The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Cambridge Winter Market

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varda's picture
varda

The Cambridge Winter Market

Lately I've been a lurker on TFL and not even a very good one.   But the urge to post is too strong.   I must post.   After a disappointing several weeks at the Winchester Market - some good weeks and some bad weeks, but not really a nice place, or a very well run market, I finally participated in a really great market in Cambridge Massachusetts.   A few days before the market, I called a baker who had been there before me, and asked how much he sold.   He told me close to a hundred loaves.   I gulped as that's around 4 times as much as I've ever baked for one day.    So I got to work and cranked out 35 loaves, plus bagels, baguettes and challah rolls.  On the day of the market, my daughter met me there to help me set up, as I had injured my knee (something to do with a dog and a squirrel.)   And then the shoppers started coming in.   At one point, I decided I should sit down for a bit to rest my knee.   An hour later, I realized that I hadn't had a chance.   The market wasn't that large, or that crowded, but it seems that everyone there had come to shop, shop, shop.

They showed up with their canvas bags, and shop they did.  

A pretty classy place - even the flautist was good.

Even the little kids got in the act.   This guy is either reading my price list, or trying to snag a bagel while I'm busy with his dad.   One father got down to eye level with his three year old, and let the kid pick the bread - a flaxseed rye.    I bit my tongue - no need to say, huh? what? do you think he'll like that?

After a couple hectic hours - in which not a single person told me they were "gluten free" or joked for the 35th time that they too had a bread obsession and then scurried away without buying - I had two bagels left on my table, and an hour and a half left of the market.   Must bake more.   Eek!

This week I started baking yesterday.   Hope to make it to over 50 loaves before Saturday plus my trusty bagels, baguettes and rolls.  

 

 

Comments

BobS's picture
BobS

The breads look great, and I'm glad you found a happenin' market for your breads. Now you need another oven, no?

varda's picture
varda

Yes Bob,   I have landed happily in bread country.   Only seven Saturdays - then back into exile again until I can figure something else out.   Strangely enough, the bottleneck now is not the oven - it's the mixer (I can mix 6 loaves at a time) and bowls and places to put bowls and refrigerator and freezer space and places to put proofing and cooling bread, and perhaps most important - my own strength and time and focus and efficiency.    Not an easy puzzle to solve, but I think I can do 50 + small stuff.  Maybe next week I'll figure out how to increase it but right now I don't see how.  And there's no telling how well I'll do this Saturday - unpredictable!   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

BobS's picture
BobS

We knew you when.

As you start earlier in the week are you doing anything special for storing the breads?

varda's picture
varda

Hey Bob,   I am wrapping very carefully just as the bread is cool and then freezing.   I wasn't too happy about my unfreezing regimen on the other end, so am trying to work that out.   -Varda

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Varda,

Obcessions 1 Trepidations 0.

Sounds like you've found a "sweet spot". Congratulations and update us often...,

Wild-Yeast 

varda's picture
varda

Fear usually wins so it's great that for one Saturday it didn't.   Thanks so much!  -Varda

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

And it doen't hurt to have fine breads and baked goods to sell to a willing public.   Glad you fond the right spot Varda  If the folks in Cambridge won't buy this bread ...then we are doomed:-)

Happy baking Varda

varda's picture
varda

Yes,  Cambridge is its own place.   I got into a summer market in the south end of Boston which is the holy grail for people who are totally and fearlessly into food.   But can't do it due to timing, etc.   So looking for something else - hopefully good.   Not that easy to get this all worked out.  Thanks for commenting even though I've been silent lately. -Varda

30 Chickens's picture
30 Chickens

What kind of oven do you use?

 

varda's picture
varda

It took some time to get used to it and figure out how to use it, but I'm all for it now.  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

Thanks for the update on how your bread business is doing.  Amazing how it has taken off.  I know you have put in many, many hours 'behind the scenes' but to see how successful you have become is heart warming and inspiring.  If I were only 30 years younger…..

I am impressed that people in your area are so organized as to have winter indoor markets for foods etc.  Around here that does not happen.  Craft sales yes, but not on a weekly basis and certainly not catering to the crowds your market attracts.  Interesting in how things change around the country.    

We do have farmer's markets in the summer and they are becoming more popular so maybe someday someone will pull off one like yours.

Thanks for the post and the photo of your lovely breads.  I am impressed….I am also eying a new mixer - tempted by none other than Pat/proth5.  I got to see her new mixer in action last weekend and now I am on a mission but have to sell a piano to finance my new obsession…..

Take Care,

Janet

varda's picture
varda

But in those days I was busy with other things.   More details on your mixer?    Wow - trade a piano for a mixer.   I'd do it except no piano.    Thanks for your interest!  -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

No piano - no problem.  You can buy mine.  Then you could be a piano playing baker *^)  and I could get my mixer…

Paul guessed it; what Pat bought is a Haussler.  Now that I have seen it in action I have been infected with the 'I want one of those too' viruses…. She also has a cute little sports car…..

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Darn, no message attached.   Now I don't know what alternative you were going to spell out.  -V

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

there's a Haussler coming to the house!  

Paul

Syd's picture
Syd

Congratulations Varda,

I was wondering what you were up to.  Exciting times. I would find ten breads a challenge in my tiny kitchen, let alone 50!  Your breads look beautiful.  No wonder they were snapped up so quickly.

Do keep us posted on how it is going.

All the best,

Syd 

varda's picture
varda

of how much of my difficulties are due to the space I'm in (or lack of it).   A lot I would say, but still there are a lot of benefits of doing this work at home - not least of which no rent.    Hope you're doing well and baking well Syd.   Thanks for checking in.  -Varda

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Great success ! Wow...35 loaves plus the baggies and bagels and rolls...you are a champ. Are you freezing the items so they will be fresh ?  I would have to do that to get such a large output. We are still traveling way too much for me to get into regular baking for a market. The little one I was baking for closed down and there is a really really big and busy one just up the street a couple miles but I hate to start and then have to stop. Perhaps when I slow down with the trips !! Good luck and please post more . c

varda's picture
varda

But so is this.    Especially when people appreciate what I'm doing and don't look at my bread like it's an invader from outer space.    I suppose you'll get back to it if the spirit moves you.   Thanks Caroline.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

So happy to see you are having success with your markets.  We were all wondering what you've been up to and by the looks of it you certainly have been busy.  Beautiful breads as always.

Look forward to your next update.

Ian

varda's picture
varda

I think I saw some beautiful bread of yours on the front page.   Nice work!  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

Thanks!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

So glad to hear that you've had good result at this market.  

Paul

varda's picture
varda

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the next one.  -Varda

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Great, Varda! do I see some bread bags full of something behind your table? 

Impressive efforts. I'd love to have the capacity to bake 50 loaves. I'm going with freezing for the time being. 

Looks like you are on the right track.

All the best wishes to you. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Khalid

 

varda's picture
varda

I am freezing Khalid.   I'm making 10-15 loaves a day all week, but I also have my bake to order business plus samples for managers of the summer markets so I can't use it all for the market.   I could probably bake 50 loaves in one day if I had some help or a bigger more well stocked kitchen, but right now that's way too much.  

The bags behind the table are more bread and rolls.   I didn't want to crowd the table too much.   Fortunately when things were going fast and furious my daughter rushed around and put new loaves out for me.   (As well as told everyone how much she loved the bread.   Nice daughter!)

Thanks for commenting. 

-Varda

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Varda.  It looks like you've mastered that new oven.  Your breads look great and it sounds like you are enjoying the market experience.  Hope you have continued successes.

-Brad

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much Brad.  -Varda

isand66's picture
isand66

I just noticed those creepy looking silhouettes and could swear one of them had a loaf of Challah in it's hands the first time I looked at your post :).

varda's picture
varda

shades of past teen rec groups.   But sure, why shouldn't they eat bread?