‘Kind and Generous,’ The Thank-You Blog:
Grain Artisan Bakery’s Lauren Sophia Anderson does heroic work every damn day for her son, herself, her community and her world
Soon, “ Welcome Magazine ‘s” spring/summer issue will come out, featuring farm-to-table artisans — baker, chef, vegan cook, small growers, cheesemonger. My personal favorite is a single mom who’s been painstakingly sourcing every ingredient that goes into her decadent, healthful cakes and pastries as locally, organically, seasonally, and sustainably as humanly possible.
The self-taught baker started her small business because of her son, who has a few food allergies. They both do. Back when he turned one, she baked him a healthy, plant-based smash cake for his birthday, and pretty-as-a-picture cupcakes for the guests.
Her guests kept going on about her cake. Like, serious cake.
She took them on their word, took a deep breath, and took off. People can’t get enough. Lines form wherever she goes, long-ass lines.
PNW Cupcakes became the Grain Artisan Bakery I first encountered last summer when my world was falling apart.
My husband was basically given little choice but to walk away from a four-/five-year, full-time job at Amazon — hard to get, harder to keep. That job kept us safe and sound through bladder cancer, 911, and BCG therapy.
He just couldn’t do it anymore. The double-talk, the politics, the egos, the typical dick-waving jostling for positions that come with a big corporate income job. All of that equals a whole lotta stress, which is horrible for a cancer survivor.
I’d read offhand of a fairly new farmer’s market up in Mill Creek. On a lark, and because I kept missing my farmers-market chance previous summers, I went to check it out.
The very first vendor I saw was Grain, and those breathtaking, sheer-iced cakes in drop-dead colors, the colors of spring and summer, the color of happiness.
Lauren Sophia Anderson quietly, briskly, professionally served me my first slice from a small dark cacao cake (vegan and gluten-free…although I didn’t know it at the time, or care).
Let me tell you, that was the best damned chocolate cake I’d ever eaten. Ever.
I kept coming back to try her other treats, baked lovingly, thoughtfully by hand: Earl Grey/Lavender cake, crispety-crunchy chocolate chunk salt cookies, pumpkin bread, salted-caramel artisan brownies, strawberry shortcake cake, cinnamon rolls…
I was officially in love with the roving micro-bakery without a storefront, going from farmer’s market to festival to pop-up to custom wedding orders, working out of borrowed kitchens (she found one of her own this past fall in the basement of a fine Capitol Hill restaurant), working day and night without a break, just for these amazing cakes, cookies, pies, and breakfast delights (jeezuz, the savory seasonal galettes…).
Around the same time, I lost out on not one but two job opportunities by failing the job interview, right when I needed to go back to work the most (stay-at-home mom at your service).
A friend of a friend of a musician friend’s wife hit me up to do a freelance writing gig for her burgeoning new magazine. “Welcome Magazine” would serve the communities of Snohomish County by featuring stories about prominent leaders, luxury accommodations, restaurants, activities, music, art, fashion…. Would I like to cover Edmonds first?
I suggested we also cover Grain in a separate profile.
We tried to make room. But we just couldn’t.
I tried again for the next issue after “Welcome Magazine” came out in October.
I don’t think I’ve worked harder for a story in my life.
The editor, reporter, and fan in me fought for Anderson’s story. I wanted her on the cover. I presented my best arguments. I compromised, I pushed, then I pushed some more.
I did the best I could to advocate for her small business, because I believe in her. I’m amazed by her tenacity, toughness, and the tender, loving care that reaches beyond her own home-grown kitchen.
When I say she meticulously sources her ingredients down to the ethical nitty-gritty (she patronizes Bob’s Red Mill, because they’re employee-owned and have a heart for outreach), I’m not kidding. Meticulously sourcing every ingredient takes time, research, passion, sacrifice.
I can taste all of that in one delicious bite. When I had a piece of her chocolate cake, I had no idea it was made with my tastebuds and my health in mind. I had no idea it was vegan and gluten-free (she also bakes keto/Paleo).
You can’t tell.
I want more of what she’s baking. You will too.
The world needs more of her around, especially now.
I don’t need her thanks. The only thanks I need from her is for her business to boom, for everyone to know who she is and to help — in my own small way — make Grain Artisan Bakery a household name, paving the way for other Grains to flourish…so this world can truly be a better, less dog-eat-dog place.
Then, COVID-19 Came Along: What Small Business Are Doing to Fill the Gap of worldwide closures, Lockdowns, and stir-crazy cabin fever
The local media in Seattle hailed Canlis yesterday for adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak by shuttering its famous fine-dining restaurant in place of splitting the difference with bagel breakfast, drive-thru, and delivery options.
Grain Artisan Bakery was already on it days before, offering its own extended delivery and pick-up — which it’s always been doing since go. Because baker Lauren Sophia Anderson doesn’t yet have a storefront, she takes orders online (no money changes hands, it’s all e-commerce), and leaves packages at various designated locations for her customers to pick up. She’s in a unique position to fulfill even more of these kinds of orders, since so many people aren’t allowed to gather in large or even medium groups outside their home.
Other small business creatives have also jumped on that bandwagon, just to survive, and to provide a much-needed service in these scary, unpredictable times.
Anderson is, of course, going one better, with much, more more. She’s a creative, after all.
- Weekly Chef’s Market Special: pre-order galettes and scones (GF or regular on the scones), frozen and ready to bake, pickup on Fridays.
- Weekly Flash Sales: every week, she features a baked item, suitable for freezing. This is a great way to sample her menu. Pickup mostly on Wed.
- Gift cards: use “covid19” code for $5-$50+ off, and treat someone who could use it.
- “We will be launching merchandise pre-orders and a really great new box idea next week — stay tuned!”
Originally published at https://carolbankswebercoggie.wordpress.com on March 14, 2020.