The doors may be closed for the season, but the ovens at Amaranth Bakery & Cafe certainly wonâ€™t be growing cold this summer. Owners Stephanie Shipley and David Boucher are selling a large selection of their baked goods at two local farmersâ€™ markets: Fondy Farmersâ€™ Market and the Vliet Street Community Green Market at the Washington Park Senior Center.
â€śThere are a lot of places we could go, but a big part of our mission is to give people in this neighborhood the opportunity to have high-quality baked goods,â€ť Boucher says. â€śWeâ€™re not going out to a farmersâ€™ mar ket in Brookfield because itâ€™s not our base. Weâ€™re com mitted to our base here.â€ť
Shipley and Boucher have been instrumental in the revitalization and development of the Walnut Hill and Washington Park neighborhoods on the cityâ€™s West Side. The couple restored one of Walnut Hillâ€™s historic treasures, a pre-Victorian home that was built in 1856. Two and a half years ago, Shipley and Boucher opened their quaint neighborhood bakery just down the street, at 3329 W. Lisbon Ave., as a much-needed gathering spot for the areaâ€™s residents. â€śThis business is specific to this neighborhood,â€ť Shipley explains. â€śI never would have done it anywhere else.â€ť When the cafĂ© is open, customers can sip Alterra cof fee and choose from a large and varying selection of breads, cookies and morning pastries. The first to emerge from the ovens in the morning are favorites like almond, chocolate and butter croissants, cinnamon rolls and sweet potato brioche rolls with a pecan maple glaze.
Amaranthâ€™s popular scones are made with whole grains and creative combinations, like cardamom pear and macadamia nut with gin ger. â€śMy first love was bread,â€ť explains Shipley, and the proof is in her extensive selection of slow-rise artisan breads. Some are standards, such as rustic white sourdough, whole wheat and Italian, while others are more inventive, like potato chive, oatmeal date pecan and chocolate bread. Amaranth Bakery has also become known for its rugelach, a cream-cheese pastry made with ingredients like currants, apricots, raspber ries, cranberries and nuts. â€śWe put a lot of work into the food,â€ť Shipley says. â€śAbsolutely everything is made from scratch.â€ť The couple is committed to using locally grown and seasonal produce when possible and a great deal of the ingredi ents are organic. In addition to baked goods, Amaranth Bakery & CafĂ© offers slowly sim mered homemade soups and salads made with fresh greens and vegetables.
One of the reasons the owners are taking a summer hiatus from their shop is to conserve energy. Though the buildingâ€™s water is heated with energy derived solely from solar power, the air conditioner is not. By baking for the farmersâ€™ markets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, Shipley and Boucher save the air-conditioner from working overtime six days a week in an effort to temper the combi nation of summer temperatures and the ovensâ€™ heat. Amaranth Bakery can be found at the Fondy Market at 22nd Street and Fond du Lac Avenue on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until they sell out, and on Sundays at the Washington Park Senior Center from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. At the markets, â€śIâ€™ll be doing breads, seven different kinds of cookies, rolls, morning pastries, pecan bars, raspberry bars and brownies,â€ť Shipley says. The doors of Amaranth Bakery & CafĂ© on Lisbon will open again on Thursday, Sept. 4.