BUSINESS

Victims of the great crumpet shortage

PETER SHAWN TAYLOR February 18 2008
BUSINESS

Victims of the great crumpet shortage

PETER SHAWN TAYLOR February 18 2008

Victims of the great crumpet shortage

PETER SHAWN TAYLOR

As much of the country enters its fifth month of severe crumpet deprivation, customers are growing increasingly restless. Retailers are frustrated. The entire crumpet market seems ready to snap. Will breakfast ever be the same?

Crumpets—that holey and somewhat rubbery baked good—have long been a fixture of traditional English breakfasts and teas, but always seemed rather obscure to Canada. No longer. A major fire last September completely destroyed the crumpet-making facilities of Oakrun Farm Bakery in Ancaster, Ont., by far Canada’s biggest producer of crumpets. It also revealed how deep the love for crumpets runs in this country.

Since the fire, crumpets have gone missing from shelves across the country as the few other crumpet makers were unable to fill the void. A B.C.-made substitute trucked east by Oakrun in small quantities as a stopgap measure left central Canadian crumpet eaters unsatisfied. The nation’s largest food retailer, Loblaw Companies, was forced to delist crumpets from many of its stores. It’s been a long five months for the crumpet-starved.

“I have been astounded by the feedback we have gotten on the crumpets,” says Tony Tristani, general manager at Oakrun. He has logged hundreds of calls from unhappy crumpet eaters. “I really didn’t think that many people cared about crumpets. But there are some very avid fans out there. They love their crumpets and they are very blunt about it. And it’s not just old folks either,” Tristani adds, deflating the food’s somewhat stodgy reputation.

With his ears burning from an angry allages mob of unsatisfied crumpet fans, Tristani promises he’ll be fully operational sometime in February. Until then, patience. Or, perhaps, you could try a scone with some honey on it. M