By Kathy MacPherson
When people talk about the importance of supporting the local economy to create local jobs, I think about Paul Nicholl and his Dobbit Bakehouse in Musquodoboit Harbour. Almost everything about Dobbit’s is locally sourced, from the ingredients right through the bakers themselves (of whom I am one!).
Let’s start with the bakers: Paul graduated from the Boulanger and Baking Arts program at the Ackery campus of Nova Scotia Community College. After a work placement in Chester, he set up shop in Musquodoboit Harbour eleven years ago, and has repeatedly hired NSCC graduates. Three current bakers trained at Akerley: Colleen (2017) and myself (2019) in Boulanger and Baking Arts, Sarah (2019) in Pastry Arts, and Tonya (2012) from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. Michael (not shown) is the only staff member who isn’t from NSCC, and he’s local too, a graduate of Dalhousie.
All of the fruit for pies and turnovers is local: apples, blueberries, and strawberries. Nova Scotia farmers don’t grow many grains, but most of the products are baked from organic white flour and whole wheat flour. Of course you can get breads made with rye, kamut and spelt flours as well as sour dough breads and a few products made with conventional unbleached bread flour.
The emphasis on keeping things as local and natural as possible includes the proper disposal of waste products. The paper flour bags and cardboard are repurposed. All the food scraps are returned to Paul’s compost and soon become part of his partner Jim Turner’s certified organic garden.
I love working in a place where the staff can take pride in knowing the products are made with quality ingredients that support other local businesses and the waste is kept to a minimum. And it’s great that so many of us have gotten the training we needed through our local community college.
So when you’re cruising down Highway 7 through Musquodoboit Harbour, stop in for some local, natural kneads. And if you’re an NSCC alumni, take sure to mention it—we all like to know what NSCC alums are doing now.