Vermont Bread Baker Charlie Emers Finds Happiness in Hardwick

Vermont Bread Baker Charlie Emers Finds Happiness in Hardwick

Vermont bread baker Charlie Emers

Vermont bread baker Charlie Emers isn’t much of a planner. But he’s definitely a doer.

Emers lives off a dirt road in East Hardwick in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. His commercial bakery stands at the end of a long driveway next to his home, which he shares with his family.

The Rhode Island native is the owner of Patchwork Farm & Bakery, making everything from polenta to matzoh to country French bread. His Everyday Matzoh, which he makes year-round, was included in the 2019 Yankee Magazine’s Food Choice Awards.

He moved to Vermont three decades ago, and worked as a lamp maker and vegetable farmer before starting his bakery in 2001.

Emers says he stumbled into baking while he was looking for a part-time job back when his daughters were little and his wife was working at a local school.  One day he stopped by a bookstore and picked up a book about building brick ovens. Before he knew it, he was installing a brick oven in an out building next to his house.

Finding Success as a Vermont Bread Baker

When Emers started baking professionally, he didn’t come up with a business plan. At first, he figured he could be both a vegetable farmer and a baker.

“I was still going to farm and I was going to bake bread. I think by the end of the third day, I was like, ‘What are you, nuts?’ How are you going to do this?’” he says. “So, the farming took a back seat…and I just jumped into (baking).”

After baking for 19 years, he sometimes still wonders about a business plan.

“I was talking to a neighbor about this recently and about business plans,” Emers says. “I said to him, ‘I never had a business plan, I should have started one.’ And he said, ‘Charlie…that’s not you.’”

You can find Patchwork Farm and Bakery bread at a variety of stores, including Buffalo Mountain Co-op & Cafe in Hardwick, Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, City Market in Burlington, Eastside Market Place in Providence Rhode Island, The Natural Grocer in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and the Littleton Co-op in Littleton, New Hampshire.

Learn more at patchworkfarmbakery.com.

Happy Vermont Podcast: An Interview with Charlie Emers

In Episode 5 of Happy Vermont, Charlie Emers talks about the joy of baking and making a life for himself in rural Vermont. You can also read my 2019 Happy Vermonters profile of Emers.

I would love to hear from you! Please email ideas or feedback to hello@happyvermont.com. Thanks so much for listening.

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