By Lynn Monty, Editor in Chief
It might be her cupcakes with the blackberry compote, her vanilla meringue buttercream frosting or her white peach hand pies that have people flocking to Little Garden Market in Charlotte and Gilfeathers Fine Provisions in Ferrisburgh, but whatever the reason, owner Rick Benson is happy to invite in the new business. He actually chose newcomer Allison Clark Doe to be his new pastry chef from just plain old good business sense–it’s Doe’s positive attitude and commitment to wholesome local goodness that got her the job.
Incidentally, Benson is looking for experienced help like Doe at both locations. Counter and prep help are needed full-time, year round.
Doe, 29, is a native Vermonter who grew up in East Middlebury. Her father has been deputy sheriff of Addison County for more than 30 years, but it was her mother who gave her a jump start in the culinary arts. “I started by bussing tables at the age of 12 at the Waybury Inn,” Doe said. “My mom worked there, and as soon as I could carry a plate she started me bussing.”
Soon thereafter she discovered the culinary arts and the joy it brings her. She takes pride in preparing foods from scratch and using local products. “The smells, the artistic part of it, and the creativity of it all makes me happy,” Doe said. “I have always wanted to be in the pastry world professionally and didn’t quite find my opportunity until I found Rick about a month ago.”
After graduating from Middlebury High School in 2005 Doe backpacked in Thailand and drove across the United States a couple of times. Once settled back into the Green Mountains, it took her and her sister only 25 days to hike the entire Long Trail.
While adventure may be at the core of this young woman’s mission in life, so is living mindfully. She’s a successful homesteader with her husband, Ryan Doe. They raise alpacas and other animals on their land in Ferrisburgh called “Three Dogs Farmstead.” Alpaca fiber is one of the warmest, softest and durable luxury fibers, Allison said. She spins stunning Peruvian alpaca fiber into yarn on a spinning wheel and sells it on the internet.
But food is her main priority. “I try to eat local and healthy and try to help others to do that too,” she said. “Here we try to push quality over quantity. My main thing right now is the pies. When I am not baking cupcakes, I am baking pies. Apple, blueberry, peach, berry and, of course, hand pies that you can grab and go.”
As for her next adventure, “We are planning a three week trip to Europe that includes Italy—and I plan to eat everything.”
The new Gilfeathers Fine Provisions is located at 3177 Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. The name of this new shop is in honor of the state vegetable, the Gilfeather turnip. Along with Doe’s stunning desserts, coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch items are on the menu as well as prepared grab-n-go family dinner meats and salads.
Benson said he has a few more years on his lease on Ferry Road and plans to stay put at both locations. He just signed a five-year lease for Gilfeathers. The new space is about 1,800 square feet, a third larger than the Ferry Road location. An average of 14,000 cars a day go by there, Benson said.