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Saskatchewan senior turns love of baking into full-on career: ‘It’s a continuing journey’

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After a long career as an accountant, manager and CEO of multiple companies, a 72-year-old man from Milestone, Sask. has found a new passion — this time in the kitchen.

“I started 13 years ago and it all boiled down to I couldn’t find a decent loaf of bread,” said Jim Hadfield, who now runs Jim’s Bread, Buns & Cakes, a baking shop that has taken the province by storm.

“I started with nothing,” Hadfield explained as he recalled his journey. “I started completely ignorant of how to bake, and I taught myself how to bake. So for me it’s a continuing journey.”

He got his start in baking by making cinnamon buns, and a local friend told him he should start selling them.

Now, 13 years later, Hadfield has expanded his menu to 15 different kinds of breads, buns, twists and cakes.

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Jim poses with one of his famous coffee mugs, which he features in most Facebook posts. Courtesy of Jim's Bread, Buns & Cake

But perhaps what he is most famous for is his Christmas cakes.

“I had made Christmas cakes for my family for quite a few years and about four or five years ago I thought, what the heck, I’ll throw it up on my page and see if anybody was interested,” he said.

“I really didn’t think people enjoyed Christmas cake, that is my belief… well, I was wrong.”

Only offering the cakes once a year, people must order them before June in order to get them for the holidays. He says they typically sell out within an hour, and he’ll bake up to 200 of them.

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With customers across southern Saskatchewan, Hadfield works six days of the week out of his home kitchen to fill orders, and then either ships them or delivers his baking goods right to the customer.

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“It keeps me busy and keeps me out of trouble. Sort of. I get into trouble sometimes on Facebook because I can be blunt,” he said with a laugh.

“No, it keeps me going and I think it’s good for my health.”

But at 72, he said the future is a mystery, but for now he will continue to bake and make what he calls a mess in his wife’s kitchen.