My Straw-Chef Hat

Wheat Field

I had planned (we can pause here for a good laugh) to trade my chef hat for a straw hat when we moved to the farm. I had for a while and now I wear both and I’m not sure how it has happened. Slow garden and waiting to harvest the wheat field I guess. I still am out early doing chores with Mike and I’ve started to spend more time in the kitchen again too.

Saturday I had planned to do a little baking; fill a few orders, prep for the next farmer’s market and some bread for home. I had the oven on and the mixer running by 6:30 in the morning. I was off to a good start mixing and rolling and baking. Mike was going to pick up a couple gallons of milk on his way home for me but I ran out long before he was going to be home. I called my dad and he brought up the milk from their house so I could keep going until Mike was home. Mom was up the night before with a new block of yeast, as I didn’t realized I was a low as I was when I was at the store.

The kids were in and out and lunch time came, they ate and Mike put them down for naps. I kept right on baking. I guess I lost track of time because all of a sudden everyone was crowding my space in the kitchen looking for something to snack on. I’d find them something and send them on their way. Finally Mike asked “What’s for supper?”

I gave him a blank look and “I don’t know.”

“It’s quarter to seven.”

“No it’s not! Is it really?! I need to go wake the baby!”

“Yes it is and what?”

“He was a little fussy and unsettled so I put him down for a nap.”


“I guess I don’t have a clue, but he should get up so he’s ready for bed at a decent time. I’ve been in the kitchen all day.”

“I know and you don’t know what’s for supper.”

“Nope. I’ll find you something.”

That’s when it dawned on me that I was once again a pastry chef. Croissants by the dozen. In hind sight I’d been getting up at 5 am and making scones again, just like I used to do at my bakery. Croissants were rising over night and through the day then being baked each evening. The family once again getting the ugly pastries, cake tops and leftover icing. Supper that night was leftover pulled pork on freshly baked “ugly” croissants. There were no complaints.

Just like that I have a bakery, my bakery, The Patisserie on Fourth, on the farm. Since the closing of the bakery in Bismarck I have been making wedding cakes here and there for friends and family. I wrote a cookbook, but most of my baking has just been for at home.

This spring brought an abundance of eggs so I started baking and selling quiche to use some of them up. From there the market garden failed with the first planting and the wheat field wouldn’t be ready until fall. I really wanted to get back to being at a farmers market and decided I would do a little baking for one of the markets in town until the field was ready.

Well that snowballed quickly. I have been blessed being able to sell out quickly each week that I’m there. Now I’m saving for a second kitchen on the farm. I have no doubt that its years away and that’s okay. It will be nothing fancy. Just the basics. A small bakery to work in. A place to turn the wheat (butter, cream, eggs and fruit) that we’ve grown into pastries and breads for those in need of some homemade goodness.

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