A New Era in Baking for a Rural Oxford resident

Esther and Dick Scholten in front of the new The Hot Oven.

Many patrons in rural Oxford will recognize the cute baker with a giant whisk logo, which sits on the front of a mobile food truck that sells many tasty treats from its post at the corner of Hwy 59 and Otterville Road, in Norwich. Numerous visitors frequent this food truck, coming back often for the fresh, all natural homemade treats which are made with locally sourced ingredients. Soon, many more will be able to visit the bricks and mortar storefront that has been built in Verschoyle, located just south of Ingersoll. 

Esther Scholten has always enjoyed baking. It has been her passion since she was quite young, when she helped her mom with the baking. Encouraged by her mother, Esther continued pursuing baking as a hobby, selling pumpkin pies and pound cakes on roadside stands throughout Oxford County. Eventually, she added more baked goods to her repertoire and began selling her wares from her food truck stand in Norwich, coined The Hot Oven. The food truck has been operational for just over 2 years, and with that success Esther has now set her sights on a storefront location.

Since early 2023, the shop of her and Dick’s new home in Verschoyle has been transformed into a working, certified kitchen. With its beautiful barn-like esthetics, the storefront plays homage to the rural charm of its location. This is where Esther has been cranking out countless pies, rolls, cookies, and breads with the help of her employees Roseanne, Nolia and Olivia. They take great pride in creating the products that will be sold for their patrons to enjoy.

Esther and her husband, Dick Scholten, who plays a big role in the practical matters of the store’s realization, have been working hard to bring this dream to fruition. Esther and Dick have been the brains, so to speak, in the design and fabrication of The Hot Oven store. “My husband plays a big role in supporting and helping me,” Esther noted. Dick helps in other areas as well, sometimes even pitching in on the baking! 

When asked why she enjoys doing business in rural Oxford, Esther said, “I really enjoy building personal relationships with my [patrons].” Having a permanent location will help build those personal connections that are really important to her, and allow her to get to know her clientele as they browse her shelves of baking. She looks forward to getting to know what they would like to see added to the growing list of all natural, preservative free baked products The Hot Oven sells. Many items have been added to the menu this way, and more will likely be added in response to demand, as well as Esther’s penchant for trying out new things. 

Esther also loves the country, and the closeness enjoyed in rural Oxford that one just may not find in the big cities. Having a business that is her own, in this setting, also allows for more personal and artistic control. 

The Hot Oven sources her all natural ingredients from other local businesses including Potters Road Berries, Cleaver Orchards, JTK Meats, and Meuse Brewery. Esther adds “Being able to take advantage of sourcing locally is something that can really be best enjoyed by a true, rural Oxford business”.

You can find Esther’s delicious freshly baked pies, cinnamon rolls, and pound cakes at the store located at 293225 Culloden line Verschoyle (Mt Elgin). With the Grand Opening taking place this Friday, October 6th, 2023 from 1pm to 6pm, and Saturday, October 7th from 10am to 4pm. They will be offering free coffee and cookies to patrons who come to visit the new store.

The Hot Ovens storefront will be open Fridays from 1pm to 6pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. 

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