Updated July 24
Masters of all things buttery, flaky, sweet, and savory — the bakers of Martha’s Vineyard pride themselves on an exceptional product. The Local spoke with a number of them to see what creative confections they are crafting, and what it’s like working on the Vineyard.
Sweet Bites, Vineyard Haven
Tell me a little about how you got into baking.
We have always been baking, but the bakery started three years ago. We used to have a restaurant, and we started to make dessert for people in our restaurant. People said they want more, they couldn’t get enough of the sweets. So we decided to create more supply to meet the demand. In the beginning it was just me baking, but then we hired others to help out.
What type of goodies do you have here, and what’s your favorite to make?
We have lots of different things. We have some traditional Brazilian desserts, like handmade chocolate cakes and brigadeiro [made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and sprinkles covering the outside layer]. We also make lots of cheese bread, potato buns, ham and cheese puff pasties, and quiche.
What are some goals for the future?
We want to expand the store, and maybe the menu. We want to have more space for people to eat in the restaurant. We are hoping to open up the outside area, above the patio, as an upstairs where people can go to eat.
Scottish Bakehouse, Vineyard Haven
What are some of your favorite things about baking here?
Well, we get to use mostly local ingredients sourced from nearby farms, so it’s really fun to experiment and see what works best for different recipes. Local produce is the best here on Martha’s Vineyard, so it does a lot for the final product. Aside from that, just the environment itself is really fun. All of us are back in the kitchen during the day, and it’s almost like our own little world. We are all friends and love to mess around, but are also passionate about what we do.
How about some of your favorite things to make?
I really love to make savory baked goods like garlic scones, savory tarts, and croissants. Then again, there is nothing like a good old chocolate chip cookie, which I think we do pretty well. We have a Goodness Bar, which is kind of like our own granola bar — we sell so many of those.
What do you like about being a baker?
I have pretty much been baking my whole life. My mom was a baker, so I guess she just passed it down to me. I love being able to experiment and create. It’s an art.
Tara Reynolds (Kitchen manager)
Rosewater Market, Edgartown
What do you enjoy about working at Rosewater?
The coolest thing is that we do a little bit of everything at Rosewater. No one is just a baker or just a prep cook; we all do lots of multitasking throughout the day. I love that this market is a year-round business. Everyone here is really passionate about the food, and is just really fun to work with. Also, everyone who works here is really proud of giving the best food to our customers.
How long have you worked here, and what is your favorite time of year?
I have worked here for four years, and I have to say it is different every year. I really enjoy the wintertime because we get to experiment and create new stuff more in our kitchen, because we have a lot more free time. I also like the summer, though, because it is exciting and just a lot of fun to be working.
*Nicole Baxter is the baker at Rosewater Market.
Tiny Baker, Cardboard Box, Oyster Bar 02557, Oak Bluffs
How did you first start baking?
I guess I have always been baking, ever since I was a little kid. When all the other kids were making mud pies outside, I was making actual pies. But after high school was when I really started getting into it and experimenting with different recipes.
What is your favorite thing about baking?
I have always liked experimenting; I’ve never been one to strictly follow a recipe. Sometimes I just throw some stuff together that seems like it would be good — it’s so much fun. It really is the whimsy of baking. I am always looking for my next inspiration.
How about your least favorite thing about baking?
I like my kitchen to be a certain way, so when things get put out of place, it sometimes throws me off. I also like trying new stuff, so when the work gets monotonous, it can be difficult. But aside from experimenting, I always try to stay consistent if I find something that works.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Sometimes it comes to me in a dream. Other times I see something or try something that sparks my interest. There are so many different influences, and I always try to build off what I already know. Right now, I am making lemon cake and baked Alaska [ice cream cake topped with browned meringue] for the Oyster Bar, and working on some more gluten-free options. I just like to get weird with it. One time I even made an edible menu with edible paper and ink.
This story was updated to correct Tara Reynold’s position at Rosewater Market.