The Barrel House, Clifford ON

‘Here, man – stuff this into your mouth,’ laughs Pete Bradford – excitedly pushing a butter tart into my hands. I lift it to my lips, take a bite, and search for a descriptor that can do justice to this little piece of heaven. ‘It’s made with our own whisky barrel-aged raisins,’ Pete tells me with a wide grin, ‘and our barrel-aged brown sugar too.’ 

In fact, everything at Pete and Marla Bradford’s place – The Barrel House, in Clifford – is made with barrels on the brain. Barrel-aged vinegars (including ‘apple crisp’ and ‘raspberry’ flavours), barrel-fermented pickles (called ‘Dill Dawgs’ and sold individually on a stick and in one-litre containers), and of course freshly-made butter tarts, scones, and other tasty treats – all made with barrel-aged ingredients. 

There’s more. Pete, a bonified cooper (one of only a small handful around), and Marla, a seasoned woodworker, re-purposes spent barrels into furniture, full drum kits, and even Japanese Takio drums. So the place, with its full kitchen and gift shop, is well worth a visit this spring – whether you’re looking for sweet treats, or more.

Like so many other remarkable farms and food businesses that dot Guelph and Wellington County, The Barrel House is a partner of Taste Real – a County of Wellington program that promotes local food and facilitates valuable connections among food businesses, consumers, craftspeople, and farmers alike. Craftspeople like Pete and Marla – folks whose enterprise brings beauty (and bounty) to our lives. Learn more at  and