Vendor Spotlight - Baker By Nature VT
Mattie Hallett was meant to bake. In fact, she’s been baking her entire life! Her father was the chef at the Vermont Studio Center for 23 years and her mother owned the Sweet Crunch bakery and catering company in Hyde Park, VT. When Sweet Crunch moved to Concord, NH a few years ago, according to Mattie, “… that pushed me to bake much more, as I no longer had the luxury of grabbing an eclair or maple cookie whenever I desired.”
Mattie has worked in restaurants and cafes waitressing, as a barista, a chocolate maker, a dishwasher, a baker, a caterer, and a prep cook. She notes, “I’ve really done it all. I went to undergrad for Art History and Creative Writing, and am now in Grad school for my M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. I am a head teacher at Mountain Village School in Stowe for the older infant-toddler classroom, but have been in many of the classrooms, as well as been the baker/chef there for spurts.” She loves children and the outdoors as well as the Mountain Village School because of its passion and pride for composting, growing, sourcing, making, and appreciating good, organic food.
Mattie has a great passion for food sourcing, cooking, hosting, and most of all, baking. Her parents have definitely influenced and guided her style, and her mother led her through running a home bakery in Vermont. “Food is really the language among my households, and nothing makes my family, as well as myself, happier than seeing the smile that good food puts on someone’s face. I’ve always made treats for my neighbors, friends, and co-workers, and that’s who really pushed me to start selling my all natural, locally sourced ingredient-filled pastries, breads, and sweets,” says Mattie.
Mattie’s home bakery consists of extreme organization in a very tiny kitchen. She refuses to buy anything unnatural and has no room for bulk foods such as frozen or dried items so she often makes many trips to local farm stands and co-ops to make sure her ingredients are always as local and fresh as possible. Mattie says, “I handpick the berries that go into my pastries, jams, and pies in the summer straight from the farms, as well as drying herbs I grow myself.
I use King Arthur flour (gluten and gluten free), Cabot butter, Champlain Farms cheese, Gopher Broke eggs, Sweet Rowen milk, and all-natural cane sugar.” The only ingredient (aside from sugar) that Mattie can’t source locally is her chocolate, but she always makes sure to use organic, dark, and high-quality cacao.
Continuing with family tradition after growing up in a home that sought out locally grown food, Mattie cherishes what is in season. She also takes pride in being able to accommodate those who have dietary restrictions, or are Vegan, as she has struggled through her adulthood with gluten and dairy. Mattie adds, “Just because you choose to be vegan, are lactose intolerant, or celiac, doesn’t mean you should miss out on a moist birthday cake, a warm cinnamon roll, or a mouth-watering pie.” According to Mattie, Baker By Nature VT is one of the only bakeries she knows that does just as much regular baked goods as she does gluten free and vegan. “I am willing to accommodate all, and always with local and all natural ingredients. I also use compostable or recyclable materials for all of my packaging (my stickers, boxes, bags, and parchments paper). “Nature” really is key in my name.”
Baker By Nature has been creating sweet treats for almost a year. Right now Mattie does it all by herself. “Even though I teach full time and attend grad school full time, I still somehow find the time and energy to bake; and I wouldn’t trade an extra hour of sleep for it any day!” quips Mattie. You can find Bakerbynature_VT on instagram. Her website is almost ready to publish, but you will have to wait just a bit longer.
Baker By Nature VT hopes to expand its wholesale accounts, as most of the baked goods currently go direct to consumers by delivery. “I am slowly gaining the attention of other local co-ops and markets and hope to find some extra time in my schedule to supply for them.” Currently, Mattie cooks out of her home, which seems to be the way most bakeries start. According to Mattie, “Commercial kitchen equipment is very expensive, and pastries don’t provide much profit in small quantities.”
We asked Mattie if her business has a mission statement, basically what is the reason that her business exists. Her answer was as perfect as her treats: “Yes, my reasoning is actually in my name. Baker by Nature has a double meaning; I am a “baker by nature” because I was raised by a chef and a baker, and I bake with all-natural ingredients. Even though I am primarily a teacher, my passion for nature and high-quality food trumps almost all other passions of mine, and I have many, many passions.”
Baker By Nature VT baked goods are delivered fresh and often still warm every Saturday morning by 9am
From all of us here at MOCO, we are honored to be serving our community during this time and
thank you for supporting your local food coop!