Dover-Foxcroft bakery among Maine businesses supplying Mills’ Inauguration Celebration
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen owner Natasha Colbry delivered what she believed to be the largest order in the history of her establishment when she dropped off 100 freshly-baked baguettes at the Augusta Civic Center on Thursday. The long, skinny loaves of French bread were destined for Gov. Janet Mills’ Inauguration Celebration on Friday evening.
Colbry’s small business was among those from each of Maine’s 16 counties solicited to provide food or beverages for the event, with Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen representing Piscataquis County. Maine-based musicians were invited to perform.
“They are going to be slicing them and serving them and topping them with something,” Colbry, who owns Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen with her husband Dustin, said Friday morning. The baguettes were to be part of a “Maine Cheese Spread” along with Katahdin Cheddar Cubes, Kennebec Dill Cubes, and other delectables from the State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockport.
“The Civic Center actually called us and Janet had wanted something from each county representing the county,” Colbry said about the invitation to bake for the new governor.
“The Inaugural Celebration is about paying tribute to our great state,” said Gov. Mills in a statement prior to taking office. “What better way to do that than to showcase Maine’s extraordinary musical talent along with food and drink from every county?”
Colbry said she was glad to say yes but a lot of preparation and work went into delivering the order.
“All of our bread is fermented so it always is started at least 12-24 hours in advance of when you are going to be baking it so I think we started mixing the pre-starters for it on Monday and then started baking them Wednesday night,” Colbry said. “Through the whole process they bake for about 10 minutes each and we [can fit] six in the oven, so a lot of minutes.”
Colbry said she delivered all the baguettes in one trip to Augusta. “Luckily we had some bread racks that we were able to stack up in my car,” she said.
“I think that’s the furthest we’ve ever gone,” Colbry said about the drive from Dover-Foxcroft to the capital, in addition to it being the largest order.
“When I was done loading and I was leaving, my old bosses from a restaurant I had worked at in Farmington were there delivering 25 pies,” Colbry said, referring to The Homestead, representing Franklin County and the governor’s hometown, with chocolate cream, apple, and coconut cream pies.
“My husband and I started a farm in 2013 and then we opened the storefront here in May 2016,” Colbry said. “We do a lot of pies but the bread is something we would like to expand upon, however the size of our oven is a limiting factor. Usually in the summertime the bread you can’t keep it on the shelf, people are coming in and wondering when it’s going to come out of the oven.”
“We are going to be applying for a grant with the (Piscataquis County Economic Development Council) for a new bread oven,” Colbry said. She said two years ago the business applied for up to $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant monies for equipment to expand operations, such as a new oven to bake 40-60 loaves of bread at a time rather than a half dozen, but the 2017 application was not approved.
“We did not get it but hopefully through our perseverance and sticking around and everyone wanting our bread and more of it, we will be able to get it this time,” Colbry said.
“As you can imagine putting it in the oven, it’s dough, it’s flopping around, and definitely a challenge with our set-up,” she said.
Colbry said she would not be able to attend the Inauguration Celebration, but appreciated the opportunity to represent her business, hometown, and Piscataquis County.