The summer before my junior year abroad, I applied for an externship in Maine with the Lancaster Baking Company. The business was formed by a K College alumna named Debra Marsteller, and she has continued the company with the help of her husband, son, and various externs from K. Every summer, Debra bakes a wide range of desserts and brings them to the local farmer’s market every week to sell. She makes scones, sticky buns, brookies (a cookie baked inside of a brownie—and yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds!), and lemon tea bread. She sells coffee at her stand as well.
As her extern, I learned a lot about both baking and running your own business. In order to be a vendor at the farmer’s market, she had to apply and have her kitchen inspected. Then she had to develop her recipes, manage ordering ingredients and keep supplies stocked, and keep track of finances. It’s a lot of work to have your own business, especially when you are doing the majority of the work yourself. Over the years, Debra has become skilled in managing all of the various aspects of her baking company, and it was a great experience to learn first-hand how all of that worked.
Every week, we would bake from Thursday to early Saturday morning. We would package all of the baked goods and transport them to the farmer’s market, which ran most of the day Saturday. I helped Debra sell the goods, keep supplies such as coffee cups stocked, and work the cash box. It was really fun to see the community come together and interact with the different vendors. Everyone had such a wide range of skills, from artisan breads and cheeses to hand-woven purses. This introduced me to another aspect of the business world as well—one that involves meeting new people, building a network of customers, and supporting other business owners.
It was such a positive experience to be able to stay with a K alumna and learn about their business. I was able to engage in one of my passions, baking, and to get to know a really kind and interesting person in the process. I was also introduced to the brookie, which remains one of my all-time my favorite desserts to this day.
Natalie Martell- K’16