Organic bakery serves up local flavor
DILLON You wont find any stylish furniture or trendy espresso machines at Hungry Mother Foods in downtown Dillon. Theres no WiFi available, either, or the latest cool CDs on sale.To a consumer increasingly accustomed to the predictability of nationwide chains, the modest organic bakery and caf seems like a throwback to some distant past when food wasnt mass-processed thousands of miles away.Located in the old Rebekah Lodge building behind the Lake Dillon Conoco on Lake Dillon Drive, bakers and co-owners Julie Bloomingdale, 47, and longtime local Don Glendenning, 46, rely on something other than expensive marketing and slick advertising to keep their business afloat.When your stuff is good, its easy, Bloomingdale said.Bloomingdale and Glendenning bought the decades-old wholesale organic bakery business about five years ago. At the time, its accounts had dwindled to only one, and its original owner was looking to sell.We overheard her talking about selling it to someone else, Glendenning said. The idea of running a healthy bakery really caught their attention, he added.Since then, the pair has expanded Hungry Mothers wholesale accounts, moved to Dillon from Silverthorne, begun offering an assortment of other gourmet food items, and opened its doors for retail, fresh sandwiches, and conversation.
Emphasis on both organic and local ingredientsDespite its expanded line of products, baking remains the focus of the business. During the winter, Glendenning an experienced chef who, among other jobs, was once the donut-maker at Daylight Donuts in Breckenridge usually bakes twice a week in the massive oven formerly owned by Molly McDuffs Bakery in Alma. The couple transports the bread fresh to City Markets in Summit County and to the west, as well as to local outlets Food Kingdom and Alpine Market.Although the prepared bread itself has not yet been officially certified organic, its ingredients are both organic and as local as possible, Bloomingdale emphasized.All our flour is Colorado-grown and milled in Platteville near Greeley, she said. Were also members of Colorado Proud. Whenever possible, she added, they use local produce.I was brought up in a very small town, the former professional chef said. We always ate fresh things, and supported the community.In addition to the bread, Bloomingdale bakes a variety of organic sweets, including brownies, carrot cake, cookies, and blondies. The business diversifiesAs the only organic bread bakery on the Western Slope, summer season farmers markets keep the two-person operation busy.Sometimes we bake 20 to 22 days straight 18-hour days, Glendenning said.Partly in response to slower business in winter and mud season, and because of their new location in Dillon, they came up with the idea of serving carry-out lunch sandwiches and setting up a lounge area.This area in Dillon doesnt really have a place to get an affordable healthy lunch and espresso coffee, Glendenning said. Theyve been open for about three weeks, and business is starting to pick up, he added.Adjacent to the take-out counter, the pair has organized a decidedly non-corporate-looking lounge, complete with bench seats from old vans, an aging television with an assortment of videos, stacks of books and magazines, a coffee maker, and several musical instruments. The caf space is still in its infancy, Glendenning emphasized. A musician himself admittedly partial to folk music Glendenning envisions a gathering place and available open mike for all types of musicians. So far, the caf has hosted a casual open house to mark the end of Earth Week, and plans are in the pipeline for a grand opening sometime this summer.A quietly historic buildingLocated behind the gas station and the Lake Dillon Theatre, the two-story wooden building is easy to overlook. Because the furnishings inside are modest, and theres no brass plaque next to the front door explaining its origins, the casual visitor might never notice the Hungry Mother is housed in one of Dillons oldest structures.Its a very, very historic building, said local historian Mary Ellen Gilliland.According to Gilliland, it was built in Frisco around 1882, and first used as a theater: the Graff Opera House. Moved to old Dillon in 1887, it housed various businesses before moving with the rest of the town in 1960 to its present location.For the majority of the years since its most recent move, D & L Printing occupied the first floor, while the Rebekah Lodge operated out of the upstairs. In 2006, Wyoming radio mogul Vic Michael bought the building. A radio station now occupies the second floor above the bakery.Glendenning has salvaged several items left behind by previous tenants, including receipts and letters from Oddfellows lodge members dating back to the early 1900s. The spidery handwriting and quaint syntax are reminders of a Summit County long before the advent of corporate restaurant chains or big box retail.For more information about Hungry Mother foods, call (970) 262-5929.Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-4651, or at email@example.com.
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