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New Sackville business puts spotlight on local produce from local farms

Rose Leonard brushes some egg yolk on the organic chick pea and curry handpies she is preparing to put in the oven.
Rose Leonard brushes some egg yolk on the organic chick pea and curry handpies she is preparing to put in the oven. - Katie Tower

Pi by Crow features ready-to-go meals made with wholesome ingredients

SACKVILLE, N.B. —

Local farms. Local produce. Local ready-to-go meals.

This is the concept behind a new business in downtown Sackville that opened up its doors this month, intent on serving up delicious, healthy and affordable foods made from locally-sourced ingredients.

“Our theme is local and organic. If we can’t go organic, we go as local as we can,” said Rose Leonard, the new owner and operator of Pi by Crow at 45A Main Street.

Sarah Clarkson, who does some of the meal prep work for Pi by Crow several days a week, tosses some onions into the pan that she will caramelize as one of the ingredients in the potato pie.
Sarah Clarkson, who does some of the meal prep work for Pi by Crow several days a week, tosses some onions into a pan that she will caramelize and use as an ingredient in the potato pie.

From hand pies that feature 18 different filling combinations, to a wide range of full-size berry pies including the perennial favourite apple, along with hearty and homemade soups and salads, Pi by Crow offers a wide selection of take-out lunch and dinner items to its customers.

Originally from Saint John, Leonard returned to her New Brunswick roots about six years ago after living and working as an artist in Victoria, B.C. for 30 years. Upon her return, she and her partner started up their own farming operation, Raised by the Bed Farms, in Rockport and have been working hard to build good working relationships with other area producers ever since.

In fact, out of those partnerships, Leonard began creating a number of “value-added” products from the combination of their own produce with those from other farms and started selling them at the weekly farmers’ market in Sackville. It didn’t take long for the hand pies, the fruit pies, the empanadas, samosas, and most especially the micro rolls - made with nutrient-dense microgreens and rolled in rice paper, served with a delicate peanut sauce – to become a hit.

And that got her thinking that maybe she could expand upon those initial beginnings and create something more.

“I just love doing it, I love making food for people.”

With previous experience as a chef at another local eatery, Leonard decided to look into whether her idea was a viable one, and soon got in touch with CBDC representatives who helped her develop a business plan.

“I had to determine whether there was a palate for it,” she said, adding that the research showed the market seemed ready for such an opportunity.

Leonard said she’s excited to serve as a type of conduit for a number of farms in southeast New Brunswick, and to find new uses for their products and bring them to new customers.

“I take agri-tourism and I bring it here.”

From Sweet Soil Farm to Nature’s Route Farm, from Dixon Beef to Portage Pork, from Open Sky Cooperative to Good Thyme Farm, and more – these are all area producers with whom Leonard has been partnering for her new venture.

Once she gets her feet under her, Leonard said she has plans to offer a new service called Dinner Done, where customers can order, on a subscription basis, from a menu and come in to pick up their prepared meals each week, with offerings such as lasagna or chili.

Micro rolls are a popular and usually sold-out treat at Pi by Crow, made with microgreens, which are dense in nutrients, and rolled in rice paper and served with a delicate peanut sauce.
Micro rolls are a popular and usually sold-out treat at Pi by Crow, made with microgreens, which are dense in nutrients, and rolled in rice paper and served with a delicate peanut sauce.

She also hopes to begin offering workshops to teach food preservation skills – such as canning and dehydration methods – as well as how to butcher meat.

“This can save people a lot of money,” she said. “You’re going to feed your family much more affordably.”

Mostly, though, Leonard’s hope is to open more people’s eyes to eating better and eating well.

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