Tom and Sandi Smith met while attending college while pursuing degrees in Agricultural Sciences. 19 years of marriage and 4 children later, they have become an inspiration for those with an entrepreneurial spirit in the culinary field. Four years ago, Sandi was a stay at home mom tasked with home schooling her children. She decided that baking bread would be a good way to make extra grocery money so on Fridays, after Sandi and her children finished lessons for the day, she would tell the children to clear the table and baking would begin. With her children by her side helping her mix and roll dough, Sandi’s Breads was born. Sandi realized early on that she could increase the nutritional content and freshness of her bread by milling her own flour.
In 2008 Sandi moved the business to the Farmstead Farmer’s market in Palmyra, PA where her husband soon joined her as a full time employee. At the front of their stand, nestled in the corner of Building 2 of the market, is a beautiful antique case that is over 100 years old. This case proudly displays the variety of breads, cookies, muffins, sticky buns, and homemade granola bars, all made from freshly milled flour, all made entirely from scratch that they offer to an eager public. Their products are gaining notoriety, and have customers travelling from as far away as Carlisle, PA (over 35 miles away) to get a taste of Sandi’s wares.
In March 2010, while attending the ACF national conference in Hershey, PA, Sandi met Chefs Chad Durkin, Maria and Scott Campbell and invited them to her shop to discuss bread making techniques. In observing Sandi and Tom it is apparent that they are not just making a living, they are passionate about their pursuit to bring healthful and flavorful products to market. During the visit they demonstrated how their mill works to produce some of the most incredible flour I have ever seen. Because the flour is not of the same consistency as mass produced, commercially available flour, Sandi has had to manipulate standard formulas to get the desired results from her products- and the extra effort is evident in the products she offers. While Sandi and Chef Durkin discussed formulas and technique, Tom, smiling over the latest batch of dough to come out of the stand mixer, told Chef Campbell and me about their journey from dairy farmers to bakers. The Smiths’ youngest daughter, now 12, constantly asks mom to come along to the bakery, even though it means being in the shop by 5am. They were eager to share their story and have us sample their products, telling us a bit of history on how each product was developed. My personal favorite was the tomato herb ciabatta they developed for a wholesale customer. This bread was aromatic and flavorful with a texture that was perfect- oh, did I mention it was made with whole grains?
Sandi and Tom are continually trying new flavors and techniques- seasonal spiced apricot bread, pita with Greek spices and sour cream, and traditional favorites like Easter braids are all within their repertoire. They also make muffins, cookies, and heavenly sticky buns. If granola bars are more your speed, their Grabanola bars, also made from scratch using whole grains, are the perfect combination of chewy fruit and hearty grains. Their website encourages customers to suggest flavor combinations. At this time most of their business is for retail sale at the Farmer’s Market, but they are looking to expand their wholesale side of their business, recently partnering with the Giant Stadium at Hershey. In this age of “bigger is better” and mass marketing, it is refreshing to see a family run business thriving.
Open Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p. m.
Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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