Beer O’clock Stories

Is it Beer O'clock yet? Why yes, yes it is...Homegrown is home to a pretty fabulous and eclectic mix of people. Within that mix are some basic commonalities: an unflinching pride in our community, a desire to work with groovy people, and a deep need to know precisely when, each day, it is Beer O'clock. So, we bring you a new feature: interviews (chats & rants) with our amazeballs staff.

Keisha Neoma-Quinn

If Keisha were thrown into a competition where the challenge was to find your way out of a maze whilst dodging enemy arrows dipped in malarkey she’d win. Hands down. Every time.

For those of you who’ve been coming into 27 King William since 2008, you’ve already met the Barista, Artist, Activist & Musician (BAAM!) that is Keisha AKA Charlie Banjo Bean. If you are just meeting her you may still get the feeling you’ve already met; there’s that ‘old soul’ vibey thing swirling around, surrounded by a steadfast resoluteness and that rare but superb ability to speak in fully formed paragraphs.

Also goofyness


Planted in Hamilton at a very young age, and exceedingly well travelled, Keisha has many great stories. Snorkelling in the Barrier Reef! Oklahoma to New Orleans! Travelling the Amazon! Being eaten by Jaguars! Ok not that one. Drop by during the day, sometimes into the early evening, and you’ll find her.




Not like this...


More like this. 

An animal-loving Renaissance woman she is, with a new artist studio, a violin playing part in the band Mother Tareka & the Rebel Funktion and, through years of activism, an articulate sense and respect for the environment.

A recent graduate of McMaster’s Studio Art Program, Keisha speaks to how her love of the environment inspired one of her more well known works. From Keisha's tumblr:  Miss Okie Roots Faces Destructive Freedom with Awe and Wonder


“I’m in awe of the power of the sky. And apocalyptic themes. This piece represents a lot of symbols. The hot air balloon, while whimsical and free is also fragile and surrendering to the elements. It is outside, not touching the tornado, as a way to suggest how awe-ness and vulnerability co-exist. It’s a visual representation of the position humans have put themselves in. What we have done to ourselves.”



Keisha continues to explore with a variety of media: metals, printing, clay & thread. Here, through the manipulation of bronze, aluminum, and wood arises another favourite: “Waxcomb, sketched into significance” which showed last year at the you me gallery

“He is the first product of what I have wanted to do with metal. The contrast of shiny and patina and wood, another contrast." 





“He also looks like a lot of ideas in my head.”













Here's one of many Illustrations for an upcoming children’s book by Lynn Varey called 'Boconcinio Di Parma Saves The Day'.

And then there was music


Keisha plays: the piano, clarinet, tenor sax, guitar, violin and…


Yes! There is a story there too! Behind the nom de guerre, ‘Charlie Banjo Bean’. 


Check out this 2014 'Before the Mic' Interview & live recordings w/Charlie Banjo Bean


L - R : DJ LP far left, Connor Bennett on Baritone Saxaphone; Frontman MC-rapper/Saxaphonist/floutist/ Mother Tareka; Scott McIntosh on guitar, Trumpeter Aaron Hutchison on drums filling in for DROP D; Keisha on violin, Tom Altobelli on bass, Chelsea Cox holding up the right

This is: Mother Tareka & the Rebel Funktion. Click here for 'In The Key Of The So-Called Free'; an early & original EP They are currently working on a new CD. `

Next up for Keisha? There’s probably another trip with her dog Oztang up to her family’s place North of Blind River. Built by her great grandparents it’s a place where she can unwind from the busy-ness of town, appreciate her family history, and whether the weather.

Also it's fair to expect more music and art, a solo exhibition is in the works.

Here at Homegrown Keisha gets to stay in touch with all the members of her community, be it music, art, or the environment. “I get to stay in touch. It’s a great job for me to have.”


Thanks Keisha! 






Sarah Ivy Hardy


Up at the crack of dawn each day, Sarah Hardy beats everyone here so she can turn the ovens on and get going on her creations.

Hmmm, I wonder what this will be...

Since early 2015, Sarah has been wowing us with an amazing array of cookies, cupcakes, brownies, muffins and loaves. A cornacopia'd combo of sweet & savory every day.

There is always something tasty whether you’re vegan, part of the gluten free crowd, and those of us who like our sugar straight-up.

“I’ve always loved baking.” She says, smiling.

There’s an irresistible & delicate goofiness about Sarah that simultaneously makes you want to hug her and also not squeeze too hard in case she breaks.

Don’t worry, she won’t.

When did she first think of becoming a baker? A preteen Sarah watched the 2007 film Waitress and fell in love with the main character whose duties at ‘Joe’s Pie Diner’ included giving the pies quixotic names.

This pie wants to be called, "It's not for you Jo! It's for the customers!"

After high school Sarah lived in Hamilton for a while but carried a persistent travel bug. 

“I’ve always had a desire to travel, to be exposed to the real world. I wanted to see who I was when I wasn’t around people I knew.”

Go big or go home they say, so Sarah, in her 18th year, ended up in Bangkok, Thailand.

Her new home was in the northern Chiang Rai Province. She began work at a Montessori school teaching music, art and English. Sarah loved the traditional garb she wore and the kids. Her eyes light up. “I loved working with children so much!"

"They get so excited, and are so expressive…they are like little fairies.”

Soon Sarah was wanting to push herself some more.

“I just wanted to be more independent. Be my own boss, you know?” She collected a few more jobs, and a band, then moved into a jungle ! treehouse with a huge wrap around balcony.

Sarah Ivy's Homemade Pies (illustration by Sarah Hardy)

She was just getting started. 

Sarah borrowed a counter top plug-in oven and began to make…yes, pies. Peach pies, apple pies, strawberry, jackfruit and mango pies.

Exotic and trendy, her pies were a hit. Up early again, now surrounded by jungle and banana trees, Sarah made her pies, gave them a name, and set about her daily deliveries by motorbike.

It sounds fab and it was. And after a successful two years Sarah packed up her dog ‘Caramel’, came back to Canada, and we are ever so glad she did.

Because now we get this every day- 


And OMG these

...And These! 














Sarah has set her home base in Hamilton & looks forward to the future.

“I am enjoying the creative challenges here." She says. 

“I still dream of owning my own bakery again. For right now, working here with these amazing folks feels just right.”

Sarah has also been known to show up at our Thursday Night with Dave Gould Open Mic jams with her guitar and vocals. So come on in for the dessert treats and stay for the musical ones.

Pretty much a win-win here

Thanks Sarah!