As people become more connected digitally – and (or possibly as a result) feel there’s less time in the day than there once was – the subscription-box model is flourishing. With delivery of everything from curated beauty products, stylish clothing, wine, craft kits for children and pop culture gadgets, there is a regular ordering and delivery service for every audience. Foodies in particular can access subscription services through companies such as Blue Apron or through CSA shares which provide vegetables and herbs from local farms.
One of the latest entries into the world of such local services is Sow Good Bakery’s weekly ordering model. The business is the brainchild of Tess Beatrice, who grew up on an organic farm in Saugerties.
After struggling with her own health concerns, she said she was led to “analyze and evaluate the food I was eating, in order to repair and revitalize my own body.” The experience, while difficult, proved her awakening. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been encouraged to commit to this journey of my own health and well-being, and to commit to helping others on theirs,” she explained. “That is the inspiration behind my recipes and my creations. I want to help others feel their best and nurtured and strengthened by their food, as if it were medicine.”
What makes her ordering service different is, first and foremost, the products themselves. Beatrice creates unique combinations using ingredients patrons may never have tasted or even heard of before, such as red clover and spirulina. A certified nutritionist, Beatrice said she chooses ingredients with properties that promote health and wellbeing. Every ingredient, many of which are grown on her family’s farm, serves a purpose, she said. “When I use oil, I don’t use any oil for the purpose of moisture and fat. I use, for instance, coconut oil for its health-promoting properties. When I use sweetener, I don’t use any sweetener just to make my products sweet and palatable, I use raw honey, coconut sugar, medjool dates or maple syrup for their vitamins and minerals and for the nutrition they provide.”
Though using healthier and sometimes unusual ingredients, Beatrice is indeed making desserts: cookies, cupcakes, brownies. She said she manipulates the ingredients “just enough for them to satisfy a craving, while still being full of cleansing, detoxifying and mood-boosting properties.” It’s medicine, she said, but enjoyable and pleasurable to eat.
Sometimes, her customers are reluctant to try the unique combinations. She recently made a nettle and lemon balm truffle with dandelion flowers. “This is a product that does sometimes frighten customers,” she conceded, “as they think it will taste like a bitter juice shot.”
The truffles, along with several different selections such as strawberry rhubarb brown butter blondies with chickweed flowers and green tea cakes with lime butter cream, were available for customers to order in the first week of her new weekly ordering service.
The model doesn’t require a weekly or seasonal commitment. Instead, customers can go to the Sow Good Bakery website or Facebook page between Friday and Sunday each week, and order from the weekly menu in whatever combination desired. Customers can order a dozen blondies and five truffles, for instance, one week, and then make a completely different order the next week, or simply order once during the season. There is no obligation to order on a regular basis.
Deliveries can be picked up on Thursday evenings at the Big Lots parking lot in Saugerties. “It is almost like a pop-up bakery,” Beatrice said.
After five years delivering to various local farmer’s markets, Beatrice says this year she committed to being at the weekly Woodstock Farm Festival. With the recent increase in health consciousness as well as the prevalence of allergies and food sensitivities, she said her customers “are delighted when they realize they can have pretty much anything” she makes, as it is all gluten-free and refined-sugar-free.
Beatrice doesn’t know whether she will continue the service in future seasons. She does, though, envision one day having a Sow Good Bakery shop, a real physical place where people can always find her. “In my vision, it would be a healing community space, with a wall of jarred herbs for tea, a case full of products with labels like ‘anti-inflammatory’ or ‘stress-reducing,’ and ‘a lot of compassion.’ ” In the meantime, customers can get their fill of her “tasty medicine” by ordering from the weekly menu at http://sowgoodbakery.com/weekly-ordering/.