by guest blogger, Chef Rich Baringer,
J. Ryman Maxwell believes in the power of “local.” As owner of Perkasie’s popular Down to Earth Café, Ryman has joined in the growing locavore movement by building his café menu around all the great meats, vegetables and other ingredients available in Bucks County.
When Perkasie’s Sun & Moon Bakery and Café closed, Ryman came to the conclusion that a community should not be without a bakery. And so he decided to open one in the same space.
The kitchen was renovated—including the installation of a huge bread oven—as well as the main part of the shop. A relaxing outdoor sitting area was added. Then the Bread Box & Bakery was ready to open. If my visit was any indication, Ryman made a good decision.
As is usually the case with bakeries, it’s the smell that hits you as soon as you open the door. It’s really irresistible. And then you see the goodies.
Bread—sourdough rye, baguette, ciabatta, wheat, whole grain—fill baskets mounted on the wall. The counter and cases display brownies, cookies, cupcakes, éclairs, croissants, Danish and more. Everything is made by hand, and with obvious care, so it’s very hard to choose. (That’s why I took 6 different things home with me to taste!)
Ryman explained that it’s a bit harder to use all local ingredients in a bakery setting than in the café, although they do use some: rye flour from Doylestown’s Castle Valley Mill, wheat flour from the Lancaster area, and local honey and seasonal fruits. They also serve coffee from Speakeasy Coffee in Woxall. Ryman is always on the lookout for other quality local ingredients to use too.
But “local” doesn’t always refer to ingredients. Both of the bakers are local “products.” Head baker John Vink grew up in the area and, after making a name as a chef all around the country, he turned his sights on baking. He trained under the head baker at King Arthur Flour in Vermont and now puts his skills on display here baking the breads, croissants and more.
Andria Knechel, who grew up in Sellersville and has worked in other local bakeries, trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She handles most of the bakery’s sweets.
But my favorite part of Ryman’s view of “local” is the role of the bakery as part of the community—helping to revitalize the neighborhood and make the area around the bakery a destination unto itself. The Bread Box & Bakery is part of a number of stores and restaurants that have been bringing locals and others to Perkasie in recent years. He sees the community as the engine that moves his bakery and the neighborhood forward. In fact, for the bakery’s grand opening he’s had t-shirts made up that say “CSB—Community Supported Bakery.”
You can find Bread Box & Bakery items at other local establishments like Pasqualina’s Italian Market in Blooming Glen and the Washington House Restaurant in Sellersville as well as at Down to Earth Café. But it is definitely worth a visit to this gem of a bakery. They’re open now, but their Grand Opening will begin on September 16 and run the rest of the week, with giveaways and specials. So stop in and be a part of the community!
Bread Box & Bakery
619 W Market St.
Perkasie, PA 18944
Facebook: The Bread Box and Bakery
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 7 am – 3 pm. Hours may be extended periodically.