By Adam Brazeau
ALEXANDRIA, Ontario – Fresh out of the oven and hot off the presses, a bakery with generations of history has announced a new addition to their popular brand.
Surrounded by loaves, Lanthier Bakery president Marc Lanthier revealed the bakery’s newest product: Discovery Bread.
The new bread line, which features four varieties, has the coveted Foodland Ontario stamp of approval. A part of the bakery’s vision to feed the need of consumers who prefer to support the local-food movement.
To get the ingredients just right, the bakery teamed up with Ontario farmers, who spent nearly 15 years perfecting wheat, that is now a key part of the recipe.
Lanthier said it took time to ensure Ontario wheat was ready to be commercialized and introduced into the baking process.
“The discovery for me in this bread, is that, because of the different flour that it’s made from, it is a different product to me. It’s moist. It’s softer. It’s almost like a cake,” said Lanthier.
His father, Claude, put his son to the test when he had asked for bread that could be eaten and enjoyed without condiments.
“My dad told me: Marc, if there’s one thing you can do, that I have not been able to do, is this bread that would be so good, so tasty, it would need no butter,” said Lanthier. “I think this might be the bread.”
The bakery president didn’t take any credit though. He pointed to Lanthier Bakery general manager Jean-Marc Longtin and farmer Marc Bercier as the real minds behind the specialty loaves.
“Things happen because of patience and now we can see Betty Bread and all the team here, has that patience to make that good quality bread,” said Bercier, manager of Bercier Seed Cleaning in St. Isidore.
In mid-2012, the two longtime acquaintances discussed the possibility of bread grown with Ontario wheat during a sporting match.
In between hockey periods, Bercier and Longtin, a farmer’s son, would discuss new trends in farming in the locker room. Bercier told Longtin that wheat in Ontario had gone through a lot of great changes and that the conditions were right to start growing locally. From there, the bakery’s general manager aligned the provider of the seed, the farmer and the mill who would eventually land the approval of Foodland Ontario.
Those conversations at the hockey rink, led to the now-in-stores Discovery Bread line.
“It planted a seed in my mind,” said Longtin.
It took over a year to gather everything the bakery needed to achieve the Food Land Ontario designation. From researching and looking at the market Longtin saw the many slices of potential.
Discovery Bread, which features sliced white bread, sliced 100 per cent whole wheat bread, hot dog buns and hamburger buns is already on your local food shelves.
“The product is just starting, but we have brought distribution to all of Ontario. We’re going to start it here, once the wind is in the sails, we want to bring this across Ontario, then we will need to hire more people and we’ll also have to invest in equipment,” said Lanthier. “For the time being, it’s a medium to small project. We’re hoping to bring this across Ontario.”
Lanthier said the bakery would like to put in a full shift of workers, which would be in the range of 15-20 new employees.
Lanthier Bakery is popular for their private label, as well as the branded labels of ‘Texas’, ‘Challet’ and ‘Betty’.