Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A small town delight: Hi Quality Bakery in Cannon Falls October 28, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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On the front window of Hi Quality Bakery, downtown Cannon Falls, Minnesota. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

THE SCENT OF HOMEMADE BREAD fresh from the oven. The taste of my late mother-in-law’s best-ever gooey caramel rolls. The rustic look of a cracked gingersnap cookie. All appeal to me. All bring a flood of memories.

Seasonal-themed flowers and frogs at Hi Quality Bakery. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

I appreciate the love and labor that go into baking and the memories I associate with homemade baked goods.

Daily specials posted on a whiteboard behind the bakery counter. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

Perhaps for those reasons I am drawn to small town bakeries, including a regional favorite, Hi Quality Bakery in Cannon Falls. On a recent day trip to that Goodhue County community, Randy and I made the bakery our second stop. After the local Chamber of Commerce office, where we were tipped off to buy-one-get-one-free Fritter Friday at the bakery a few doors down.

Fritters in the bakery case at Hi Quality. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

Soon we found ourselves inside the bakery, admiring the baked goods, but disciplining ourselves to ordering two fritters. Apple and blueberry.

Hi Quality Bakery sports a signature red awning. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

This popular bakery has been a Cannon Falls mainstay since 1947 with original recipes passed through several changes in ownership. The fresh-baked treats and breads remain popular with locals, with visitors like us and with natives returning back home. A bakery clerk referenced a recent returnee from Texas who made Hi Quality her first stop.

I understand the draw. There’s something Norman Rockwell appealing about stepping inside a small town bakery. There’s something appealing about standing before glass cases of pastries and breads and sweet treats contemplating the choices. There’s something anticipatory about accepting a white paper bag with a pastry nestled inside.

Love the lettering identifying this as a bakery. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

Small town bakeries rate as one of life’s simple delights.

Adorable mummy cookies. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

On this Friday morning inside the Cannon Falls bakery, I noticed an array of Halloween-themed cookies filling trays. And I thought of the artist who crafted these—the spiders and mummies and webs… Baking and decorating truly are art forms.

Rosettes at Hi Quality. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

And I noticed, too, rows of rosettes neatly lining a baking sheet. The Norwegian cookie proved a popular buy during a recent local lutefisk dinner, a clerk shared.

In celebration of Halloween, spider cookies. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2021)

Rosettes. Fritters. Cupcakes. Cookies. Breads. Donuts. And much more. A baker rose early to create these bakery delights. I’m grateful for that dedication to craft, for the baked goods that draw me into small town bakeries like Hi Quality in Cannon Falls.


TELL ME: Do you have a favorite local bakery? I’d like to hear. And if you have tips on the bakery’s specialty, I’d like to hear that, too.

Hi Quality Bakery is open from 6 am – 5 pm Tuesday-Friday and from 6 am – 1 pm Saturday. You can order online for pick-up. Click here to visit the bakery’s website.

Please check back next week for more photos from downtown Cannon Falls.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling