We announced that we were relocating our bakery business from Meadville to Andover and one of the comments we received was, 'why would you move your business from a town of 23,000 to a town of 2,300?'
It was a very good question!
And it has several very good answers. The first being our cost of living.
In Andover, we own our home and we own our storefront. Taxes are extremely low and we don't have to pay for things like parking our cars.
But the other aspect is that even though there are only 2,300 people living in Andover, there are 4,500,000 tourists that come here every year.
The Pymatuning Chamber of Commerce encompasses all the little towns around Pymatuning Lake and has a great network of promotional opportunities for small businesses.
The Ashtabula Visitors Bureau is an amazing resource that advertises this entire region. And the support among the locals for their small businesses is wonderful.
And then there is the lake itself. We played on this lake. We ate at these restaurants. We visited the wineries and breweries. We fell in love with this area.
That's why we chose Andover.
Everyone has stories to tell about their younger selves. About parents, grandparents, or Aunts and Uncles baking the most amazing treats. I am no different.
My mother was born in 1910 and grew up in a time when being a housewife really was being a Domestic Engineer.
She grew up in a house where they Washed on Monday, Ironed on Tuesday, Mended on Wednesday, Churned on Thursday, Cleaned on Friday, Baked on Saturday, and Rested on Sunday.
She kept that schedule for most of her life. All except the churning. That was the day we shopped.
Saturday was the best day of the whole week, in my book!
From the time we got up in the morning until well after dinner, we baked. Bread, pies, cookies, cakes, sweet rolls, and so much more. And when the holiday came around we baked during the week.
A lot of my mother's recipes can be found at Bakery On The Square but they have been adapted and improved by Amanda's pastry talents.
In the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology, Michael Gaenzle wrote: "The origins of bread-making are so ancient that everything said about them must be pure speculation. One of the oldest sourdough breads dates from 3700 BCE and was excavated in Switzerland, but the origin of sourdough fermentation likely relates to the origin of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent several thousand years earlier.
Bread production relied on the use of sourdough as a leavening agent for most of human history.
French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush, and it remains a part of the culture of San Francisco today.
One of those bakers ended up in Cripple Creek Colorado.
We are lucky enough to have a sourdough starter from that period in history.
It was given to us by a professor at Allegheny College, who is writing a paper on the lineage of this Cripple Creek Sourdough.
Part-time cowboy and full-time drunker Bob Womack found gold floating in Cripple Creek in 1879, which led him to dig countless prospecting holes in an attempt to find its load, earning him the name "Crazy Bob". His efforts finally paid off in 1890, when he found the El Paso lode. By 1893, 10,000 miners were working the claim.
That's a lot of mouths to feed!
This is where our sourdough story begins. Professor Eric Pallant has researched and has documentation for 'our' Cripple Creek sourdough, dating back to 1893.
From Cripple Creek to Pymatuning Lake, from digging for gold nuggets to fishing for yellow perch, the history of this sourdough lives on.