Racing for the Cure….

Today, Komen Race for the Cure came to Ocean City, Maryland.  Despite the wind and driving rain, more than 2,000 men, women, children, babies, people of all races, shapes and sizes, ran/walked/strolled the race to help find a cure for breast cancer.  Did you know that the Eastern Shore of Maryland has some of the highest incident and mortality rates?

Myself and Suzie Taylor of Ayer’s Creek Adventures volunteered several months ago to help with operations and recruitment of sponsorships and teams.   Unfortunately, sponsorship opportunities are not very affordable for most small businesses so, in Berlin, we decided that joining forces was the way to go.  We organized sponsorship “Historic Berlin, Maryland” which included 14 local businesses, everything from coffee and thrift shops, to bakeries and hotels, restaurants, B&B’s and spa services.  This was a huge success!  Together, we supported a great cause and hosting a table in the race village allowed us to introduce our town to hundreds of people who didn’t even know that Historic Berlin, Maryland existed.

This event is personal to both Suzie and myself.  My mother, thank God, is a breast cancer survivor thanks to regular breast exams, early detection and access to great health care.  Suzie’s mother, Joann and her Aunt sadly lost their battle with this disease.  It doesn’t get more personal than that.  As a matter of fact, it seemed very personal to everyone in attendance.  If not, I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t all have rolled over this morning and hit the snooze button instead of  crawling out of bed and weathering the coastal storm that, today, decided to target the East Coast.  I know we need the rain!

I have “raced for the cure” before in D.C. and get very emotional when the “Survivors Parade of Pink” starts.  Today was no exception.  I can’t help but marvel at the courage and strength of the women and men presented and of course, those souls and their families who lost the battle before the cure was found.  Personally, I would love to know how much money is spent each year on determining the various causes of breast cancer.  When my mother was 50, she didn’t know one person with breast cancer.  I just turned 50 and I know handfuls of friends and family with this disease.  Why, exactly, are some areas experiencing higher incident and mortality rate?  I could go on and on.

Suzie’s sister Shelly and I ran together.  We were perfectly matched for our pace.  For the first leg, down the boardwalk, the wind was hitting us head on and then we rounded the corner both figuratively and literally.  There were lots of supporters along the way, standing and cheering us on.  This made me think about what this world would be like if we all had people in our lives acting as personal motivators cheering “You can do it”, “Great job”, “Way to go” .  We were passed by some who made it look easy, but there were also people behind us who scratched their way to the finish line,  everyone proud that they completed the course.

The "cutest team" award!In all it was an exceptional day!  I realize that there is often some controversy with organizations such as Komen, but if you only focus on that you’ve missed the point in my opinion.  In addition to raising money to help find a cure, races such as this one, allow for a community of people to come together as one family.  Being amongst that crowd, knowing that we all support the same cause, running/walking for or in memory of a loved one was, for me, both uplifting and spiritual.  I know that I was not the only one who felt that.  To me it reinforces the fact that we’re never alone if we care enough to reach out to one another, we need to live in this moment and spend time with the people we love.  Most importantly, I know that, like today’s race, when people come together great things are possible!

Advertisements

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