery now sprawls on the historic Main Street of downtown Madoc. 

Hand pouring maple syrup on a slice of pie

The bakery is a family affair in the true sense, with Cheryl and her husband Brad working alongside their four daughters behind-the-scenes to run the show. “Every holiday season, whether they had just arrived home from university, or more recently, when one of them was 9 months pregnant, our girls congregate and bake pies like clockwork until the wee hours of the morning,” says a proud Cheryl. “So much of what we do is steeped in tradition. Not just our recipes or the style of our baking, but also the values we use as a foundation for our family, our business and our community.” At the age of 82, Cheryl’s mother dons an apron to lend the family a hand in the kitchen. The Freeman Family and their staff, work in perfect harmony to make Hidden Goldmine Bakery the celebrated local favourite that it is. The bakery staff that works alongside the family to keep things running smoothly make a reliable team. “We are blessed to have team members that value work ethic and top-notch customer service above all else,” Cheryl gushes. 

Many of Hidden Goldmine’s delectable baked recipes have been passed down through generations. The bakery is known for its butter tarts and pies, Cheryl’s grandmother’s recipes that she grew up with. These recipes carry the flavours of an era gone by, memories that the Madoc community likes to relive with their taste buds. “A bite of our pumpkin pie and I’m a child again, sitting around the table at Thanksgiving dinner, or a nibble of our classic Christmas cake and I’m right back there, sneaking handfuls of candied fruit as my mother makes her annual batch,” Cheryl recounts fondly. Locals who grew up in the area often stop by at Hidden Goldmine to stock up on their fudge nuggets as they are reminded of their childhoods through the taste. Delivering these experiences is what drives the bakery and the Freeman family. “Baking, to us, isn’t just about feeding bellies, it’s about nourishing souls. It’s about creating opportunities to gather and make memories, or perhaps reminisce on cherished old ones,” says Cheryl.

Cheryl speaks fondly of the local community that has supported Hidden Goldmine Bakery wholeheartedly since their inception in 2004. Many of their regular customers have become close friends of the family. To show their immense gratitude for the support, the Freemans give back to the community through local organizations and events. Hidden Goldmine Bakery recently partnered with 7/62 Brewery and Kelly’s Flowers to create a Valentine’s Day Trifecta of beer, roses and sweets. 

Couple Seating at a table to dine in. Man taking picture of young woman holding her plate to show her food.

The Freemans have kept many old-school baking traditions alive, while also adopting technology to make their delicious treats accessible at the touch of a button during the pandemic. The Hidden Goldmine Bakery’s website launched in December 2020 and is now offering online ordering. Cheryl believes that the shift to online ordering and transactions has afforded their staff members increased time and resources which can be directed towards making the experience in their store more meaningful and memorable for their guests. During the pandemic, the bakery’s Miners Malt Shoppe for takeaways was open. They started updating their weekly menus on their Facebook page for guests to access easily before they dropped by at the window for curbside pickup. “We found this not only kept the line moving during our busier times, but also allowed us the chance to fill our interactions with real conversations rather than simply discussing what was available. A way to keep a small part of our ‘experience’ and ‘atmosphere’ alive within this new framework,” says Cheryl.

Cheryl and her family take pride in their craft and have carved a niche for themselves in the taste buds of the community in Madoc and beyond. “We are not a drive-through that revels in serving the masses, within minutes. Instead, we encourage friendly conversation, patiently waiting for a well-crafted tea latte, and sticking around for dessert after lunch,” says Cheryl. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Cheryl and her happy helpers continue to passionately churn out scrumptious treats for the sweet tooth. Cheryl looks forward to the day when things will go back to the old normal. Until then, the hum of a busy bake shoppe filled with happy customers will continue to keep them doing what they do best. 

From Left: Chelsey, Cheryl and Brad Freeman

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