A Good Home, Autumn leaves, Farmers' Markets, Heritage nieghborhoods, Maples, Natural products, Small towns, Villages

Natural Goodness Available Here

Photos by Hamlin Grange

I’m a sucker for certain things.

Like autumn days, farmers markets, natural products and villages.

So I’m smiling as I write this. A huge smile.

Blog Photo - Farmers market leaves on ground

My husband and I recently visited one of Ontario’s best-preserved villages: Unionville, northeast of Toronto. Founded in 1794, Unionville’s charm draws visitors from far and wide.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Village Street and autumn leaves

But for the families who live here, it’s home.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Old house

Some of our friends have lived here for decades – so Unionville is a very familiar place.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Village Church

There are restaurants and specialty shops on the main street.

Blog Photo - Farmers market Story Street and pedestrians

An art gallery, churches and a square with live music every summer.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Story Unionville Village Square

One of our favourite spots is the farmers’ market. Held outdoors in the summer, it moves indoors into the old Stiver Mill in the fall.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Barn

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Sign and Vendors

Here, one can buy a wide variety of products – such as honey, fruit preserves and baked goods….

Blog Photo - Farmers Market The Strudel Guy

Blog Photo - Famers market Corey holds strudel

Trout, sausages and other smoked fish and meat….

Blog Photo - Farmers Market smoked Goods display and customers

And wine…..

Blog Photo - Farmers Market  Wine sign

Blog Photo - Farmers market Wine Vendor

Goodies galore and vendors with interesting stories.

That’s one of the reasons I like farmers’ markets: the people selling the products are often the same ones who grew or made them. They’re usually happy to chat.

Hilda Crick-McDermott worked for an international chain of luxury hotels and traveled to many parts of the world.

Blog Photo - Farmers market Hilda and Customer

When her son developed a skincare ailment called Kawasaki disease, she started making natural products for his skin.

“I struggled to find a natural product good enough to help my eczema-ridden kids, yet pure enough to be trusted for their dry and sensitive skin. I even wrote to a skin care manufacturer asking for help, but that resulted in rejection.”

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Hilda's Products

That rejection led to extensive research and eventually, a whole line of products, made by hand. Some ingredients used are: coconut oil, shea butter, peppermint and lavender.

Blog Photo - Farmers market LotionHilda says 90% of her SpaHket products are “anhydrous solid lotion; this means our lotions contain no water and as such are 100% pure natural goodness.” 

Yes — I tried Hilda’s products. They really are as soothing and fragrant as she says. They’re not cheap, but a little goes a long way.

Blog Photo - Farmers Market Shampoo Bars

Facing challenges, some see opportunity. Hilda seems likes such a person.

Her three children have done enormously well in school, she says contentedly.

Somehow, I was not surprised when she quietly added: “They were home-schooled.”

Blog Photo - Farmers market CR and Hilda

**Dedicated to all resourceful people.**

More about Stiver Mill Farmers’ Market:


More about SpaHket products:



58 thoughts on “Natural Goodness Available Here”

  1. Hi Cynthia,

    I want to write you a longer email, but first wanted to check and make sure that you receive them at this address?



  2. Love the beautiful autumn colors, your pictures are great! You are so lucky to have a farmers market, looks like a lot of great foods and products. I would start with a glass of wine and a strudel! 🙂 Took your like to the farmers market, really nice! Also looks like you had a wonderful time!! 🙂

    1. Hey Michael: Can you tell that I really, really like farmers’ markets? (Big smile)
      Glad you like the post. At another time, I woulda grabbed a few bottles of that wine too!

  3. Yes, there is much natural goodness in your posts, friends, photos and stories Cynthia! 🙂 I love the way you dive into the personal stories of the people and places in your life. Many of us are content to cruise on the surface, but you make them come alive with passion.

    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Unionville looks like a really attractive and picture book place to live Cynthia, I can see what it makes you smile. Hilda sounds a great mum too, good for her to produce a product for her son, that must have taken some determination, I hope she does well.

  5. It’s so wonderful to see more and more people selling what they grow, creating products from what they grow, and creating entirely new items to fulfill specific needs. Farmers’ markets are on the rise everywhere – people want “real” stuff. Thanks for the tour – I enjoyed it!

  6. A wonderful place to visit and thank-you for ‘taking’ me there. Finding suitable products for special skin conditions is so difficult especially as many of them do not list the full ingredients. Many members of my family, including myself and my younger daughter are allergic to petroleum, petrolatum and paraffin and most moisturisers contain one or more of those. I admire your friend in only wanting the best for her children and making sure they got it.

    1. Me too, Clare. I admire Hilda.

      She’s not my friend, though. I met her that same day when we stopped at the farmers’ market and struck up a conversation.
      Some members of my family also have sensitive skin and I sometimes wonder if the stuff we bought back then just made it worse, not better. It’s good that Hilda has seen the results of her products, and the ingredients are definitely named.

      1. I think you might have a point about the lotions and potions we used to use. My grandmother used vaseline for everything and so my mother did too. My brother, sister and I were covered in it as babies and young children and now all three of us daren’t let it anywhere near us as it brings us out in itchy blisters!

  7. Love the carpet of fall leaves. And, thanks to Wendy at Quarter Acre, I have fallen in love with shampoo bars, too. Hilda’s products look wonderful. Btw, you may have to include yourself in the dedication.;) Just saying!

    1. Haha….
      Gallivanta, I’m a weakling compared to the people I write about.
      Really. I just try hard to practice the fine art of putting one foot in front of the other. But as you know, I only have one good foot!!!

      1. One foot in front of the other is no mean feat even for those of us with 2 reasonably adequate feet. Have I shown you this wonderful Michael Leuning poem before? Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate. ‘How to Get There’

        Go through the gate and head straight out towards the horizon.
        Keep going towards the horizon.
        Sit down and have a rest every now and again,
        But keep on going, just keep on with it.
        Keep on going as far as you can.
        That’s how you get there.

      2. I did. An interesting page, with a lot of followers and Likes, with good reason. This is the first I’ve heard of him. Thank you.

        Cynthia Reyes

        Author, “A Good Home”

        agoodhome_amazong keep-calm-and-follow-my-blog-7 twitter-follow-me-button-20 keep-calm-and-like-me-on-facebook-6

        Cynthia Reyes’ new book A Good Home is available through bookstores and online bookstores in Canada, the U.S., the UK-Europe, and Australia, such as amazon.com, amazon.ca, chapters.ca, amazon.co.uk (Britain), barnesandnoble.com. If the book is not on the shelf of your local store, ask the bookseller to order it.

  8. Love Love Love the pictures and descriptions!! The man and boy are headed to TO Airport Marriott this weekend for a hockey tournament and I so wish I could go just to drive up and visit that farmers market!!! But alas, I am home again as the tween queen has a practice course on taking an entrance exam to the Catholic high school she would like to attend and on Sunday she is taking a course on journalism and public speaking and I have to care for the animals. Someday I will make it to Unionville!!

  9. What an exciting place to be, a bustling farmers’ market! Fresh farm produce and all the goodness that goes with it … An interesting post with lovely pics to complement it. So lovely, Cynthia. 🙂

  10. I have packed up my bags, tied little red and white spotted hankies around my cats necks and we are moving to Unionville! What a picture perfect town with a great sense of community. I love the market and the connections you forged there and I would love to know what kind of shops are in the main street. In England a place like that would boast several antique shops. Is that the case in Unionville?
    Lovely post. I feel I went out with you on a lovely Autumn day, kicking my feet in the dry, fallen leaves.

    1. Karen, you always write such lovely responses!
      Unionville used to have great antiques shops, and one in particular I loved browsing in. But now it’s changing: more restaurants and coffee shops/ice cream shops and gift stores, with a few clothing stores and specialty furniture shops too. Still interesting, and a very charming place, especially in the summer and around Christmas when all the flowers and decorations are out and the place comes alive.
      I think my favourite place there now is the farmers’ market, though. It’s in the mill right beside the old train station.

  11. Great post dear Cynthia… I liked the photographs you have included over here… Also, hank you so much for the information!
    Sending you my very best wishes, love, Aquileana 😀

  12. Cynthia, I smiled when you said that Hilda had been a homeschooling mom. I’ve noticed a high number of them (I’m one too) are self-employed and/or very entrepreneurial.

    Unionville looks ultra-charming. Your shots of the heritage buildings are wonderful and I like the look of the shampoo bars too.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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