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This self-serve bakery cottage in the Comox Valley is worth a road trip

This self-serve bakery cottage in the Comox Valley is worth a road trip

I’ve come for the pies. More specifically, the coconut cream pies at Just Like Mom’s—an unassuming (but really, aren’t all tiny roadside stands unassuming?) yet delightful self-serve bakery stand between Fanny Bay and Union Bay along Highway 19A.

Even calling it a bakery is a stretch. There’s no kitchen. No cash register. No sweet smell of cookies wafting out the door, though there are freshly baked treats inside. And apart from other customers, you won’t often find anyone who works there.

This informal operation is owned by Bev O’Hara. After creating a much-loved family recipe book in tribute to her late mother, and years working in the food industry, Bev decided to open her own bakery. She started selling her homemade goodies out of her house, before expanding Just Like Mom’s to its now unmistakable location. 

The home baking—everything is made from scratch and on a near-daily basis—keeps Bev busy. The seasonal menu changes frequently, while staples include muffins, cookies and butter tarts. She sells seven different types of fruit pies, and the freezer is stocked with coconut cream and lemon meringue pies, along with take-away soups, broths, and pizzas. The cookies are large and chewy and the cream pies are generously slathered with coconut cream whip or meringue. Things sell out fast, so if you get there late in the day, expect a picked-over selection. 

All the treats are reasonably priced, but you’ll need to bring cash since you pay by the honour system. After you tally up the bill (there’s a calculator handy for those who are not mathematically inclined), just slip the total into the lock box. Need to make change? You’ll find coins in the tin cash box. 

The cottage itself is charming. It’s small—there’s room for only one or two people at a time—and inside, you’ll find a knit doll version of Wallace and Gromit, Christmas-themed tins lined on the fridge, plus signed cards, hand-drawn pictures and yellowed recipes tacked to the wall. It’s both sweet and slightly chaotic, in the same way you feel when you’ve stumbled upon your mom’s basement stash of forgotten decor, baked goods and jars of canned fruit (except the canned fruit at Mom’s is also for sale).

Peering over the two customers ahead of me, I’m nervously anticipating the freezer being empty. This is my second visit to Mom’s, and despite the fact that the cream pies had already sold, it helps that I can console myself with a few other goodies, including a soft gingersnap cookie that was well spiced and not too sweet. 

If you happen to be in the area (or even if you’re not), I suggest dropping by. Sure, other bakeries stock delicious treats too… But they won’t have the same charming and quirky ambience that makes Just Like Mom’s the kind of place you’d drive to for four hours just so you can buy a pie.

Just Like Mom’s Bakery
265 Muschamp Rd, Union Bay

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