May 27, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Jasmeen Barnes, owner of Rise bread makers, simply cannot keep her bread in stock at the weekly Cazenovia Farmers Market. There have been two markets so far this season, and the shelves of Rise bread were bare within an hour at both.
“That’s a pretty cool feeling,” said Barnes — especially since her business idea sprouted last fall, recipes were perfected during the winter, her baking facility was only finalized a few weeks ago and the May 10 farmers market was her first commercial outing.
“The Cazenovia market was hungry for a great local bread,” said Aileen Randolph, Cazenovia Farmers Market manager. “The quality of Rise’s loaves, paired with Jasmeen’s love of Cazenovia, makes the business a tremendous asset to the market and area.”
The inception of Rise as a business was a humble one. “My husband loves food; I love to cook; and I’ve always loved bread,” she said.
The part-time hair stylist at Matthews Salon in Cazenovia and full-time mother said the idea popped when Claire Hershberger – her sole current employee and partner in bread making – moved into the house next door to her last fall, they became friends and, upon tasting Barnes’s bread, Hershberger said it was the best bread she had ever had. “And I said, Claire, we can make this,” Barnes said.
The two of them — “I couldn’t do anything without Claire,” Barnes said — began thinking, cooking in Barnes’s home and perfecting recipes over the winter. Barnes uses only natural ingredients in minimal proportions — no chemicals, preservatives or generically modified ingredients (GMOs). She said the flavors in her breads come from a long fermenting period. After preparing the dough, she lets it sit for 12 to 18 hours during which the yeast rises and creates the tantalizing flavors.
Her inspiration, she said, is Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City, and her first original recipe came from a bread recipe of Lahey’s which she “transformed and made my own.” This is now Rise’s basic “boule” artisan bread — a rustic loaf with minimal ingredients that comes out with a crisp crust and a chewy center.
Since that first bread recipe, Barnes and Hershberger have kept “playing and creating fun recipes” and now have about a dozen original recipes in their stock. At the May 10 Cazenovia Farmers market, Rise opened with 75 loaves of boule, raisin bread, olive bread, rye bread and baguettes, which sold out in an hour. In addition to these recipes, Rise also offers roasted garlic, carrot, whole wheat flax pumpkin seed, sourdough, rosemary-olive oil, ciabatta and rustic Romano breads.
But a bread business cannot bake without access to a commercial kitchen with the right ovens, and these took Barnes a little time to find. She knew she could not bake hundreds of loaves at home, and her first venture using the ovens at the Brae Loch Inn — generously offered for Rise’s use by owner Jim Barr — just did not work out for Barnes to master her recipes.
Barnes’s friend McKenzie Hughes, owner of Cazenovia Cutblock, has a relationship with Nancy Muserlian, owner of Owera Vineyards, and suggested that Barnes inquire about possibly trying their ovens for her baking. Hershberger also is an employee at Owera and knows the Muserlians as well.
Barnes said that Nancy Muserlian welcomed her to Owera and offered the use of the kitchen in the winery’s event center, and “It was a homerun.”
“Peter and Nancy have given us such a tremendous opportunity to grow,” Barnes said. “They gave us a key, opened their doors and trusted us … and I am really grateful.”
“Rise is a ‘rising’ Cazenovia bread business and Owera Vineyards is thrilled to help with their launch,” said Nancy Muserlian. “Helping an enterprising local business by letting them use our facility to bake their delicious breads is our pleasure. Business is all about reciprocity!”
So with a kitchen secured, recipes created and bread flying off her shelves at the weekly Cazenovia Farmers Market, the future is looking bright for Rise. In addition to their current bread offerings, Rise is looking to also start making pizza dough, pie crusts in the fall, and eventually croutons, stuffing mix and bread crumbs, Barnes said.
Barnes and Hershberger are not only offering their bread at the farmers market, they also bake to order and can do a mid-week bake for delivery or pickup, she said. She also hopes to create a bread club in the near future that will offer home delivery once a week.
Barnes also hopes to eventually begin producing her bread to be used and sold by local businesses and restaurants. She said she also talking with Critz Farms about supplying all the bread for its Apple Blossom Bliss event on May 24.
Barnes’s ultimate goal, however, is for her business to do well enough to open her own shop locally, and she is currently working with her friend Hughes to perhaps locate a Rise location next to Cazenovia Cut Block on Route 20 in Nelson.
“I hope and pray this works out,” Barnes said. “The community has been so supportive. I knew I wasn’t going to enter the market without a top-notch product … I think people appreciate that.”
As a perfectionist, Barnes said she does not want her bread to just be good, but be great. “I’m not going to give anyone anything less than their money’s worth,” she said. And she’s been working hard to do just that. In the end, Rise bread is a labor of love. “And when it comes from the heart it’s great,” she said.
For more information about Rise bread, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/riseartisan or call 256-5449.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.