Off the shelf

Our roundup of fabulous quality items produced by local artisans.

May 14, 2011 | | Back Issues

Dead elm, fresh pepper

Cam Lavers’ dead-elm pepper mills

Cam Lavers’ dead-elm pepper mills

A friend tells us that she first saw one of Cam Lavers’ dead-elm pepper mills sitting on a table at her sister’s home in Singapore. Turns out her sister found it online and immediately ordered it as a birthday gift for her foodie husband. “Imagine my surprise,” she said, “when it arrived and I realized it was made in Erin,” where the sisters had grown up.

Since then, our friend has ordered several of these handsome quirky mills for herself and as gifts for other friends. No trees were cut down to make these mills, which are handcrafted from already fallen branches. They bear the intricate scars of the tree’s battle with Dutch elm disease, yet are guaranteed bug-free. Cottage mills also come in solid maple, cherry and other woods. Available at, in sizes ranging from 6.2 inches ($59) to 22 inches ($199).

Better than sex?

BrainOn chocolate bars

BrainOn chocolate bars from M&B Alchemy in Orangeville

Well, at least as good. That’s what chocolate-makers Mark Handy and Bridgitte Longshore of M&B Alchemy in Orangeville would have you believe. Handmade from raw, organic chocolate, BrainOn chocolate bars are also dairy-, lactose-, gluten-, soy-, nut- and refined sugar-free. But pleasure-free they are not. It seems that raw cacao paste contains something called PEA, or the “love” molecule, which is destroyed when it is cooked. Ditto anandamide, the “bliss” molecule, a mood enhancer called tryptophan and good old-fashioned serotonin.

Eating one of these bars can be a very intense experience. As for the sex part, we’ll let you be the judge. BrainOn bars come in six flavours -– original, mint, spicy, orange, mocha and ginger. Available at M&B Alchemy and Harmony Whole Foods in Orangeville, and The 100-Mile Store in Creemore. Learn more at

Marci Lipman Country Products

Marci Lipman Country Products

A country girl at heart

For years, the hives on Marci Lipman’s Mono property have been producing an abundance of sweet, natural honey that she shares with friends and neighbours. One day, Marci got a bee in her bonnet. Although she has always been a wannabe farmer, her real genius lies in packaging. So she talked to her country neighbours and began bottling their honey and maple syrup, their homemade jams, jellies and mustards and selling them at farmers’ markets and local stores.

There’s nothing new about local honey and syrup, but you’ve never seen it done up like this – in elegant bottles and jars bearing the quirky and quaint Marci Lipman Country label. Gift-giving has never been easier. Marci Lipman Country products are available at the Creemore farmers’ market May through October or online at

About the Author More by Cecily Ross

Cecily Ross is an author and freelance writer who lives in Creemore.

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