Eugene Bakeries Turn Out Best Loved Temptations

If Eugene’s best bakeries have one thing in common, it is the french inspiration their respective owners drew from not only in naming their cafes, but in the skillful application of French techniques to produce puff pastries, baguettes, tarts, macarons, and more. To be sure, not a soul leaves any of these lovely shops without becoming a Francophile. Read on for our quick tour of the top three Eugene bakeries.

Heart-shaped chocolate cake. Image courtesy Metropol Bakery.

First on our stop of Eugene bakeries with mouthwatering delights is Metropol Bakery. This bright cozy space serves up daily sweet tooth satisfaction from a panorama of year-round standards like rosemary garlic bread and their seasonal fruit-inspired pastries. A highly skilled team of  bakers also specialize in freshly made treats, like fluffy cream puffs, croissants and a variety of cookies. Local artwork decorates the interior, including figure paintings, colorful drawings and framed images of some of Eugene’s elite running stars, giving the space a lingering invitation.

Marché Opera Cake. Image by: Barb Magee

Direct your gaze, and your taste buds, upon Provisions Market Hall, housed in the 5th Street Public Market in Central Eugene. This specialty food emporium serves up delicious thin-crust pizzas from the onsite wood-fired oven and an array of decadent cakes and pastries. Start your morning with a warm tea cake of the day; sip on French onion soup for lunch; and finish your food adventure with handmade ice cream or gelato. Provisions also offers specialty sandwiches made with the Marché line of breads and savory condiments, and an expanded line of charcuterie crafted with local ingredients.

National Pie Day assortment. Photo credit: Sweet Life Patisserie

Step into a wondrous world of confections at Sweet Life Pâtisserie. The display cases at their main Monroe St. location and their Sweet Life Petite outpost on 19th Street locations house an endless array of sweet and savory specialties.  Favorites include the triple chocolate obsession cake, fruit pies and tarts, and The Josephine, a dome of puff pastry filled with vanilla custard and drizzled with raspberry sauce. Satisfy hot and cold cravings with a cup of tea or scoop of ice cream with your chosen divine indulgence….or two. If a wedding or birthday is in your future, Sweet Life Patisserie will create a custom cake masterpiece to help you celebrate.

Double dare you to visit all these in one day! Breakfast, lunch and dinner sounds good to us.

Connect with them here:

Metropol Bakery Facebook

Marche Provisions Market Hall Facebook; Twitter @marcheugene

Sweet Life Patisserie Facebook

Image: top, Thomas Hawk via flickr

Editor’s note: Article re-posted with updated images after original publish date October 18, 2015.

Crescendo Organic Spirits are Sunshine in a Bottle

Limoncello, the powerfully-lemon liqueur native to Italy’s Almalfi coast, can taste like window cleaner if it’s not made well. When done right, it’s a ray of sunshine in a bottle. Kyle Akin, owner of Crescendo Organic Spirits in Eugene, does it right. From nature.

“When people try this they are hooked,” says Akin. “People who are familiar with limoncello love ours.”

A cello (sounds like chello), in Italian, means liqueur. Akin’s limoncello, unlike most others, is organic and hand crafted using unbleached natural sugar. Bleached white sugar imparts a chemical aftertaste, flattening the roundness of the lemons and also sharpening the bitterness. Crescendo’s Oregon Tilth-certified organic liqueurs have none of that. The natural sugar imparts a color more like juice than an artificial clear spirit.

Image courtesy: Crescendo Organic Spirits

“We use real products and hand-zest all these lemons, limes and oranges,” says Akin. “No powders or extracts. It’s real fruit and organic sugar. I’ve never found another Italian ‘cello’ in Oregon that gives us a run for the money.”

Akin crafts his Arancello, or orange liqueur, and Limecello, made with limes, with the same care.  At $24.95 a bottle, Akin asks $2 less than his closest competitor, which is not local or organic.

“Cellos” are traditionally served chilled in small glasses as an after-dinner digestive. Staff at the Crescendo tasting room, which is open weekends, can prepare a multitude of cocktails. Try the classic Gimlet made with gin, Limoncello and fresh lime, or a New Fashioned, made with bourbon, Arancello and bitters. Their cocktail of the week is only $8, and patrons can snack on cheese, nuts and delicious desserts by local food artisans.

At home,

  • pour the liqueurs over ice cream or sponge cake.
  • use them as a marinade or create your own cocktail.
  • mix any liqueur with sparkling wine or water for a clean and refreshing drink.

Akin and his wife, Cory, committed to Crescendo in 2013, after Kyle’s constant traveling for his job as a civil engineer became too demanding. The company is growing fast. Currently, cello lovers can find the liqueurs in California, Nevada and Colorado. Akin has his sights set next on Indiana and Louisiana, Florida and Hawaii. To find a retail location in Oregon, click here. Then select your liqueur of choice.

Just 5 years young, they’ve already added several competition wins including:

Double Gold – Denver International Spirits Competition
Bronze – Berlin International Spirits Competition

Gold – Sip NW Spirits Competition

Judges Pick – Sip NW Spirits Competition

On the heels of a successful community public offering via Hatch Oregon in 2016, Crescendo is now the producer of a craft organic vodka.  The Eugene tasting room is closed, though, until April 2018 while Akins launches a Grants Pass, Oregon outpost called Double Taps, Tap Room and Craft Spirits (Update: opened December 2017).  Through the collaboration with the adjoining Heroes American Cafe, Double Taps will serve up 24 craft beers, wine, Crescendo tastings and craft cocktails, and the Heroes menu.
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The Local Dish Pumpkin Recipes Roundup

Have you been waiting in the pumpkin patch all night for some great recipe inspiration? The Local Dish team has been a fan of this bright orange squash for some time. We ran a pumpkin recipes roundup with a video extra on how to make fresh pumpkin puree!

Try some of the links below for ways to find and use this Fall favorite:

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

How to Make Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Check out this short video with tips on how to prepare fresh pumpkin for your holiday cooking.

What’s your favorite way to cook with pumpkin?


Photo: Andrea_44

Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Oregon Truffle Pairings


Truffles are prized the world over for their delectable scent and taste. But such luxury doesn’t come cheap. If you acquire one of these precious black or white gems, you’ll want to make the most of it. We asked several chefs involved in the 2017 Oregon Truffle Festival what foods they like to pair with truffles (with an emphasis on foods grown, caught or raised in Oregon). Their responses ranged from humble to extravagant – but all sounded delicious.


Sarah Schafer, executive chef at Irving Street Kitchen, Portland. Image credit: Irving Street Kitchen

Many types of Oregon fish and shellfish go well with truffles, says Sarah Schafer with Irving Street Kitchen in Portland. She highlights two: “I like cold smoked oysters with lemon oil and black truffles, or salmon gravlax cured with white truffles.

“I would tell the home cook to remember that Oregon truffles don’t always need to be cooked to impart their flavor in a dish,” Schafer continues. “They are very delicate. Both these dishes are cold and somewhat raw, which prove that uncooked truffles can be delicious.”

Raw oysters, Dungeness crab and razor clams are also outstanding with truffles. Since the fat in cream does such an excellent job of retaining their flavor and aroma, chowder can be a great way to use any clams gathered while walking long stretches of the Oregon coast, Schafer says.


Charles Ruff, culinary director at Oregon Truffle Festival, Eugene. Image credit: Oregon Truffle Festival

Every year the Oregon Truffle Festival puts on a breakfast with truffle-laden foods. One of the most popular things they serve isn’t a dish; it’s a drink.

“We do a dark chocolate hot chocolate with black truffle and a white chocolate hot chocolate with white truffle,” says festival culinary director Charles Ruff. “They’re very, very popular.”

Ruff doesn’t color-code when combining the two ingredients; he picks the fruiting bodies that best match the two types of chocolate. White truffles typically go best with savory foods, but they lend an intriguing pungency to white chocolate. “Black truffles – they have a very sweet flavor profile,” he says. That provides a nice contrast to the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

Cooks raring to try this at home should keep in mind that it’s not as easy as adding some truffle shavings to a cup of drinking chocolate. That’s because the flavor profile of black truffles changes over time. “When you pull them out of the ground, they exude these aromas of bananas and pineapple,” Ruff says. “As they start to ripen it changes the characteristic in their aroma.” The flavor becomes reminiscent of hazelnuts and almonds.

“Toward the end they start to take on a really good farmhouse cheese spectrum, like camembert,” Ruff says. “I try to literally pick black truffles by where they are in the ripening stage to pair with chef’s dishes” – including those sumptuous-sounding hot chocolates.

Root vegetables

Greg Denton, chef/co-owner at Ox, Portland. Image credit: Ox Facebook

Chef Greg Denton with Portland’s Ox has combined beets and carrots with truffles at past Oregon Truffle Festival dinners with great results.

“When it comes to pairing truffles and root vegetables, we like to concentrate those flavors first and bring out the natural sweetness of the carrot and beet,” he says. That means roasting the vegetables to caramelize their sugars.

“Specifically with beets, I’ve done a beet carpaccio with ricotta and shaved truffle and olive oil,” Denton says. “Oregon black truffles have this fantastic sweetness. I think these ingredients pair really well.

“I’ve served the roasted carrots with roasted marrow, a vegetable demi-glace and shaved Oregon white truffle,” he continues. “There’s a little bit of a petrol quality to Oregon white truffles that’s unique. We think the carrots, veggie demi and marrow really bring forth some of the highlights of all of those items when they’re mixed together.”


Karl Zenk, executive chef at Marché, Eugene

“The things that go best with truffles are things that are kind of neutral in flavor in general,” says Karl Zenk, executive chef at Eugene’s Marché. “Anything that’s too strongly flavored it tends to mute them and you don’t really get their flavor.”

Risotto and pasta dishes are two classic ways to use truffles, Zenk says. Truffles also go nicely with potatoes. “You can do a potato soup with truffles because potatoes are another nice neutral base.”

At this year’s Oregon Truffle Festival, Zenk is planning a salad with potatoes and celeriac –a slight departure from his emphasis on using ingredients without much flavor of their own, but one he’s excited to present. “The celeriac has a sweet, nutty flavor and the truffles go really nicely with it,” he says.

7 Food Gifts to Bring Home from Oregon

Are you traveling home from Oregon for the holidays and needing to satisfy the creative hunger pangs of your foodie friends and family? Consider these obsession-worthy staples from the Pacific Northwest. Here are food gifts to bring home from Oregon, 4 if by car and 3 if by plane.

Blue Heaven. Image credit: Rogue Creamery

Rogue Creamery Blue Heaven

Bringing back cheese is no easy feat, but with Rogue Creamery’s Blue Heaven, you can share the joy of blue cheese in a shaker, no refrigeration required. Rated as a must-have pantry item by Better Homes and Gardens, the true flavor shines through. Use it for blue cheese dressing or sprinkle it over popcorn and steak for a flavor of the Pacific Northwest. (6 oz, $17)

Image credit: Noah’s Bees

Noah’s Bees Infused Vanilla Honey

Gifting honey can be a sticky business, but Noah’s Bees Infused Vanilla Honey can be driven home as a holiday present or shipped across the country for a sweet taste of Oregon. Available in specialty food shops around Southern Oregon.

Lillie Belle Red Velvet Almonds. Image: Lillie Belle Chocolate.

Lillie Belle Farms Brown Velvet and Red Velvet Almonds

Nothing says holiday hospitality like a bowl full of nuts. Lillie Belle Farms Brown Velvet and Red Velvet Almonds create a spicy sweet mix that can even make the plane with you. Watch that package so it doesn’t fall into the wrong (TSA) hands! Find these addictive gems at their Artisan Corridor shop in Central Point, located at 211 N. Front St. We promise you won’t just leave with these! ($11)

Lola’s Fruit Shrubs. Image credit: Barb Magee

Lola’s Fruit Shrubs

Oregon’s craft cocktail scene is thriving and Lola’s Fruit Shrubs craft cocktail mixers mean that you can enjoy the experience of organic fruit in a bottle beyond Oregon. Made by hand in Eugene, Oregon, these mixers, also known as drinking vinegars, can be mixed with spirits, added to vinaigrettes, or for deglazing that chicken sauté. Pick them up at Eugene Farmer’s Market, Marché Provisions Market Hall or Capella’s Market and then ship or drive them to your holiday destination.

Image credit: Vincent Family Cranberries

Vincent Family Cranberries

Cranberries are a holiday staple and the Vincent Family dries them so you can enjoy them at any time of year. Grown sustainably on the Oregon coast, they are sweetened with fresh apple juice instead of sugar in small batches that ensures the freshest dried cranberries on the market. We’ve tested, and yes, tasted, many a variety and found these plump fruits to rival all others. Best of all, you can easily pack them on a plane with your carry-on. Find a location near you.

Image credit: Freddy Guys

Freddy Guy Hazelnuts

There’s no better example of Oregon’s bounty than hazelnuts. Freddy Guys Hazelnuts are available raw, smoked, or coated with candy or chocolate. Perfect to add a crunch to a salad or side dish or just to snack on. They’re easy to pack or send, whether you’re flying, driving, or just sharing. (8 oz., $8)

Smoked Honey Sauce. Image credit: Bee Local

Bee Local Smoked Honey Sauce

Bee Local Smoked Honey Sauce is a sweet and spicy sauce that is sure to become a pantry staple as a topping for both savory and sweet dishes. It’s sold out for the holidays, so keep an eye out for a new batch and be prepared to have it shipped if you’re not driving your presents this year. Look for it at Market of Choice and specialty food shops. ($12)

The holidays are all about sharing and these locally-produced foods make it possible to share a taste of the Pacific Northwest with anyone, wherever they are.

4 Best Local Markets in Eugene

You don’t have to spend much time here to realize what Eugeneans value: organic food, local products and craft beer. Yes, we have the typical grocery stores that you can find anywhere. But those places are unlikely to offer real local flavor like local markets in Eugene. There’s no better way to get to know a place than by eating its local food. Eugene is home to its fair share of food markets and farm stands. These three bricks ‘n’ mortar markets and one seasonal pop-up market make it easy and convenient to buy local food. Here are our 4 best local markets in Eugene.

Though the atmosphere of these local businesses varies, they are all convenient to get to. At these local markets in Eugene you get easy access to unique foods that are made right in Eugene and around the region that you won’t find in the big box grocery store.

Provisions Market Hall

In late 2015, Eugene’s Marche Provisions expanded into Provisions Market Hall, a 10,000-square-foot space with a butcher shop, cheese case, pizza kitchen, locally roasted coffee, fishmonger and year-round farmers market. “All of our produce is exclusively from Oregon, either bought directly from a farmer or from wild mushroom hunter,” says Sam Rollins, the store’s co-general manager. Long’s Meat Market provides all meats and Newman’s Fish Market provides fish.

The bakery prepares breads and pastries each day. Ready-made sandwiches and a salad bar make Provisions a good place to stop for a bite or to take home fresh, local ingredients for the night’s dinner. Beer, cider and wine from breweries and wineries across the region can be sipped on site or taken home. Easily find Oregon wines in their own large section.

Local food originators Springfield Creamery makes the ice cream base, which Provisions enhances with  seasonal local flavors, such as strawberry or locally produced olive oil. Many of their pantry items, such as dry beans and pasta and baking flours, are made entirely of items grown in the Willamette Valley. A cocktail nook holds beautiful glassware along with locally made bitters and shrubs. Provisions is also the place to go for that hostess gift or specialty food item you can’t find anywhere else. In addition to beautiful food, Provisions offers cookbooks and kitchenwares.

Find Provisions Market Hall in the Fifth Street Public Market at Fifth Ave. and Pearl Street.

The Kiva

The Kiva specials board. Image credit: Kiva Grocery

Locally owned and operated since 1970, The Kiva is one of Eugene’s original health food stores. The Kiva offers the best prices on local and organic produce in town. “A lot of stores put an extra premium on local products and we don’t,” says manager Melissa Brown. “We work with over 270 people in the community directly, vendors, distributors and bakers.”

The Kiva  local honey, breads and locally produced goods. The nearby “jarrery,” Sweet Creek Foods, packs enchilada sauces, salsas and pickles into jars rather than cans. A large deli case offers a grand selection of cheese from around the world as well as Oregon.

Any startup local food business is likely to find shelf space at the Kiva. “We really cherish locally made foods and being part of the community,” says Brown. “It’s really fun watching fledgling business getting their start on our shelves.”

Find The Kiva in downtown Eugene across from the LTD bus station and next to the Eugene Public Lbrary.

Capella Market

At Capella you can complete a full grocery store run and leave with nothing but local and organic food and household items. “We have 9 million different things that are local,” jokes Capella’s Reisa Maddex.

Capella gets most of their produce from Organically Grown Company, which delivers organic food from around the Northwest in a biodiesel-fueled fleet. “We are always working with local food producers,” says Maddex. “We do a tremendous amount of business with Glory Bee and Hummingbird Wholesale, who both source the things they carry locally.”

Capella Market is a continuation of the market formerly known as Oasis, which opened in 1986. Many of Oasis’s employees are still there, including talented butchers and bakers. Capella makes shopping local easy. Stickers in produce and the general grocery department indicate food from Lane County or within 100 miles of Eugene. The stickers help you find frozen local berries to local pickles. As with the Kiva, Capella is willing to give shelf space to anyone with a good business idea for local food.

Find Capella Market on 25th Ave. and Willamette Street.

Eugene’s Holiday Market

Come December, many of our small, artisan food producers come together indoors in one place, the Holiday Market. Open weekends leading up to Christmas, the food hall is alongside the artisan craft market, which is filled with the booths that are normally at Saturday Market in fairer weather. If handmade kaleidoscopes or tie-dyes t-shirts are not your type of gift, perhaps local honey, handmade pies or caramels would be. And, you can usually buy your products directly from the people who made them.

Like Pisces Tuna, albacore tuna and salmon line-caught by Daryl and Sally Bogardus from Coos Bay and canned in a micro-cannery. Get it smoked, plain or flavored with garlic and jalapeno. Try Susanna Liberty’s gourmet flavored vinegars and oils. Or Bridget McBride’s Earth and Sea Salts, culinary sea salt blends and bath salts. Or Jon Dougherty‘s Bad Little Caramels. With flavors such as chocolate salt and lemon lavender, these are delicious and unusual. Local honey and beeswax candles or roasted and seasoned hazelnuts would satisfy anyone on your gift list.

Find Holiday Market at the Lane County Fairgrounds near downtown Eugene.

Eugene Bakeries Sparkle With Holiday Desserts

Is there any better time than December for indulging in some extra special desserts? From the joyful anticipation of presents and more visits from family and friends to the extra sparkle and glitter that surrounds everything this time of year, holiday desserts have a lot to live up to. You can trust these four bakeries to give you the best holiday desserts in Eugene. Any one of these will be a sweet show-stopper you’ll be proud to serve.

Metropol Bakery

Zucotto Fiorentino. Image credit: Metropol Bakery

One of the most popular holiday desserts is a Bûche de Noël. This gorgeous cake is a sponge cake rolled up like a jelly roll with pastry cream and raspberry filling. Buttercream and meringue mushrooms, sugar-coated cranberries and marzipan holly leaves adorn the cake, to resemble a yule log. In European tradition, a specially selected Yule Log was brought into the home and burnt in the hearth. At Metropol, order Buche de Noels ahead of time with 8-hour notice. Or, take your chances on them having one in the case. They sell fast because they are so popular.

Another of the best holiday desserts available here is a Zucotto Fiorentino cake. Made in a classic dome shape, the cake is filled with a choice of two fillings. Whipped cream, chocolate chunks and dried cherries mingle with cake soaked with orange liqueur, or chocolate and roasted walnuts. This cake is again made festive using holly and cranberry decorations. Coffee lovers will swoon over the Chocolate Cappuccino Torte. Made with a roasted almond and walnut-spiced crust with a layer of chocolate ganache, espresso buttercream and mocha whipped cream. This glorious cake is decorated with chocolate covered espresso beans. A slice of this cake might be just the trick to help keep you awake until Santa comes.

Sweet Life Patisserie and Sweet Life Petite

In January, Eugene’s best-known bakery expanded to a second location, Sweet Life Petite. Special holiday desserts are available at both locations, although the main location has a larger selection. Special order ahead of time to ensure that you can walk out with Sweet Life’s version of a Bûche de Noël. The December dessert of the month is Eggnog Cheesecake. With whipped cream and nutmeg, this classic Christmas flavor is also available in a gluten-free option. Sweet Life offers Bourbon Fruitcakes or a variety of Loaf Cakes, including gingerbread, apricot brandy and rum eggnog. Toffees and shortbreads, fudge and colorful Pistachio Cranberry Cupcakes can take pride of place on your holiday table.

Hideaway Bakery

This bakery is known year-round for its delicious breads and pastas. Come December, they also break out some classic holiday desserts. Hideaway makes a German Christmas Stollen that is sold everyday through Christmas. Stollens are rich yeasts breads studded with dried fruits and nuts. They also offer a traditional Italian Panettone. This sweet bread is traditionally made in a tall dome. Filled with candied citrus as well as raisins, it is a colorful and visually appealing dessert for the table. A Saint Lucia Braided Ring recalls Saint Lucia, honored in Sweden on December 13. The sweet bread is a long braid that is knotted into the shape of a ring. Traditionally, candles are placed into the ring, which is then worn on the head as a crown. While we don’t encourage wearing flaming bread on your head, this dessert is a beautiful and delicious centerpiece.

Crumb Together

Seasonal scones and Buttermilk Pound Cake. Image credit: Crumb Together

If you want to keep things simple but still take home one of the best holiday desserts in Eugene, check out Crumb Together. This is a cozy daytime spot to grab a cup of coffee, morning pastry or homemade granola bar for your mid-afternoon snack. While their holiday offerings are not as spectacular as these other bakeries, Crumb Together specializes in cookies, and that is where they shine. Take home a plate of gingerbread men. Treat your coworkers to snickerdoodles with red and green sprinkles. Of course, if you just want a standard yet delicious chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin, we bet Santa won’t mind.

100 Mile Bakery Helps All Boats Rise

Nothing in the display case at Springfield’s 100 Mile Bakery immediately tips you off to the fact that this place is different. The berry pies, crumb-topped muffins and buckles, vegetable quiches, jam-studded cookies and dark-hued breads look just as delectable as those you’d find at any bake shop.

Leda Hermecz showing off her locally sourced garlic. Image courtesy: 100 Mile Bakery Project

Then you notice that the cheesecakes come with a teff crust, and the cream puffs are sweetened with honey. All the fruits and nuts are familiar to local foodies; there’s nary a pecan, lemon or poppy seed in sight. And suddenly it hits you – there’s no chocolate. Anywhere.

These are just a few of the sacrifices owner Leda Hermecz has made to reach an admirable goal: sourcing nearly every ingredient from within 100 miles of the bakery. With the exception of salt and leavening (and the beverages served at the café, which include coffee and tea), it’s rare to find anything that wasn’t produced in (or close to) the Willamette Valley.

Image: 100 Mile Bakery 

“Sourcing locally speaks to me on so many levels as a food entrepreneur that it just makes so much sense to do it,” she says. “I feel like sourcing locally is one of the best ways we can interact with our community and be more environmentally sustainable as businesses.” When food comes from local sources it’s also fresher, she points out, and that makes it taste better.

Image: 100 Mile Bakery 

Hermecz has long been passionate about baking and the environment. When she moved to Oregon 15 years ago, she worked at Sweet Life Patisserie and Metropol Bakery in Eugene before starting her own restaurant. The business, which grew about 10 percent of its food in an onsite garden, was short-lived. But it got Hermecz thinking about what it be like to have a fully sustainable restaurant someday.

She went back to work at Sweet Life, and not long after she returned, “I really felt a calling to work on their sustainability issues,” she says. “They were kind and generous enough to let me make a lot of changes.” Among them: altering the lighting, getting genetically-engineered ingredients out of their recipes, adding a composting program for pre- and post-consumer food waste, and supplying customers with compostable to-go boxes.

“It was a year-long process, and after I did that I realized it was something I wanted to do more of,” she says. She started a consulting business to help restaurants and bakeries green their operations.

Image: 100 Mile Bakery 

Her new office was at the Sprout! Regional Food Hub, a business and kitchen incubator. The location offered a front-row seat to the renaissance taking place in downtown Springfield. The neighborhood was rapidly evolving from a place with a seedy reputation to one that was drawing people and families in droves. A bakery, she knew, would be a welcome addition.

“I tried to talk other people into opening a bakery downtown and using the Sprout! kitchen,” she says. “Instead I talked myself into it.”

Two and a half years later, everyone is grateful she did. 100 Mile Bakery offers a wide array of sweet and savory delicacies inside the converted church that houses Sprout! The cozy café has become a community gathering spot as well as one of the best places in town to buy farm-to-table food.

It’s not always easy to source from within 100 miles, Hermecz acknowledges. In fact, she believes it’s something that’s possible only a few places in the country.

But the amazing variety of foods produced in the Willamette Valley makes her job a little easier. Local farmers grow everything from berries and tree fruits to greens, herbs and potatoes. Soft white wheat for pastries, hard red wheat for bread, and less common grains that are perfect for other recipes are harvested and processed not far from the bakery. Foragers gather wild mushrooms, and creameries produce outstanding goat and cow’s milk cheese. When Hermecz wants nuts, she turns to hazelnuts. Honey – the only sweetener she can really use – is available from multiple sources, as are eggs.

Her experiment in baking with only local ingredients can also be fun. When asked to name her favorite thing at bakery, Hermecz says, “I enjoy making the next thing. It’s the thing I work at and wrinkle my forehead up at and fail several times at. I’m pretty proud of my cream puffs for that reason. Using honey as a sweetener – it’s quite challenging because of all the moisture. It doesn’t harden up once you bake it like sugar does.” She still hasn’t found the perfect crispy cookie recipe for that reason – but it’s a good bet she will at some point.