I was raised on a dairy farm in a tight Mennonite community south of Lancaster City, in a town called New Danville. My sister Christine and I grew up in the same brick farmhouse my father and his siblings were born and reared in. Besides the usual farm chores like feeding the calves and baling hay, I was able to find time to spend in my mother’s kitchen, baking cookies from old family recipes and occasionally trying new ones. It was my Grandma Mabel Hess who taught me to make a pie crust and other family favorites. All of her recipes were in her head; when we made chicken pot pie it would be “a handful of this and two pinches of that!”
I remember the first time we served my blueberry pie at the Hess family Thanksgiving dinner. My cousin’s fiancé offered to invest in a blueberry pie business if I ever decided to start one.
After finishing college I eventually moved home with little idea of what career I wanted to pursue. Pieces didn’t take long to fit together when I found a bakery to rent and decided to bid on a stand at Lancaster Central Market. I love the idea that I sell my goods where both my grandmothers and my mother worked years ago.
Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest publicly owned, continuously operated market. It is home to roughly 70 independent standholders selling fresh meats and cheeses, a host of local produce, breads, pastries and ready-to-eat meals. The beauty of central market is in the relationships built between the small business people and the community that they serve. Walk the aisles and one will take note of many animated conversations taking place across countertops while baskets perched on shoppers shoulders fill to capacity with good things.
At Wendy Jo’s we use local, quality ingredients including Wilbur chocolate from Lititz, PA, whole milk without added BST hormones from Pine View Acres Dairy in Lancaster, PA, and apples from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA.
I am fortunate to now work out of my own bakery, located in beautiful downtown Lancaster.
Come visit us at Central Market, open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. We look forward to seeing you soon!