Ask any Bracker what the best bread in the Cayman Islands is and immediately they will tell you Pioneer Bakery hard dough bread.
The bakery, known for its unique baked goods and home-style atmosphere, is perfect for laid-back Cayman Brac, sweet in culture and heritage with a bunch of friendly people.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said the bakery was started by his grandfather Arnold A. ‘Cappy’ Foster in 1954.
He lived in the Bight with his wife, Agatha, known fondly by many as ‘Sissy’. They attended the Ebenezer Church. The couple had eight children – Charles, Floyd, Audrey, Ouida, Berkley, Zita, Dennis and Trevor Foster.
“He delivered the bread in a bread van all over Cayman Brac and took very good care of his family,” Kirkconnell. “He was very industrious and made a difference in Cayman Brac.”
By 1968, the bakery had expanded to encompass the initial building and an adjacent new building had been built to house a grocery store.
Pioneer Bakery was a successful business born out of Foster’s desire to provide for his family and serve the people of Cayman Brac, according to the family’s history book.
Born 17 Dec. 1893, Foster passed away on 28 July 1970, at age 76; when he died, baker Delroy Miller took over the business and ran it for 25 years.
In 2005, Lennox Moxam and his wife, Rosemary, both with a background in baked goods, purchased the bakery from Trevor and Zita Foster.
Since then, the Moxams have enticed customers to the shop with the same delicious smell of breads, coconut rolls and a wide variety of other baked goods.
The Moxams say the bakery has stayed successful for decades because of the quality of the product and good customer service. “I have a good staff – Rosemarie Miller, Desroy Stewart, Jermaine Thomas and Mishka Wallace,” Rosemary Moxam said.
“We never changed the name; it was always named Pioneer Bakery. The only thing we did was put on a new top after Hurricane Paloma damaged it,” she added.
She said her friend Silvia Christian encouraged her to buy the bakery, and “I wanted it immediately because I love baking.”
The bakery’s commitment to customers also hasn’t changed. Employees still bake everything fresh daily.
The character of the bread has turned many locals into loyal patrons, like Leila Hurlstone, who lives in the Bight.
“They have a good bakery up there,” said Hurlstone, 69. “The bakers are so friendly … I go there for bread often. They know me so good, they start to get out the bread before I even ask,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the bakery, I think we would have a hard time getting fresh bread in the Brac.”
Hurlstone, who worked at the bakery as a teenager, said she recalls being given bread to take home with her after she finished work each day.
Satisfied customers Liz Walton Thompson and Celia Walton said they love all the products the bakery sells at Kirkconnell’s Supermarket because they are locally made on the Brac.
“We adore the coconut and round bread,” they added.