Spring, to me, has always been a season of renewal. As the Montana snow has typically been around for 6 or 7 months at this point; when it finally starts to melt, it signals a time of real change. As the world starts to change from white, to brown, to green, it gets me thinking about all the other changes in my life and about future changes as well. But as always, in looking forward to the future, I have to appreciate all that has happened in the past.
My story (well, my family's story) is a continuation of the Todd family moving to Montana in the late 1800s. For five generations, the Todd family built a dairy farm and focused on nourishing the land and community that eventually became Bozeman, MT. The farming tradition has continued through the generations to my grandpa, Milo. My grandpa met my grandma, Carol, on a hayride in Manhattan (Montana), and they started taking their lunch breaks together to get to know one another. They eventually got married and started a family, which is when my dad, Joe, entered the picture. My dad met my mom, Kareene (a Kentucky girl), when they attended the same seminary in Texas. After moving around a bit, they settled back in Bozeman. Montana has been my home ever since; this is all a long way of saying that Montana is in my blood, and I love it.
I began baking at the young age of 16 when I began my first job in food the service industry. In those first several years, baking for me was simply a job that I used to pay my tuition at MSU. However, as 4 years quickly passed I began to envision my life after being a student. Around this time I was working at a local coffee shop and bakery, and my employer there began encouraging me to start a bakery of my own. She also had been making wedding cakes in the Gallatin Valley for several years and was enthusiastic about helping me learn more about that specific craft. The steps that have led to me starting my own business and leaving other full time jobs have not been easy, but they have been incredibly rewarding and have led to some of the most special relationships in my adult life.
The past 18 months have held a lot of changes for Sweet and Tarte. Through the Covid pandemic, I realized that operating a storefront-style bakery was not for me (at least for now). When the opportunity came to move my operations to Manhattan, Montana late in the Summer of 2020, it truly was what my heart and my business needed. Cooper and Lex, the amazing creators and owners of Tailored and Tied, had recently built a new coffee/wine bar and had a vacant commercial kitchen space. Getting to work around Cooper, Lex, their little family, and their team at The Bar in Manhattan has been an experience for which I will forever be grateful. These days you can find me out at The Bar, baking fresh pastries for their coffee shop while I also continue to cater desserts for special events (mainly weddings).
About 6 months ago, I also hired my sister, Faith. While she helps in the kitchen with some of our larger orders, she has mainly taken over the back end, communication side of the business. She manages our bakery schedule, wedding season schedule, workshop organization, communication, and billing so that I can spend more time and energy baking and creating. Of the two of us, Faith has a more organized, list-making personality type and I have a more creative personality type, so we work together well! In our small team of two, we both still wear many hats in running this business every day. But her additions to the team have allowed me so much peace and energy to think about the future of this company.
Change is both exciting and scary as hell, but I am happy with the changes that Sweet and Tarte has seen so far and the ways we have managed what the last years have thrown our way. I am also excited about the changes that are yet to come. We will be continuing this blog, Sweeter Things, over the coming months. In it, we will be reviewing baking products, sharing baking tips, and even sharing some of my recipes (keep an eye out for our Cream Scone recipe- coming soon). We will also start sending out emails with updates on holiday menus, new blog posts, and upcoming workshops.
I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for myself, my company, and the Gallatin Valley. Spring is coming and I cannot wait!