Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Directions

The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for us here at Sunberry Baking Company. The response to our products, and our mission to share and educate about veganism, has been truly wonderful. Who knew there would be so much interest in and support of compassionate baking? Well, there has been, and we have been racing to keep up…

Starting in April, however, Sunberry Baking Company will be taking a new direction. Due to an eerily synchronous combination of factors, we will be stopping our wholesale deliveries after March 29th (which means you will probably still find our items at our wholesale locations for a few days after). In addition, our last day at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market will be March 30th.

While we are sad about this decision, we are even more excited about the new direction we are taking. We hope you will stay right there with us, too–in several different ways!

Going forward, you can still get Sunberry Baking Company’s 100% vegan treats via special order. Whether you love our scones, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, or muffins–or all of those and more–or whether you need some delicious vegan treats for a birthday, party, gathering, meeting, or to treat yourself, you can contact us three days in advance to place an order, and we will coordinate a pickup time and location (in either Harrisonburg or Staunton). Be sure to look over our Product listings and the Ingredients and Prices page to check out your options (including minimum order sizes)…and all the love that goes into them.

Do you love Sunberry so much that you KNOW you want a regular supply? Sign up for our new Community Supported Baking (CSB). Much like community supported agriculture (CSA), our CSB allows you to take out a “share” or subscription at a set amount per week. Subscriptions are available for either $10 or $20 per week, and we provide you with a selection of Sunberry vegan treats for pickup at a regular location. Once we get enough subscribers, the CSB will begin! With your share, you can expect combinations like:

  • $10: 4 cookies, 2 muffins, 1 cupcake
  • $10: 2 scones, 2 brownies, 1 muesli bar
  • $20: 4 scones, 4 cookies, 4 muffins, and 1 brownie
  • $20: 4 cupcakes, 2 scones, 2 brownies, 2 cookies
  • “Tea Time”: perfect for a tea party or just your own afternoon tea time: 8 mini-scones and 9 shortbread cookies
  • “Chocoholic”: a variety of chocolate items, such as 4 brownies, 2 cherry chocolate scones, 4 chocolate stout muffins, 4 chocofluffer cookies
  • Gluten-free: a selection of our gluten-free items

Be sure to tell us any preferences or allergies you have, and then get ready for a weekly fix of vegan deliciousness! Contact us if you have any questions, for details about payment, or to sign up!

The last part of our shifting of direction is pop-up sales events around Harrisonburg and Staunton. We will be “popping up” with our vegan treats for sale in various stores and other spots, including some places on a regular monthly basis. We will announce pop-ups on our Schedule page, on our Blog, and via e-mail updates. Please contact us ahead of time if you know you want to pickup some items, so we be sure to bring them and set them aside for you.

Between special orders, the CSB, and pop-ups, you have plenty of options to keep our vegan treats in your life. In fact, you might be able to “share the love” even more!

Speaking of sharing the love, we are eager to focus much more on vegan outreach and education, which are central to Sunberry Baking Company’s mission. We are planning to do more classes, like our Vegan Cooking 101 class that happened on March 26th, to organize more vegan meetups and other events (like Vegan Night Out in September), and to continue sharing recipes and other information in order to help anyone and everyone go vegan! We even can do one-on-one vegan cooking and baking education in your home, to your church or community group, or to your friends and family. Just get in touch to find out more!

We send our sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped Sunberry Baking Company so far. We are looking forward to even more great conversations over some yummy vegan treats.

– Justin & Rosemary

Advertisements

Vegan Recipe Shares: Vegan Cooking 101

We offered our first vegan cooking class last night (Tuesday, March 26th) at Friendly City Food Co-op. Twelve people turned out to watch us whip up a few delectable vegan dishes, ask questions, and of course eat!

As a company with a mission, Sunberry Baking Company is always pleased to share information, resources, and motivation with people to help them feel empowered to go vegan. Our cooking class was just one way to do this, and we plan to have many more in the future.

We chose a few recipes that would be amenable to almost any omnivore. Indeed, we make these for omnivorous friends and family often, with quite good reviews. Whether you are vegan, going vegan, or just interested in eating more plant-based foods, these recipes will surely be a big hit with the whole family.

Seitan BBQ
Seitan is vital wheat gluten and can be used like tofu as a meat substitute. Note that it is made from wheat and is very high in gluten, so people with a gluten allergy/sensitivity should choose tofu or tempeh instead.

Ingredients:
1 lb. seitan
1 red onion, sliced (optional)
1-2 cups vegan barbeque sauce (Annie’s makes the vegan sauce we will be using today)
Peanut oil
Vegan sandwich rolls (such as Ezekiel)

Directions:
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and brush generously with peanut oil. Place a layer of sliced seitan on the grill, brush with more peanut oil, and grill on each side for about 3 minutes until browned and sizzling. Use metal tongs or a fork to turn the seitan. Grill in two batches.

When cooked, toss the seitan in the barbeque sauce.  Brush the grill with a little extra peanut oil and grill the sauce-covered seitan in two batches, turning strips once. You can add red onions to the mix at this time, letting them cook down. The strips should be slightly browned and some of the edges just beginning to crisp when it’s ready to remove from the pan.

Place on sandwich roll, with optional Creamy Vegan Coleslaw (below), and serve.

Creamy Vegan Coleslaw
From 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson.

Ingredients:
1 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
¾ cup vegan mayonnaise (we are using Vegenaise today, but you can also make your own!)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and carrot and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the vegan mayonnaise, soy milk, vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seeds, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix until smooth and well blended. Add the dressing to the slaw and mix well to combine. Taste, adjusting seasonings if necessary, and serve.

Macaroni and Cashew Cheese
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups raw cashews (You can put them in the refrigerator so that they will grind more easily without becoming cashew butter)
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder,
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups non-dairy milk (today we will use soy, but coconut or almond would also work well in this recipe; make sure to get unsweetened!)
3 tablespoons thickener (cornstarch or arrowroot powder)
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup light miso paste
Juice of one lemon
16 oz. pasta (we prefer fusilli; depending on how saucy you want your pasta, you can use more noodles)
2 teaspoons truffle oil (optional)
¾ cup crumbled vegan crackers or breadcrumbs (if baking; we like Back to Nature Classic Rounds)

Directions:
Place cashews in a large food processor and finely grind. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and pulse to blend. In a heavy saucepan add the non-dairy milk, oil, and arrowroot.

Bring to a simmer over high heat. Be very careful not to let it boil over! Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about ten minutes.

With the food processor running, gradually add the milk-oil mixture to the cashew mixture. Blend for about two minutes, scraping down the sides after a minute.

Next, blend in the miso and the lemon juice. Combine the cashew cheese with the macaroni, drizzle optional truffle oil, mix and serve.

If you want to bake it, preheat the oven to 325 before you add the milk mixture to the cashew mixture. Transfer the blended cheese and macaroni to a casserole dish. You can add crumbled crackers or bread crumbs to the top, if you like. Bake for twenty minutes or until the crumb topping is golden. Serve hot.

Banana Berry Ice Cream
This recipe makes a lot, so if you’re making it for fewer people, or just for yourself, you may want to reduce the number of bananas and quantities of other ingredients. Additionally, you can make this ice cream in as many ways as you can imagine! Pick your favorite fruit, add a nut of your choice, sprinkle coconut or vegan chocolate chips on top. We’ve never made a batch of this we didn’t like.

Ingredients:
5-6 bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen solid (we keep a steady supply of them in our freezer)
½ cup walnuts (can be soaked and drained for a creamier texture)
½-1 cup frozen berries
¼ cup soy milk (more or less, depending on desired texture)
Shredded coconut for sprinkling

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until creamy, adding soy milk in spoonfuls to reach desired creaminess. Scrape down with a spatula as needed.

For extra sweetness, use a little agave or maple syrup instead of soy milk.

Store any leftover ice cream in a covered container in the freezer.

Order from Chaos

I was in the middle of a million things when the phone rang. (It only and always rings when I am in the middle of a million things.)

“Are you all the vegan bakery,” a man’s voice asks with a heavy country accent.

Since we are, I answer in the affirmative. The caller then explains that his daughter’s birthday was the next day, and she had seen a television story about Sunberry Baking Company on WHSV, the local TV station. She wanted a vegan birthday cake, and her father–who had never heard the word “vegan” before–was on a mission to oblige.

Though riddled with fears that this was all a hoax, I worked out an arrangement for a half-dozen cupcakes. After all, when someone calls you needing a vegan birthday treat for his daughter,  you do what you can to make it happen.

So, after a few more phone calls to figure out what the birthday girl liked, we settled on Double Chocolate Cupcakes. Which surely reaffirms a life lesson: when in doubt,  go with chocolate…

I dropped the cupcakes off to him the next day in Staunton (where I work), glad both to give his daughter the vegan birthday treat what she wanted, and to find that it was all legit.

Although we do request at least three days advance notice, Sunberry Baking Company is happy to take special orders for any of our products! If you have a favorite item you have tried at the Farmers Market or a store around town and want more, or if you have a special event that calls for delicious treats that are filled with as much compassion as flavor, or if you see something that you are eager to try but have not yet been able to, then contact us to order a batch!

Interested? Look over our entire product listing and prices, then contact us through our contact/order page. And, as always, contact us with any questions you might have as well!

Happy Birthday, Vegan

What better way for a vegan to celebrate his 34th birthday (which is a week after his 14th vegan anniversary) than with a creative birthday cake?

That is just what I came home to today after a long, uneventful (thankfully) (birth) day at work: Apricot Lemon Spice Cake with Cardamom Maple Icing,

Apricot Lemon Spice Cake

Apricot Lemon Spice Cake

The decorations you see on top are lavender flowers, rose petals, saffron, and chopped walnuts.

Apricot Lemon Spice Cake

Apricot Lemon Spice Cake

Apricot Lemon Spice Cake

Rosemary made this delicious cake just in time for me to munch on when I walked in the door. YUM!

You want to SHARE???

You want to SHARE???

Now that you all know my birthday…I do not have to kill you, but I permit you to forget before next March 13th.

Happy birthday, vegan.

Vegan for All!

We at Sunberry Baking Company are driven to bring high-quality vegan food and education to our community–everyone in our community.

We are thrilled to offer our vegan treats, made with love, at three local food venues that all accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP is the successor to food stamps, the program that helps people of low income, who are unemployed, are disabled, or have other economic hardships to buy food.

SNAP, like many other social programs, has its kinks. But as someone who relied on food stamps (as well as free-lunch programs) throughout most of my childhood, I can speak to the important role these programs play for people who, for one reason or another, are struggling to care for themselves and their families.

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market, Friendly City Food Co-op, and The Store (Nu-Beginning Farm/Grains of Sense) all accept SNAP benefits, giving more of our neighbors more opportunities to buy fresh local food.

We are excited that our Sunberry Baking Company products can be 100% vegan and contain the finest organic and fair-trade ingredients without being outrageously expensive. Indeed, we strive to keep our prices competitive, precisely because we want more people to have access to vegan food and vegan education.

John Matheny of Nu-Beginning Farm chatted with me in The Store about how excited some of his SNAP customers are when they shop there. And how excited he is to have them. For him, SNAP is nothing to be ashamed of: he welcomes his SNAP customers with a special twinkle in his eye.

We believe that truly good, ethical, delicious food should not be a privilege of the affluent. We want everyone to be able to afford our vegan treats, along with other plant-based foods that are good for all, and to be able to feel truly good about what they are eating–and then make fresh vegan fare in their own home, too!

Thanks to Harrisonburg Farmers Market, Friendly City Food Co-op, and The Store for accepting SNAP, and helping us reach even more people with our message…and our treats!

Vegan Recipe Shares: Muesli Bars

Muesli Bars

Muesli Bars

There are some folks out there who like more wholesome baked goods (and I am one of them), and this recipe is perfect for a healthier alternative to sweet granola bars or oatmeal cookies. It uses whole-wheat flour, which you can easily replace with a gluten-free flour blend of your choice (and you can find certified gluten-free oats online).

These satisfying little bars are a handy snack on the go or something to nibble on with your morning tea, coffee, or juice.

Muesli Bars
– Makes 12 bars.
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 ¼ cups rolled oats
¾ cup sunflower seeds
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup flax meal
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup soy milk
½ cup grated apple
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, flax meal, baking soda, and cinnamon. Form a well in the center and add the maple syrup, soy milk, grated apple, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Fold in the seeds, walnuts, and dried fruit. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly with a large spoon or spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly brown and firm. Allow to cool and then cut into bars.

Storytelling

We hear a lot of personal stories from customers while we stand at our booth at the Farmers Market every Saturday, or do meet & greets and product samplings, or teach classes on vegan shopping and other topics, or exchange messages with people interested in our vegan products.

Often times, people find their way to us because of one food allergy or another–or a multitude of them. One person we met last year at a product sampling was so excited because, as she explained, she recently found out she was allergic to dairy and eggs, and possibly wheat. Another person exclaimed her relief at finding vegan bakers in town; as a college student and a vegan, she had been struggling to find all the things she wanted locally.

Sometimes we have extended conversations with people–for example, discussing the tricks to a really good loaf of gluten-free bread. More often, though, our exchanges are brief, and we get in that quick interaction a glimpse of their personal stories and what motivated them to buy one of our treats: sometimes ethics, sometimes health, sometimes allergies, and sometimes pure hunger for one of our goodies…

I am particularly fond of a Buddhist meditation involving food. With the goal being to cultivate greater mindfulness, one meditates backwards from one’s meal, imagining all of the myriad things that were essential to make that meal possible: preparing and cooking the food, shopping for the ingredients, the delivery of those ingredients to the store, the growing of the individual ingredients, the sunshine and raindrops that fell on the plants, and so on.

What I love about this exercise is that it allows one to grasp the backstory for one’s food, to glimpse the web of connections and dependencies that were crucial for every single morsel of what one eats.

This mindfulness of the backstory of every food item, and every single ingredient in it, is direly needed today. It is also part of our inspiration in running Sunberry Baking Company. It plays a key part in our mission to offer 100% vegan products that also utilize organic and fair-trade ingredients, as well as use packaging that is recyclable, compostable, or not otherwise resource intensive.

More importantly, we want the backstory of our products to be about compassion and respect for all creature and our planet. Nowadays, where much of our food supply is industrialized and many people are seriously disconnected from their food, this is the story that we need to tell about our food.

Because our baked goods are good for animals, for people, and for the planet, we hope that everyone will feel compelled to reflect on what goes into them–both the ingredients and the love. When we and all of you reflect (meditate) on a Sunberry Baking Company vegan treat, we want to inspire feelings of joy, peace, and loving-kindness, and to inspire everyone to make healthy, compassionate food choices. After all, this all is what real good food should be about!

Around Town(s)

FCFCIt has been a bit of a whirlwind the past few weeks, since we have started offering Sunberry Baking Company vegan treats at both Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg and The Store in Staunton. It was a bit of a learning curve for us to figure out what and how much to make for the Harrisonburg Farmers Market each Saturday, requiring a fairly complicated triangulation of weather, past and perceived demand, and our creativity–and we are still learning!

Providing products for sale in a storefront, over a period of several days, is a bit trickier. What will people want? How much is too much–or too little? When some things sell quickly and others more slowly, how do we match demand AND generate interest? And, most importantly, what is the best way for us to offer our vegan food, and the important story behind it all, to our neighbors here in the Shenandoah Valley?

Luckily, we have found some wonderful partners in Friendly City and The Store. It feels good to us to fill a gap in their product offerings, and to provide customers with excitement and quality when they go to shop and eat. It also feels good to provide them with vegan products free from any animal ingredients that also utilize organic, fair-trade, and local ingredients. Some are also gluten-free, and all are egg- and dairy-free, so more people can have an option for fresh, local baked goods.

When some people see our scones or brownies or muffins sitting on the shelf, the look and smell may be the first thing that entices them. What makes Sunberry Baking Company different, though, is what goes into our baked goods. We say our products are “made with love” because we bring our passion and compassion for animals, people, and the planet into every scone, every brownie, every muffin… We also sprinkle in our love of sharing delicious, 100% vegan treats with others. All together, we hope our products can make people feel good about veganism…and hopefully become interested in it!

So if you miss us at the Farmers Market, stop by Friendly City or The Store for a quick bite with a cup of coffee, a bowl of soup, or a delicious salad. Both places offer vegan soups and salads most of the time, as well as organic, fair-trade coffees and teas. Each also carries some unique items of ours you will not find elsewhere–for example, this Tuesday look for Chocolate Stout Muffins at Friendly City (made with LOCAL Starr Hill Dark Starr Stout), and Cranberry Orange Scones at The Store.

What better way to fill your belly–and your heart–in the morning or on your lunch break?!?!

We hope that you, like us, will be energized and intrigued by the LOVE in every Sunberry Baking Company item. Keep an eye out for MORE sales locations in the very near future!