An Artisan Bakery on the Homestead
Earth to Oven Desserts Fresh from the Farm
That’s because Scratch Desserts, the artisan bakery Tina founded in November 2010, is located as close to fresh foods as she can get it: on her farm. Following in the newly revived, yet centuries old traditions of the Farm-to-Table movement of growing food and eating fresh from the earth, Tina uses ripe, seasonal ingredients from her farm in her custom-baked desserts.
Living Off the Grid, Modified
Before the bakery came the farm. Working as a pastry chef in the city of Minneapolis in 2004, Tina and her husband dreamed of a different kind of life. “We wanted to be on the land, off-grid, and raise our own food,” Tina said. Returning to the Pacific Northwest, where Tina had trained as a pastry chef, they found a lovely 7-acre farm near Ferndale, Washington.
“As soon as we saw it, we were hooked,” Tina said. “The plum tree was in bloom. We were eating plums. We walked down to the creek, we said, ‘This is it.’”
Seven years, two children, and a reality check later, Tina and her family are living the “modified version of the dream.” Although their farm is not off the electrical grid, they raise much of their own food. With an orchard of apples, pears, plums and hazelnuts, along with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries and rhubarb, the farm provides the basics for cider, homemade wine (“Gooseberry wine— It’s really good!”), and desserts.
Tina’s large cultivated gardens overflow with vegetables in summer: tomatoes, peppers, garlic, leeks, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sunchokes, beets, potatoes, squashes—every vegetable she can think of growing.“You really realize once you start doing this how much it takes to feed a family of four on vegetables,” Tina said.
In the pasture, St. Croix sheep graze peacefully, while closer to the barn a flock laying hens range about, eating grass and pecking at bugs.
“We strive to eat nothing but our own meat and eggs, and supplement with vegetables,” said Tina. “We have beef, lamb and chicken. We usually raise pigs.” She and her family also rely on neighboring farms for food they don’t grow at home.
Building their sustainable homestead has been an education in the integration of nature and the cycle of life. “We’ve learned so much. It’s a circle.” Tina said. “We need everything we have here if we want to be without inputs.”
Starting an On-Farm BakeryWith fruit on the trees and the homestead flourishing, Tina’s thoughts returned to her training as a pastry chef. “I wanted to get back into baking and I wanted to do something with the farm,” she said. It seemed like a perfect fit to be able to grow some of the products she used in what she liked to do best—baking.
The idea for a bakery on the farm soon grew into Scratch Desserts. Tina and her husband Ed, a carpenter, planned and built a commercial kitchen on the property, while Tina developed the recipes for seasonal pastries. Now, Scratch Desserts delivers in town and offers custom handmade dessertssuch as cakes, tarts, cheesecakes and cupcakes for restaurants, office meetings, and special events. On Saturdays from April through October, the bakery provides an assortment of morning pastries and its special Hammerhead “Scratch” coffee blend at the Ferndale Public Market. Scratch also offers a CSA for desserts, in which members pay ahead for three months and receive farm-baked sweets each month.
Tina’s aim is to make European desserts with local Northwest ingredients. She uses eggs and fresh fruit from the farm, organic sugar, milk and cream fromTwin Brook Creamery, and flour from Shepherd’s Grain Co-op and the Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill.
Taking advantage of what is fresh on the farm, she transitions her specialties with the seasons. In spring she might offer rhubarb vanilla upside down cake; in summer strawberry crostadas or apple, pear or berry tarts; in fall and winter pumpkin pies, and hazelnut or marionberry bittersweet chocolate tortes.
Like everything on the farm, the bakery follows the seasons. A taste of spring, summer, fall and winter? They’re on the menu!
Scratch Desserts delivers throughout the Bellingham area. You can find fresh baked pastries from Scratch Desserts at the Time in Play Cafe in Bellingham, and each Saturday, April through October, at the Ferndale Public Market. For more information, contact Tina at (360) 255-9120 or email@example.com