Obituary: Marion Inksetter was the mastermind behind popular Carluke Orchards bakery

When Marion Inksetter applied for a license in 1984 to open a bakery in the Ancaster orchard which she ran with her husband, Robert, she said she was asked who would drive to the countryside to buy a pie.

It turns out a lot of people.

Within nine years of opening the bakery as part of Carluke Orchards, the family constructed a larger building to meet customer demand.

Marion started with apple pies and muffins. In 2003, the Shaver Road and Carluke Road West store sold 14 varieties of pies, breads, sweets and many other baked goods. People were particularly drawn to Marion’s apple pie, Country apple pie, and Dutch apple, made with a nut crumb filling.

Pies were sold in stores on other farms, but pies were also shipped west and even smuggled overseas. In 2013, the bakery accounted for half of the orchard’s overall operation.

The Inksetters co-founded Carluke Orchards in 1965. Marion – who died on March 13 at 89 – first sold pies in an honor system from a stand at the end of the farm’s driveway from 1980. She had an idea she was onto something when she and her husband decided to add the bakery.

“Men love apple pie,” Marion told The Spectator in 1997. “When a couple comes in to buy pie, 90 percent of the men want apples.”

The pies were made using recipes that go back four generations in Marion’s family. But, she also got recipes from other family members and her rural neighbours.

“My neighbors have been very helpful with their recipes,” the former CIBC bank teller told The Spec in 2003.

Marion was a chef baker in the kitchen. She ran the farm/bakery with her son, Alan, and daughter-in-law, Cherie, after Robert’s death from cancer in 1994. Cherie eventually became head baker. This job is now held by Marion’s daughter, Cathy Wegman. The orchard is now run by Alan and his daughter, Michelle.

Michelle, who is due to take over the orchard one day, said her grandmother still came into the kitchen until a few years ago.

“She was coming to make cookies,” Michelle said. “He was a tough old bird.”

Marion Inksetter and her family

She said her grandmother liked to talk to customers.

“She was a very nice woman,” Michelle said. “She spoke softly, unless she had something to say. She remembered everyone. She was always asking about your family. She was always ready to help.

Marion was born on May 10, 1932 to James and Catherine Morton. His parents operated a chicken, egg and cash crop farm on Butter Road in Ancaster. She attended Hamilton’s downtown high school and met her future husband at a Young Farmers’ Dance.

Robert Inksetter was a member of a family that first settled in the Copetown area over 200 years ago. A road now bears the family name.

At first, Robert and Marion worked on his family’s dairy farm in Copetown. They branched out in 1962 when they purchased their own 24 hectare cash crop farm on Shaver Road. Three years later, they decided to turn it into an apple orchard and a pick-your-own operation.

The reason was that “it was something different,” Michelle said.

Marion was an active member of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Carluke, Carluke Ladies Aid and the Ancaster Horticultural Society.

Carluke Orchards employs around 15 people. It won the Small Business Award for 2009 from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Agritourism Business of the Year Award for 2010 from Tourism Hamilton. In 2010, Alan and Cherie Inksetter received the Farm Family of the Year award from the Hamilton-Wentworth Federation of Agriculture. The couple planted a pumpkin patch in 2006.

Carluke Orchards donates to charities such as Good Shepherd and Neighbor to Neighbor and sponsored a pie tasting contest at the Ancaster Fair.

Marion Inksetter is survived by her children, Alan, James and Catherine, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Robert in 1994. She is also predeceased by brothers Alan and Gavin Morton.

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