Ring out the old, Ring in the New…2012 Our Year in Review!

It doesn’t seem possible that another year has passed!  2012 has come and gone and thankfully it was another year full of goodness for Baked Dessert Cafe & Gallery and the little historic town of Berlin, Maryland.  This was the first year that we chose to close shop at the bakery during the celebration so that our focus could simply be on enjoying the evening with our family and friends. Only on its third year, the Berlin Ball Drop has become quite the tradition.  We were amongst the thousands of young and old, locals and visitors who chose to spill into the streets of Berlin watching the ball drop at Broad and Main Street.

Many new customers, along with our loyal seasonal and  local supporters, crossed our threshold this year.  Most new customers found their way to us via Social Media outlets; Yelp and TripAdvisor our new best friends.  In April we celebrated our 2nd year in business and in July our first full year in our new and improved space.

We acquired our liquor license in May which brought new and improved meaning to getting “BAKED” at the beach and added a convenience to our customers looking to purchase great wines and craft brew. New recipes were tried, some big winners, some not.  Our signature desserts the Peach Dumpling, Cupcake Bread Pudding and Cupcake Bombs still the consistent sell outs.  We added new, deliciously Gluten Free and Vegan desserts, meals and bread mix for our customers following those specific diets and we more than doubled our wholesale business.

We received several significant awards this year as well.   The two we are most proud of are the Worcester County Green Business Award and the Berlin Chamber of Commerce Philanthropy Award.  Showing some love to Mother Earth and one another is of the utmost importance to both Shelly and I.   We feel blessed to have been able to donate thousands of dollars to various local charities and thanks to Worcester Youth and Family, we were also able to adopt local families in need during the holidays.

Looking ahead, this New Year will include a trip to the Food and Wine Festival in Charleston in late February, early March and a trip to Spain.  We are so excited to bring back some new and exciting recipes and wine from those journies.  We’ll be packaging our Gluten Free Cake Mix for sale and adding new apparel to our line up.  We are looking forward to continued collaboration with our neighboring businesses to include new and improved service to our customers and

get "BAKED"!

get “BAKED”!

I, of course, will continue to try to keep up with technology.  There’s so much more to come!

2013 will bring new challenges and triumphs I’m sure, but we are ready for both.  We’ve celebrated so much this year;  non of it possible without the love and support of our family, friends, loyal customers and business community.  Thank you all!  We look forward to serving you and our community and we wish everyone a New Year filled with Peace, Love, Laughter, Great Health and Great Eats!

Buy Local…the Challenge!

Baked's Berlin T-shirt

Buy Locally in Berlin

There is a challenge in our area to go one month purchasing local food and product without buying from sources like chain supermarkets and warehouse stores.  We have accepted this challenge personally and professionally and can attest to the fact that the term “challenge” is appropriate for this project.  The fact is, some things are easier to purchase locally than others.  No matter, the fact is buying local has significant advantages whether you are interested in higher quality ingredients, stimulating the local economy and/or reducing your “carbon footprint”.

It began when Christie McDowell, owner of the Good Farm in Berlin, challenged herself this very same way last Summer. “The goal I set was to buy as direct from the producer as possible and buy nothing with preservatives or any unnecessary additives,” McDowell said. “I found the gaps in local food options, what you can get and where you can get it. I bought some of the healthy options at Ocean City Organics in West Ocean City if farmers’ markets didn’t have something”.  Bryan Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oaks Brewery which is preparing to open it’s doors on August 12th, was inspired by McDowell’s project and has joined forces to expand the challenge.  Brushmiller himself purchases rye, hops and barley from local farmers for use in his handcrafted brew.

Shelly and I have always been committed to purchasing as much locally as possible.  Not because it’s the new “buzz word” for marketing, but because it just simply seems, to us, to be the right thing to do.  When you purchase locally, ingredients are fresher and higher in quality, you stimulate your local economy and because “the goods” are not transported from hundreds of miles away, the “carbon footprint” is reduced which helps Mother Earth.

Owning a business and having to purchase product in bulk poses significant difficulty with some vendors.  Dairy has presented a challenge, although local eggs haven’t been easy to purchase on a bulk scale either. Ironically, several egg producers in the area have committed all of their product to the Whole Foods Corporation. Go figure, the “big boys” who also promote buying locally are preventing the small businesses from doing the same.  Unbleached and unbromated  flour is a whole other story.  On a positive note, fruits, veggies, beef, poultry, seafood, coffee, cheeses, honey, soaps, lotions, crafts, jewelry and of course, all natural DESSERTS, BREADS and BEVERAGES are no problem!

This challenge is raising awareness in our community and identifying the gaps, that together, we can work to fill.  Brushmiller and McDowell want anyone raising food or fishing locally who want to promote their wares to contact them at www.burlyoak.com and at www.wegrowgoodfood.com.

Food and Fine Art…the perfect combination!

Wow, this past month has been a blur.  Now that the remodeling and move is complete, Shelly and I look back and aren’t sure how we managed to meet our goal of reopening on July 1st, but we did.  The overwhelming consensus is that our move to this historic building at 4 C Bay Street and the inclusion of a gallery is a great one and the perfect combination of food and fine art.

Honestly, we hadn’t thought about moving Baked Dessert Cafe and it certainly had not crossed our mind to merge a gallery with our all natural desserts, breads and beverages, but then again, God does work in mysterious ways.  Hours before we learned that our building had been sold, we were told that the gallery space at 4 C Bay Street was available.   When we walked down to see the space, Patrick Henry was working in his gallery and the discussion of expanding and relocating Baked Dessert Cafe began.

Shelly and I have admired Patrick’s work over the years so having it now adorn the walls of our business is simply amazing and breathtaking.  The inclusion of the gallery has also added a new dimension to our business. We’ve had our fans find us and thus familiarize themselves with Patrick’s Fine Art and his fans have visited and, in turn, have become fans of “Baked”. All have commented that it seems to be a perfect pairing of the two and we whole heartedly agree.

In addition to showcasing Patrick’s work, we intend to highlight a local artist each month.  There is so much talent in this little town! The very first person we thought of for July was Debbi Dean-Colley.  An amazing artist, activist and mother, Debbi creates”Mixed Green Jewelry” which utilizes recycled and upcycled materials.  Her creations are simply beautiful and available through the month of July!  Stay tuned for the talent coming in August!

As the gallery and highlighted artist change, our all natural desserts, breads, cheeses and beverages will change too.  Of course, what we call “fan favorites” will always be “BAKED” at “BAKED”, but we will add more “old school” offerings like baked custards, apple dumplings and the like.

We’re also working on a “brown bag” lunch which will be healthy and affordable.  Sodas sweetened with California varietal wine grapes, organic yogurt, smoothies and local cheeses and spreads are already available.  Homemade crackers are also on our “to be conquered” list.  We’ve looking into a liquor license for beer and wine which may bring new meaning to getting “BAKED” at the beach, lol.  Our larger “digs” have afforded us room to included an area designed specifically to promote other local businesses and community events, everything from antiquities to landscape services, Lions Club events to firehouse fundraisers.

This move pushed us “out of the box” or should I say the “bowling alley”.   It has reminded us that change, even when not expected, can be a great thing and hard work and determination do pay off.   Even though, “It’s not all cupcakes and sprinkles”, this little family run business in the historic town of Berlin, continues to be “SWEET”!  So, when you find us and you get “BAKED” at the beach, please enjoy the perfect combination of Food and Fine Art!

Shelly, Patrick and Robin

“Be the change you want to see in the world!”

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and has been celebrated every year on the same date.  Then and now, it’s a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy.  As a result of this movement, the following agency and acts were established and passed…

  • The Environmental Protection Agency was established later in 1970.
  • The tough Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed with only a handful of dissenting votes in both Houses of Congress.
  • The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at “in-plant pollution” was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups.
  • Within the next three years, such landmarks as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed.

Of course, their is still so much to do!  Everyone can make a difference just by simply recycling our waste.  At “BAKED” we use compostable packaging, we recycle paper, plastics, cans, and glass and we compost our kitchen waste.  We are so fortunate to have the help and support of Grow Berlin Green (GBG).  GBG is a three year campaign and collaborative project between Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT), Lower Shore Land Trust (LSLT) and Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) in an effort to make a positive impact on Berlin’s enviroment.

GBG organizes events, educational conferences, contests and  community spruce-up days, just to name of few.  On Saturday, April 16th they will host the 3RD Annual Take Pride in Berlin Clean-Up Day.   According to their website, http://www. growberlingreen.org the day will feature…

many opportunities to help clean and spruce up the ditches, grounds and facilities around the Berlin area, including picking up litter, cleaning recreational equipment and placing storm water decals on designated storm drains around town.  The festivities after will include a chance to sign up for rain barrels, a special Green Box drawing, music from the band Galaxy Collection who will be “Jamming for the Land”, and many other fun activities, crafts, food and give aways.

It’s not too late to register for this event or to get involved, become part of this movement and make positive change! Think about this…

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – gandhi