Mothers Day is just around the corner. We bet you’re expecting us to remind you to get Mom her flowers, pick out her gift, select her card, and make a reservation at her favourite restaurant. While yes, if you are planning on doing any of those things, you’d better get on them (and we urge you to think York Durham Headwaters for all your culinary/gift/floral/miscellaneous needs, of course), but that’s not what we’re here to do this time. Instead, we’re showcasing our wonderful YDH working moms who are simultaneously crushing it at being business owners. They’re balancing the joys of motherhood with the joys of entrepreneurship… and we have to admit, we don’t know how they do it.
Our business moms are total badasses, and because they probably wouldn’t admit to that themselves, we’re going to brag about all of their amazing accomplishments for them. Meet the Badass Moms of YDH!
Rebecca Landman – Landman Gardens and Bakery
Grand Valley, Ontario is home to Landman Gardens and Bakery, a self-described small-scale sustainable farm. Don’t let their modesty fool you, though. This family owned and operated farm is a booming rural business that is a favourite destination for lovers of local produce and delicious baked goods. Landman Gardens and Bakery raises dairy goats, pigs, turkeys and chickens. They sell organic produce and homemade preserves, and feature an onsite bakery and butcher shop. And if you’ve never heard of a Blackhouse before, then you’ve got to plan your visit immediately. This traditional Scottish-style stone house built without mortar is a unique feature in which the farm hosts delectable farm-to-table dinners. It’s like stepping back in time!
Rebecca Landman owns and operates Landman Gardens and Bakery. A farm girl born and raised, she opened the business in 2011 after completing her Culinary Management diploma at Canadore College, as well as her Sustainable Agriculture diploma at Fleming College. “When I went to culinary school, I had the idea that I wanted to work in a bakery somewhere or as a line cook,” she said to us in 2020 when we spoke to her for our Holiday Memories at Landman Gardens and Bakery blog post. “I worked in a bunch of different places, but I realized they didn’t quite fit the kind of life I wanted. I wanted to be able to spend the holidays with my family and not have to work long weekends or late at night.”
Fast forward to 2022, and Rebecca is now a busy mom of two happy girls, both under the age of three. Incredibly, she has not given up working at the business she loves, and manages to balance being a mom and a business owner with a dexterity that is nothing short of amazing. Even more amazing is the fact that she returned to her beloved kitchen when her first daughter, Charlotte, was only three months old!
“Parenting and working was fun,” she recalls of those early days with just one child to care for. “It was trickier than I thought it was going to be, but it worked because I could pop her in the carrier and, say, mix up a batch of soup.” At that time, Landman Gardens and Bakery did not yet have the staff to support Rebecca stepping away and handing off the daily operations, so there was a greater need for her to be working onsite. She says, “We’ve recently standardized most of the recipes and procedures, but at the point that Charlotte was born, most of the recipes were in my head. It’s not easy to teach someone what’s in your head.” So, with infant Charlotte in tow, Rebecca headed into her kitchen to continue running the business she loves.
Now, however, with second daughter Sophie, Rebecca continues her work from home so that she can better look after her girls. “I’m not in the kitchen, because Charlotte is two-and-a-half and she’s into everything,” she laughs. “Going back was a mix of having to because it was my business, and wanting to because it was my business. I enjoy what I do, and thought it would be great if I could bring my kids along with me. When I started this business, I wanted to be able to raise kids and not put them into daycare. I wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as I could before they turn five and went to school—that happens quick.”
From home, Rebecca does much of the bookkeeping and social media for the business, as well as helping with the back-end tasks like recipe development and standardization. She is also involved in dealing with wholesale clients. These are tasks which she is able to do more efficiently than cooking and baking while trying to look after two busy girls. But she is still able to bring her children to the bakery, which is a treat for all three of them. “At this time of year, we’re experimenting with new stuff for the season, and I get to pop by and sample, then go home and figure out what recipes we liked, what changes need to be made, that kind of stuff. My job from home is to expand the business with new ideas, and plan for the next quarter.”
And, of course, part of being a farm girl and raising a family on a farm includes the animals. “We have to take care of them all the time,” Rebecca explains. “It’s not like the store, which is open five days a week and that’s the only thing we have to worry about. The animals are 24/7. But it’s pretty cool to be able to teach our kids how to care for the animals and have responsibility for them, too. Saturday morning, Charlotte is ready with her rubber boots to come help me feed the chickens now. It’s pretty cute.”
It’s little moments like these that make Rebecca step back and realize how proud of herself she is (as she should be!). With her youngest daughter, Sophie, being only three months old, she is still wrapped up in the joys and demands of being a mom most of the time. But there are days where she is able to see all that she has achieved and is continuing to achieve, and is proud to be both a mom and a business owner. “It’s both fulfilling and challenging,” she says. “It’s totally fulfilling to be able to be a mom and a business owner, but it’s also challenging because I feel like I’m constantly choosing what to do when. And I never want the kids to feel like my job is more important than them.”
We’re no parenting experts, but it looks to us like Rebecca is doing a terrific job of raising her girls to love the family business as much as she does. We are truly inspired by this Badass Mom from Headwaters.
Landman Gardens and Bakery
322345 Concession 6-7, Grand Valley
Story by Katherine Ryalen