Martha and Jeff of Martha’s Delectables enjoy being a part of a close-knit food business community on the Island
Martha and Jeff Barber have turned their passion into a successful business as a result of their love for baking, community and making people smile.
The couple are professional chefs from Toronto and they moved to Victoria about 30 years ago. Martha and Jeff founded Martha’s Delectables four years ago. “I worked in restaurants in the past and love to continue to make people smile through our baking. It’s exciting to see demand for our products growing in the market place,” Martha says.
From humble beginnings to a household name
Martha and Jeff started with shortbread – perfecting the recipe and building brand awareness at various markets in the community. At those markets, the couple expanded their product line to include scones, pecan tarts and cinnamon buns. Now with e-commerce being the main sales point, Martha and Jeff focus on their signature premium Scottish shortbread as well as their delicious sugar cookies. Customers can shop online and choose from their diverse array of cookie options, ranging from special gifts to corporate event and birthday goodies.
While all Martha’s Delectables products are mouth-watering and delicious, Martha says her favourite baked good is their lemon shortbread. “We use a lemon oil from Italy that contains lemon oil extracted from the zest, so it has a beautiful lemon flavour,” she says.
Martha and Jeff base their business out of a commercial kitchen in downtown Victoria.
At this location, “we’ve been able to connect with amazing entrepreneurs and meet ambitious people. We feel very welcomed there,” Martha says.
Business community comes together
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented its fair share of challenges, but Martha and Jeff have experienced immense support from the business and Island community.
“We love having our own business and being entrepreneurs,” Martha says. “We love empowering others through our gained knowledge of working with people.” During COVID-19, “the food business community on the Island has become so much closer knit in the way of finding products, helping one another through Island Good and networking. I think we’ve built quite a strong community that way. We are able to help one another when there are questions,” she says.
Martha and Jeff have seen their business continuously grow the last four years. During these challenging times, the couple are happy to share their experiences with other business owners and celebrate their passion of food with the community. Martha’s Delectables shine a beam of positivity wherever they go.
“We are very excited about the future and very much look forward to the other side of the pandemic to continue our growth,” Martha says.
The power of philanthropy
Even during the busiest times of the year, Martha and Jeff always make sure to give back and donate to community organizations.
“We always try to include a segment of donation to the community in some way,” Martha says. “We regularly donate baked goods to Our Place.”
Last Christmas, Martha’s Delectables made a sizeable donation of treats to families in need in the Victoria area.
“Our team was amazing. Everyone donated time and we put together a large donation of shortbread for the Salvation Army so that they could offer (some Christmas spirit) to families at the Stan Hagen Centre.”
In addition to the Island’s beautiful mountains and ocean, its sense of community and responsibility is what Martha loves best about Vancouver Island. “People are so active and invested in the community,” she says.
Want to see more feel good stories? Check out the Blog page on our website to read more vendor stories!