Fresh from the Farmer’s Market: Applesauce Cupcakes

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Farmer’s markets are in season. Here, a tasty recipe from our trip to bountiful.

There’s a bright red 1952 Massey-Harris tractor parked on the lawn at Burnham Family Farm Market in Hamilton Town-ship between Cobourg and Port Hope, about an hour east of Toronto. It’s no prop for the kids to climb. That’s your first indicator that Burnham’s is the real deal.

This is an old-timey country market that’s woven into the fabric of Northumberland County since the sixth-generation farming family purchased it in 1994. They carry fresh produce from Ontario farms, homemade breads, pastries and their famous pies. It’s a family affair, with Anne Burnham (right) running the show, where locals come to get the latest news while picking up tea biscuits, the hottest seller.

“Get to know your local farmer” is more than a catch phrase here – you pretty much have to join in the chatter.


“It’s the cupcake recipe I discovered as a young mother and adapted it a bit,” Anne Burnham says of the 30-year-old recipe. “And it’s good for a cake, too.” For the applesauce, McIntosh, Spartan and Empire are favourites, but most kinds will do.

Unsweetened Applesauce

8-9 cups    apples, peeled, cored
and sectioned

1 cup           water (approx.)

Place apple sections in a pot with enough water to keep from burning. Cook over medium-low until soft. Let cool slightly, then whisk smooth (a food processor or mixer works well, but avoid over processing). Keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 weeks or freeze.


½ cup         butter or oil

1 cup           packed brown sugar

1                    egg

1 ¾ cup     flour

¼ tsp           salt

1 tsp            baking soda

1 tsp            cinnamon

1 cup           applesauce (unsweetened)


Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and and rest of ingredients in order and mix. Spoon batter into lined muffin tin. Bake in 350 F oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool.



1 cup           packed brown sugar

Pinch          salt

¼ cup         butter

¼ cup         milk

2 cups         icing sugar (approx.)

1 tsp            vanilla


In saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter and milk; cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Do not overcook or it becomes brittle. Add icing sugar a little at a time, as you may not need the full 2 cups. It will seem runny but will thicken as it cools. Once you have desired consistency, stir in vanilla and frost cupcakes (icing can be rejuvenated by warming in microware or by adding a little more warm milk).



Family farm markets – a.k.a. on-farm markets – are the ultimate in “local.” There’s always something on offer, be it a bakery featuring heirloom recipes, U-pick berry and apple orchards, a corn maze or cute farm dogs. Here, three more to visit. But beware: they all seem to claim best butter tart status.

Andrews’ Scenic Acres

A Mennonite barn has housed the market since 1980. In 1999, they added the Scotch Block Winery, fermenting their own berries and grapes. Best bets: frozen yogurt made with fresh berries, sweet corn, preserves and honey. Open daily May 1 till Nov. 1; weekends till Dec. 31. Halton Hills; 905-878-5807;

Hewitts Farm Market & Bakery celebrates 40 years in the business next year, and three sons are poised to keep things running on the family farm just west of Orillia. Best bets: Hewitt’s own sweet corn and maple syrup, plus local honey and foodstuffs from nearby producers, including beef and poultry. Squash, pumpkins and gourds for fall. Open year-round. Coldwater; 705-325-3000

Round the Bend Farm Market and Garden

Since 1986, they go all out in the fall with harvest decorations and, of course, a corn maze. Best bets: turkeys, including raw ground turkey dog food. Wide range of vegetables, from okra and eggplant to melons and tomatillos. Open seasonally (call ahead). Kettleby; 905-727-0023;

Do you have a favourite farmer’s market near you? Let us know in the comments!