We became farmers because we love food, animals, and our planet. The whole reason that we left Philadelphia to start farming back in 2011 was because we wanted to 'get back to the land' and connect with where our food was coming from. We wanted to be part of the solution. A lot of folks may not that know that for our first three years of farming we raised exclusively livestock. Even though I'm a trained pastry chef and Bailey is a horticulturalist with a floral background, the bakery and flower farm didn't come to fruition until we had a few years of farming under our belts.
We often refer to our bakery as a "Farm-Based Bakery". This doesn't mean that our bakery is located at our farm (though we are actually in the process of constructing a commercial kitchen on our property so that the bakery can move onsite!), but that for us, local farms are the foundation on which our bakery is built.
Most bakeries and restaurants like to say that they use “the highest quality ingredients”. But much like calling something "all-natural", this really doesn’t mean anything, so we aim to be as transparent as possible. I believe that any item coming out of my kitchen is only as good as its lowest quality ingredient, so I use the very best that I can find. And to me, this starts by sourcing from local farmers who treat their animals, the land, and their employees with respect.
For the first couple of years, we attempted to produce all of our own eggs for the bakery. Bailey is a self-proclaimed chicken whisperer, and we really enjoy having poultry around. They make a farm feel like a farm. Our birds spent their days out on pasture, eating bugs with their friends in the sunshine. But chickens need to be protected at night, and we didn’t have a predator-proof chicken coop or guardian dogs. We’d lock them up at night to roost, but the damn skunks and racoons were still able to sneak in and wreck havoc. I go through more than twenty dozen eggs a week during the height of our busy farmers’ market and brunch event season, so I needed a source more reliable than ourselves.
photo courtesy Alissa Hessler
We turned to our good friends Phelan and Kelsey of Pigasus Meats over in South Hero, VT. They raise pork and laying hens on pasture, and are some of the kindest, most loving people you could ever meet. They use rotational grazing practices, improving soil health while producing damn good pork and eggs. Their chickens are happy, healthy, and fed non-GMO feed, and stay safe at night under the watchful eye of a couple of beautiful maremmas. Be sure to stop by their booth at the Burlington Farmer’s Market to pick up one of their made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, featuring their sausage and eggs.
I think that the slogan is “Good cheese comes from happy cows”. Well, the same goes for milk, yogurt, buttermilk, etc. Happy healthy cows produce a better product, it’s just common sense. So that’s why we source our dairy products from farmers we know personally, who treat their cows with the love and respect they deserve.
Our milk and farmer’s cheese comes from Paul Lisai at Sweet Rowen Creamery
. Paul’s herd of Vermont Heritage Linebacks live just a few miles down the road from us, and his commitment to their health and the environment is reflected in the quality of his product. When the grass is growing, the cows are grazing, and they are rotated onto fresh paddocks every twelve hours and do not return to the same space for 25-30 days. This practice produces healthy soils, rich grass, healthier cows, and better milk.
Our buttermilk, yogurt, and heavy cream comes from Jack Lazor and his team at Butterworks Farm in Westfield, VT. Their 100% grass fed Jersey cows produce some seriously sweet, rich milk, and it’s certified organic. Jack is a leading voice in the world of small-scale sustainable farming practices and soil health, and he quite literally wrote the book on small-scale holistic grain production.
Fruits and Veggies
Our fields and greenhouses are all devoted to growing cut flowers, but we do maintain a medium-sized vegetable garden for ourselves, and I incorporate as much of this into my production as possible. Our kale, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini and more regularly make their way to the bakery as they become seasonally available. But the great majority of our fresh produce comes from our friends and neighbors, including:
1000 Stone Farm
Morey HIll Farm
Adam’s Berry Farm
Half Pint Farm
Lewis Creek Farm
Full Moon Farm
Brown’s Beautiful Blueberries
& many more!
I bake with certified organic flour and cornmeal from Champlain Valley Milling in Willsboro, NY, which sources grains from small farmers throughout Vermont and New York. I also use a transitional organic flour produced just across the border by Les Moulins de Soulanges in Saint-Polycarpe, Quebec. “Transitional” means that the wheat is grown with organic practices on a farm that is in the process of obtaining its organic certification.
We are very grateful to live in a place that grants us access to so many high quality locally-produced ingredients. When you buy from our bakery, you know that you are getting a high quality product, expertly prepared using the very best in local ingredients.