“There’s a snag just outside our kitchen window,” Susie Black Diemer explained when I asked about the name of her cottage food operation, Twisted Tree Bakery. Diemer lives in Fieldbrook and has worked as a medical assistant and an instructor at College of the Redwoods.
She’s in her first year at the McKinleyville Farmers’ Market and already folks are seeking her out. As we sat and talked behind her table there, repeat customers from the weeks before came by to request her muffins, scones and mini pecan pies.
“I’m from the South,: one man said as he bought two pecan pies. “I know good pies and these are some.”
The baked goods are so good because Diemer got up at five in the morning on her day off from medical assisting to bake and be ready for the afternoon market in McKinleyville. “Everything is baked fresh today,” she told her customers.
Diemer is trying a new business approach: the cottage food system where she submitted her list of ingredients for each item for approval through the county and state mandated guidelines. (The California Homemade Food Act went into law in 2013, making it possible for more folks to start a business from a home kitchen.) There are a host of other rules she has to follow in order to bake at home. It’s an adventure for her and one she is excited about. “I’ve baked always,” she said, “since I was a teen.”
She’s hoping to build up a clientele for special orders for whole pies, cakes, fruit cobblers and sweet breads. Diemer is willing to deliver from McKinleyville to Trinidad. She would love to be that person who delivers a tray of hot muffins and scones to your group’s meeting. Forget the pink box of donut halves, the picked over ones that no one wants after all the chocolate ones are gone. Think about a basket filled with lemon scones, banana bread, corn bread and muffins filled with berries picked fresh.
“I don’t do those berry muffins where you get one berry in each muffin,” Diemer said with a laugh.
All her fruit pies are vegan. Her cakes include Disappearing Chocolate Cake, Lightning Cake, Apple Spice Cake, and Raspberry-Almond Coffeecake (which, she said, can be made with any kind of berry.) Cobbler choices include peach, nectarine, apricot, and berry. Cookies and brownies are all classic varieties, not listed here because typing this is already making me too hungry.
Diemer has just sent in a list of new ingredients and recipes for approval that includes pumpkin and gingerbread. Seasonal choices fit her philosophy of making “everything as organic as possible.”
Since the McKinleyville Market has ended for the season, Diemer has been accepted into the Winter Market on the Arcata Plaza, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of March. Stop by and see her yummy creations there.