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January 17, 2020

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Anita's Sweets and Treats offers old-fashioned baked goods

Meet Bluffton Farmers Market vendors

By Liz Gordon-Hancock
Bluffton Farmers Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings in town. According to the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce, our town "boasts the best farmers market in northwest Ohio."

In celebration of our small but mighty farmers market, the Icon will be featuring a market vendor each week over the course of the summer.

This week's feature vendor is Anita's Sweets and Treats.

Anita Willow is a familiar figure at Saturday's market and her baked goodies are well-known - she has quite a following.

She started selling pies at the farmers market 13 years ago. Her grandmother taught her to make homemade pies. "It was totally a hobby," said Willow, "I never thought people would buy them."

Now, Anita's Sweets and Treats offers large and small pies, granola bars and granola, five different variations of a cinnamon roll, angel food cake, and cupcakes. All her baked goods are made from scratch, the old-fashioned way.

When asked why she does what she does, she simply said it's a job that fits well with her family life. With six children (ages 23 down to 12), it gives her the flexibility to work whenever, whether early in the morning or late at night.

Willow brings 12-15 homemade pies to market each week. She offers apple, blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry rhubarb (spring only), blueberry, cherry, grape, cranberry pear (fall only), mixed berry, peach, peach red raspberry, pecan, rhubarb (spring only), and strawberry rhubarb (spring only), plus cream pies (made to order - not available on market days).

Only one of each flavor is typically available on market day, unless you call before Friday to request a particular flavor.

For Willow, pie-making is an assembly-line process. She makes up large batches of the pie crust and toppings separately, then wraps and freezes them. One batch will make 10-11 pie crusts. Then on Fridays, around 10:30 a.m., she starts assembling and baking the pies and is generally done by 2 p.m. with around a dozen pies ready-baked.

In years past, Willow has supplied the pies for the Wild Game Night event at Ebenezer Mennonite Church, and for that event, can turn out 40 pies in 3-4 hours, with a few helpers.

On market days, she's up at 5:15 a.m. putting those cinnamon rolls in the oven. The rolls arrive at the market still warm.

Willow has dreamed up four different seasonal variations of the cinnamon roll: in spring, she offers rhubarb cinnamon rolls, in summer, peach with vanilla sauce, and for fall, caramel apple. These are in addition to her two staples: cinnamon and caramel pecan.

These come in single, double or I'll-have-the-whole-plateful-please (a pan of six) portions.

The cupcakes on offer are actually dreamed up and made by Willow's daughter, Karis. She creates a new flavor each week, and makes them all from scratch.   

Anita's Sweets and Treats takes orders for baked goods. She even offers unbaked cinnamon or caramel pecan rolls, which come frozen and unbaked. These will keep in the freezer for 2-3 weeks, so when it's time for you to entertain or celebrate, you simply thaw the rolls overnight, then bake them and allow the smells of cinnamon-y goodness to fill your house (not to mention garnering the praise for such a tasty offering).

For orders (and requests for a particular pie flavor), call Willow at 419-429-9369.

Be on the lookout for her fall variety of cinnamon roll - the caramel apple cinnamon rolls - coming soon.

About the Bluffton Farmer’s Market
This story is part of a summer series on Bluffton Farmers Market vendors. The market is open each Saturday through the end of October from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Citizens National Bank parking lot, 102 S. Main St. For vendor information, contact Greg Probst, market director, at blufftonfarmersmarket@embarqmail.com.