From its Instagram, you would think that Goodfellows is actually quite the establishment. I thought I would be walking into a café semi-restaurant with multiple seating arrangements and a short menu. Apparently I had been fooled by the Intagram’s magic, because as I parked in front of 150 Main Street, Rockwood, I came to the realization that that would not be the case.
I walked into this little shop where there was one big dining-like table, a fridge with products, a mini bar with an espresso machine behind it, and a couple of stools against a window bar. Like where was the rest of it?
I think Ryan (co-owner/founder) realized my confusion as I approached him because he had a smirk on his face—I would soon find out this happens quite often.
I introduced myself with a handshake and to my surprise he quickly gave a high-five.
Well that’s different, I thought. But that’s how you should expect to be greeted at Goodfellows.
Because the Goodfellows experience itself is different, in a good way.
We are so used to the monotone coffee order; where we order our complicated coffees and give our names, then proceed to wait for our order before fleeing the scene.
But not here, especially if Ryan is behind the bar.
First of all, you can’t really complicate your order. You either get bitter coffee (black) or “sweet” coffee (with milk, so a cappuccino, latte, or flat white).
(You can also get a mocha, hot chocolate, or tea).
The coffee is rich, but what makes this shop even richer are Ryan and Claudia— the owners—and their Nutella Pockets.
Yea Nutella Pockets, you read that right. And they are as magical as the name suggests. A flaky pastry that’s crunchy when you bite into it and then soft as the Nutella goodness overflows into your mouth, altering your taste buds and creating a euphoric bodily sensation.
Trust me, you just have to experience it for yourself.
Anyways, getting back to Ryan and Claudia, they make this place. You can feel them in the space of their shop and their community, “the chairs and tables come from our customers you know,” Ryan said.
It’s a place like no other really; Goodfellows Field to Fork has life and character. The picnic benches situated outside come from the Rockwood Conservation Area, and the art on the wall is from local artist Blake from Creative Persistence.
An Ecosystem Of Value & Food Integrity At Its Finest
It’s a value system on a whole different level. Ryan and Claudia want to promote the community with them and their shop. They themselves have 35 years of food experience and have built their food network with local farmers and businesses.
One of the farms they work with is W&T Mushroom Farm. They help them out not just by buying their product, but by buying what they can’t sell—just because its imperfect doesn’t mean it isn’t good, right?
Their food integrity is rooted in “conscious food.” It’s about giving value all around—to us—the customers, through wholesome ingredients and to the farmers/businesses by supporting all, not just “some” of their product.
Now that’s real value for your dollar.
It’s such a chill place too. If the high-five didn’t give you that clue, their vibes will. Seriously, so chill. I had been in the shop for all about 5 minutes and I already felt like I had been friends with them for years.
At Goodfellows you can find their homemade, all natural sourdough breads like Classic Rye, Lavender Rye, Sundried Tomato Focaccia. They have gluten-free options as well—I know, they can’t get more awesome.
Except that they can. They have amazing daily pizzas and breakfast options like “Toad In A Hole,” which is an egg in a toast. They also have ready to-go sandwiches for lunch—you can choose form two options: meat or vegetarian, simple as that! Plus, they are made with as many local products as possible and right in house!
Claudia says that it’s the “old world style” that really sets their bread apart. Everything is made by hand and baked fresh. Their gluten free sourdough is made possible by using their homemade Kombucha to start the fermentation. So it’s perfect for vegans and vegetarians too!
(No surprise there since I found out we shared similar beginnings in our food journey by reading and late preaching Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.)
They also help out their local network community by carrying local products like goat cheese from River's Edge Goat Dairy, coffee from De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters , lavender from Baroque Botanicals , and chocolate from Chocosol Traders . Ryan also frequents both the Guelph's Farmers Market and the Rockwood Farmer's Market for his weekly produce.
GoodFellows on “Why Local?
It all started for Ryan when he came across Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
It opened his eyes to the corrupt food industry and the food-like products that exist today.
It’s really a revolutionary text that will change the way you see food.
“We are what our food eats,” Ryan said.
With that concept in mind, Ryan started being more conscious about not only where his food was coming from but also where the food of that animal or plant was coming from.
Ryan and Claudia really try to cook and bake with products that are truly wholesome for us and help the community as well.
They work with the farmers who have the same mindset as them and who care about the work that they are doing, not just production. They also buy the products that don’t sell well, which is really awesome this way they aren’t taking away from the farmer’s business to the public.
It helps the farmers sell all of their products, the “best of the best” and the imperfect or not so popular product as well.
Being local is about supporting each other, which is why it’s such an enriching community. You feel good here. Not just because of the amazing goodies, but because you feel like you are really contributing to something much bigger.
An ecosystem of value all around—food integrity at its highest.
Ryan’s amazing food posts on Instagram may drive you to visit them, but you will stay and come back again because of Ryan and Claudia and the real value you get from their shop—great coffee, real food, and amazing ethical and local products.