Baba’s Own… How it all began

St. Michael’s Health Group.

In a community well known for the pioneer settlement of Ukrainians starting in the late 1800s until present day, Ukrainian food fare can be found in numerous restaurants, church basements, 7-Eleven Stores and in thousands of homes. So – why would a Ukrainian food business be started within a senior care organization? Well, it all started because Residents of St. Michael’s Long Term Care Centre and Millennium Pavilion Senior’s Lodge felt the pyrohy and cabbage rolls being served were just not the quality they thought they should be!

These Residents knew that the dough had to be soft and the fillings plentiful; cabbage rolls tender and rice well-seasoned; and don’t hold back the cream on the nalysnyky! And they brought with them generations of knowledge and experience to prepare these foods like Baba did.

Deciding they would like to make their own Ukrainian foods, and with the support of management of St. Michael’s Health Group, Residents were provided with production space and equipment to make their own pyrohy, cabbage rolls, and other specialities. They went to work and everyone in Millennium Pavilion and St. Michael’s Long Term Care Centre loved the traditional, handmade delicacies. So much so that word spread and soon family, friends and staff were placing orders with the Residents-turned-Chefs!

As orders came in, funds were raised. ‘Now what should we do with the money?’ they wondered. These Residents were doing this work because they wanted to and had not anticipated making money. Ultimately they decided to purchase a shuffleboard, large screen television, pool table – items that all Residents at Millennium Pavilion could enjoy and make use of.

But once those experienced hands tired of making the pyrohy and other Ukrainian delicacies, and once they raised funds to furnish their social room as they wished, this group of Residents decided they no longer needed to make these unpretentious food favourites. A collective shout of concern by Residents and staff could be heard at St. Michael’s when that decision was made!

Seeing that there was a market for selling quality, handmade Ukrainian pyrohy, cabbage rolls, nalysnyky, and pyrizhky, St. Michael’s management decided to continue what the Residents started, and Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food was born. The production kitchen on-site was further equipped, staff hired and work began to produce the quality, handmade items customers were seeking.

As word spread about Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food production, local grocers and deli’s starting placing orders. In no time, 60,000 pyrohy with 12 different fillings were being produced every week. The growth continued with restaurants, caterers and fundraising groups as well as loyal individual customers continuing to help build the business.
30 years later, proceeds from these product sales continue to be important to help support St. Michael’s programs, services, equipment and care needs for residents in the long-term care centre and three supportive living facilities.

Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food products can be found in stores and restaurants throughout Edmonton and surrounding communities. Ordering online from home or mobile phone has expanded significantly with the babasown.ca website offering all products including some items not carried in stores. These orders can be picked up at the permanent kiosk at St. Michael’s Long Term Care Centre.

Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food has always been about tradition and providing quality, comforting meals at a reasonable price. That will not change.

We want to thank all our customers for your support over the last 30 years. We wish you Smachnoho! Bon Appetit! as you enjoy your next Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food meal, ‘like Baba used to make it’!