Feels like home…
by Chef Deb Traylor
It’s no accident that the sign on our newly restored historic mill has “Fort Collins, Colorado” proudly displayed over the front door. It’s also no coincidence that we’ve used local coffee roasters, farmers, chefs, food producers and artisans to help fill out the menus at the Café, Bakery and The Cache, as well as the shelves in the Market.
I'm enamored with the talented men and women who put their heart and soul into perfecting their particular craft or business. Each person we’ve made a connection with has added their creativity to the project while reinforcing the fact that Northern Colorado is a special place.
From the beginning, Ginger and I spoke about using Colorado food products and local produce as much as possible. We’ve met with, toured, and spoken to so many small and large farms and vendors over the last two years, I’ve lost count. Each one is unique and special and some have played an integral part in helping us in ways we’ve never imagined.
For most of us, It’s hard to visualize what opening a single restaurant or bakery might entail, let alone two restaurants (our Café and The Cache), plus a bakery, coffee shop/market, teaching kitchen and several other things thrown in for the “fun of it”. Honestly, it’s taken a while to understand the scope and demands of something this complex and unique. As you might imagine, it's taken a good bit of work bringing to life the vision of what originally began as "a little pie shop."
I’ll never forget the weeks Dan, our director of operations, and I began meeting with local and national food distributors. These are the companies that help us source many of the basics we need to run Ginger and Baker. It’s an important partnership that's integral to keeping things running smoothly. We were lucky enough to find a company that would also help us fill in the blanks; coaching, counseling and, at times, holding our hand.
The partner we chose is a company right up the road in Loveland, Food Services of America. In fact, they are so close we took them up on the “you can use our kitchen anytime you need it” offer. While our kitchens were being built, we used their kitchen and equipment so often that our team of chefs and bakers practically moved in. I even jokingly say I left my toothbrush by the sink and my cold brew coffee in the fridge.
While I call them a distributor, they are more than that. They provided a friendly place where we could create, test and sample our menu ideas. They’ve helped us reach out to local farms and vendors to implement programs that would not only help us, but help other small businesses as well. We're proud of these partnerships. Simply stated, they’ve created a place where we felt at home.
Recently, I had the privilege of listening to a talk about belonging and that each of us wants, even needs, to belong to something. I think we can all identify to this need. It’s with this thought that I return to the Fort Collins sign above our front door. We not only want to belong to the community of Northern Colorado, we want all of you to feel like you have a place to go, someplace entirely comfortable, where you can belong and when you think about it… it feels like home.