Brooke Whipple opens bake shop at her farm in Osceola County

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Walking into Brooke Whipple’s kitchen on a Friday is reminiscent of walking into your grandma’s house.

The aromas from fresh baked goods fill the air, pies line the counter and Whipple, donning her apron, can be found kneading bread.

This spring, Whipple started a bake shop out of her home on a farm three miles west of Northland Drive on Meceola Road.

Whipple, originally from Michigan and a Ferris State University graduate, moved back to the area from Alaska about a year and a half ago. She and her family are trying to make their living on the farm they purchased, where last summer she began a U-pick flower business.

“I started putting a few baked goods out last fall at the end of flower season, and realized people were buying them,” Whipple said. “It gave me hope that people would want to purchase baked goods and flowers when they come here.”

Whipple attempted to start her bake shop this winter, but the brutal weather kept knocking down her signs. It also was hard for Whipple to keep her driveway clear for Saturdays when she had the shop open to customers.

“Every Saturday was a massive storm and I just couldn’t get anything to work because of the weather, so when spring came I really ramped it up again,” Whipple said.

Her signs have been reinforced and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday, more neighbors and others who hear about the shop or see her signs are taking a detour off the main roads out to the farm.

The pie shop is located in the old wood shed off her home and is filled with treasures decorating the space to give it an old-time, country feel.

There’s an old oven and pie safe that were in the house when Whipple and her family moved in. A glass display case from a local antique shop showcases the baked goods each Saturday.

Whipple marvels at the baking skill of her mother and has been working to perfect her own talents for ten years.

Although she believes you can never go wrong with an apple pie, her blueberry and rhubarb pies have received top recognition.

In 2010, Whipple won the Alaska State Blueberry Pie Championship. That same year she won a rhubarb pie contest as well.

“That really validated that I can actually bake a pie,” Whipple beamed.

Whipple has been working out of her home under the Michigan Cottage Food Law, which allows a person to work out of their home kitchen under the same safe practices as a commercial kitchen, but only foods considered non-hazardous, like Whipple’s breads, cookies and pies, can be made.

Recently, Whipple received her commercial baking license and will cook out of her church’s commercial kitchen on Fridays, giving her more space and allowing her to sell to any restaurant or retail location.

With so much to do around the farm and her love of the outdoors, Whipple said one of her biggest challenges is staying indoors to bake on beautiful spring days.

Another challenge she faces?

“Not eating everything,” Whipple laughed. “It’s pretty hard not to sample everything.”

Whipple makes everything from scratch and uses local ingredients whenever possible. She stands by using only Ghirardelli premium chocolate in her cookies.

Desserts are meant to be delicious, she said.

“The key is not to eat too much of it and you’ll be fine, but you should be able to enjoy a great tasting, rich dessert,” she said. “That’s where I stand on that.”

In the future, Whipple hopes to have a building for her pie shop closer to the flower field on her property, so it’s more easily accessible for customers. She also wants to get the old oven working and use it for some of her baking.

To Whipple, having a bake shop is another thing she can do to earn a living and draw people out to the farm.

“I want it to be a place people want to come visit and spend the day with their family,” she said. “In ten years, that’s where like to be. Having herbs, veggies, flowers, baked goods and everything you’d hope in your mind for a farm to be.”

For prices and a list of baked goods Whipples makes, check out her website and click on the link for the bake shop.