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Oct. 21, 2021 | Thursday
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The Grove Farm Shop to open in old Fruit Shack location
Steven Wharton and his wife, chef Charlie Clowes, at the 1Awards sponsored by First Ontario Credit Union. (Supplied)

The Fruit Shack lives again. 

Well, sort of. Chef Charlie Clowes and her husband Steven Wharton are launching the Grove Farm Shop on the site of the Pohorly family’s much-loved Fruit Shack on Niagara Stone Road in Virgil.

“We’re not the Fruit Shack but we’re hoping to pick up very similarly from where the Fruit Shack left off,” said Clowes.

Easing toward semi-retirement, the Pohorly family closed the Fruit Shack this past winter after 16 years of operation, but maintains its 50-acre farming operation.

“We won’t have their butter tarts – we know everybody wants their butter tarts – but we will have butter tarts,” Clowes said in an interview. “We’re going to bring in the best of Niagara. We’ve got a couple of different bakeries that we’re working with so we’ll have great butter tarts in-store.”

But they’re also going to have a petition at the Grove to try to convince Steve Pohorly to bring back his famous butter tarts.

Like its predecessor, the new operation is a family-run business, with Clowes and Wharton, plus her dad Phil, sister Sam and a staff whom they consider family.

“I think the reason the Pohorly family chose us to come into their space is that we share the same values and we share the same mission as a business,” Clowes said. “And we want to support the local farms as well. So we’re still going to be carrying all the local farm produce that we can get.”

And anything that the Pohorlys produce on their farm, including their peaches, will be available at the Grove. In addition, they’ll have all the organic, antibiotic-free and hormone-free meats that the Fruit Shack carried, Clowes said.

The Grove will also offer a lot of the latest modern culinary sous vide-ready products, “because that’s very much what we do in line with the restaurant that we have at Silversmith (Brewery).”

The shop will also carry a wide variety of baked goods, she said.

Clowes, known by many for Ello Guv’na, the British food truck she used to operate around Niagara, has also been chef at Silversmith’s Mason restaurant for the past two years.

“So, anything you eat at Silversmith has come from us,” she said. And that will continue.

The Grove plans to open in early July.

Additionally, last week their business, Clowes & Co., was one of the firms honoured at the 1Awards from First Ontario Credit Union.

The family enterprise won a grand prize of about $50,000 in cash and in-kind services. “We were recognized for our mission of being great employers, collaborative business partners and supporting local all-round,” Clowes said.

“Clowes & Co. sounds like a big corporation, but in actual fact we’re tiny, we’re family-operated, we just wanted to do things in the most professional way to truly help us grow.”