Prairie Mom A.K.A mom, wife, or on occasion Connie Burt, is a local baker. She prepares breads, treats, jams, and more. She is a true local llano bread baker hailing from the prairies of Littlefield. You can find her at the Farmer’s Pantry, Facebook, and on her website. Stay tuned to her Facebook and website to know when to find her at the Wolfforth, Littlefield, West End, and other local area Farmer’s Markets! You can sign up for her weekly newsletters and updates on her website.
We got the chance to talk with Ms. Prairie Mom herself! Check out what she shared with us below.
How did you get into baking?
I’ve been baking my whole life. My grandmother taught me and my mom raised me to bake. I started entering food and baking competitions when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, so I've been baking my whole life.
What made you want to create a business?
When my son was small, he had grain allergies so I started using some alternative grain and working to make bread and other things that he could eat that were wheat free. I have been doing that for years doing sourdough and alternative grain. Then, other people found out I was doing that and started asking me to make a loaf for them here or there. I guess about 3 years ago, all of my kids were getting old enough to where I could start doing more so, that's when my husband and I thought I could turn it into a business!
How many kids do you have?
We have 12!
Why did you name yourself prairie mom?
We actually live right on the prairie out in the middle of nowhere and obviously as a mom of twelve, that's really who I am and my most important role. I enjoy baking and making food for other people but first and foremost I'm a wife and a mom.
Tell me about the Farmers Pantry.
Sure! The Farmers Pantry is a year round farmers market that was made for us to go and stay with our products like you would at a normal farmer's market; or you can leave your product and there's someone there all the time that can handle the sales for us but it's set up just like a farmer's market.
Is your goal that most people will go to the Farmers Pantry or Market or do you enjoy the delivery?
It really helps me, if it's convenient for them and if they're able to pick up, all my pickups are at the Farmer's Pantry. I tell people all the time that the heart of my business is delivering fresh bread, pies, and cakes right to your door so I still enjoy that part of the business.
So are those the three best avenues to find you throughout the whole year?
Yes, also my facebook page, and I just started revamping my website. It's really hard to keep up the web page and baking during the market season but you can find me online at the prairiemom.com. The cottage bakery page has my current menu and will have pictures and product descriptions.
What role did the local farmers market play in helping you start your business?
Let me just say, that I had my business for almost a year before I started at the market. I started with the tiny little farmers market in Littlefield and that's where my business really began to take off. That's my hometown and where I love to sell bread and deliver to people! I often meet a crowd of people at the United parking lot on Saturday morning with bread and things so I still love to take care of the market here in Littlefield. That being said when I joined the West Texas Growers and Producers Association and began doing the Wolfforth market and the West End market and moving now to the farmer's pantry and revolution market that's where my business really began to expand. I'm so proud to be apart of it.
Why do you think people should go to a farmers market? What does it do locally?
I grew up as a farmer's daughter and still live close to the land in the community and there's just nothing like being able to buy your food from the person who grows it or makes it. That's just it. We don't all grow things the same so you can talk to people. If there are two people selling tomatoes, you can talk to them and ask if they used fertilizers or pesticides. you get to make those informed choices for yourself. We can't make those at the grocery store. We don't even know if they pulled them green and then had them in cold storage. I mean we don't have any way of knowing the history behind the food we buy at the grocery store but if you buy at the farmers market, you're not only supporting local people that are working hard but you know where your food comes from.
How much of your ingredients are locally sourced?
My wheat and sorghum are grown locally. All the fruit and vegetable I can get in season are local as well. Everything I sold at the farmers market was sourced locally. All my pumpkin products are also local. I source everything I can as much as I can locally.
I saw that several of your items are listed as sourdough, soaked, or sprouted. Can you explain that and the benefits of each of these bread?
Ok, sourdough would probably the healthiest bread that I offer. It is whole grained, sometimes tempered or whitened a little bit with an organic non-bleached grain. The souring process is slow risen anywhere from 6-12 hours to make any one of those items. The souring process makes those grains so much easier to digest and the nutrients are much more available for your body to absorb. So the souring process is super beneficial as far as people consuming grain and you probably know off the top of your head, a dozen people who have grain issues, whether they can't have grain at all or are sensitive to it. Sourdough can't solve all of those problems but it can make bread much easier for people to digest. It's a long slow process but it makes for the best quality and the healthiest baked foods. It's a labor of love and that's the bread that most people don't have time to make. Soaked would be the next best thing. It kind of does a little bit of what souring does but just not quite as well. It's soaked in an acidic solution usually a buttermilk or vinegar solution of some kind and that begins to break down those grains. Similar to what sourdough is but fermentation isn't involved. Sourdough is an actual living thing, there's fermentation going on all the time I mean you see it bubbling all the time. It's a living thing and soaking is not a living thing but it comes as close as you can get. The soaking takes a minimum of 8 hours in the slightly acidic solution before you make the bread. It makes the bread really nutritious but also makes for a very moist delicious loaf of bread, whereas sourdough is a little dryer and heavier because there's no yeast in it. At the same time when you slice sourdough, it's moist and easy to eat it's just more compact and dense. You can get sourdough dinner and cinnamon rolls that are really light because of the unbleached flour. You would be amazed at how light they are for sourdough. My soaked bread is yeast risen but again yeast is sometimes an issue for people. Sprouted bread is sprouted grain where the whole grains is sprouted then dehydrated and then ground into flour and what you get there are a lot of the same qualities of sourdough, it’s a lot easier to digest because once it sprouts it becomes a living thing. The carbs in the grain are changed to more vitamins and minerals which makes it much more nutritious. Again you'll be looking at a much heavier and slightly different texture to the other bread. One of my very best selling items is Momma's cookies. They're a sprouted grain cookie made with all sprouted spelt and they have a lot of herbs in them and different qualities that help lactation for new moms. They're also just a healthy delicious cookie. I sell those by the dozens and dozens for new moms. It's not a magic pill, you have to combine them with getting enough rest and fluids but it helps. Moms want and need something that tastes good and are a little bit of a treat for them but also nutritious and will help them nurse their babies. Plus everyone enjoys something sweet in the middle of the night.
What can people expect with their order from the Prairie Mom?
My bread will last 2-3 days at room temperature, at 3 days I recommend they move it to the refrigerator or even the freezer if they know they're not going to consume it within a week. It is a fresh bread and made with whole grain so it won't last on the shelf. It’s a fresh product with no preservatives but at the same time almost everything I sell freezes really well. I know a lot of my customers immediately slice their bread and freeze it when they get home. The prices start around $8-12 a loaf and I typically get 18 slices out of the loaf, but I don't sell it sliced so it varies by customer. It's not a long loaf, but it is rounder.
Is there anything you'd like us to know?
I have a gluten free menu! I only bake Gluten free on Wednesdays though. I go through a very thorough process of cleaning my kitchen from top to bottom before I start, to make sure there is no cross-contamination. As a result, any Gluten free orders do have to be made with a considerable amount of time so I can plan my Wednesday baking and have enough ingredients. Other than that everything I make is organic grain. GF pies are the same price and loafs are typically on the higher end of the price range, but still affordably within my average price range.
I really love doing it and I love helping people, I like baking the cakes and pies because everybody loves a treat now and then and if a treat can be good for you then that's wonderful too. If it can be made with local organic grains and real butter there's nothing better. My pecan pie is not as sweet as normal pecan pie, it's made with maple syrup and a smaller amount than you can imagine. It's still a treat and sweet but healthier than anything you can get off the shelf and I feel good about that.
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