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UPPER CRUST


MILLER'S BAKE SHOPPE | FAVORITE BAKERY

By Rebecca J. Barnabi

A haven for anyone with a sweet tooth and for bread lovers is tucked away off of Draft Avenue. Miller’s Bake Shoppe makes all of its bakery items on site, and has been voted The News Virginian’s Valley Favorites no. 1 bakery for 2019. Peter and Geneva Sawatzky bought the shoppe six months ago from her parents, who had owned the bakery for 15 years. The Sawatzkys opened the shoppe as their own in February, and kept the name. “Our biggest thing is we want to have quality products, and presentation to be great, customer service to be exceptional,” said Peter Sawatzky. He added they would like to expand their product line with more healthy items, offer gluten-free items for the first time and offer more no-sugar items. Perhaps later have a pretzel shop inside the bakery. Sawatzky said the couple all ready has plans to expand into the space next door. Miller’s Bake Shoppe offers a variety of cookies: molasses, chocolate chip, peanut butter, no-sugar added oatmeal raisin and no-sugar added raisin and date, as well as no-bake cookies also known as Preacher cookies. Whoopie pies are available in chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal and pumpkin. The shoppe offers German chocolate cake, Hummingbird cake, carrot nut cake and chocolate cake in whole, half, small and mini sizes. Brownies and zucchini brownies are also available to tempt sweet teeth. Pies include apple, blackberry, French apple, blueberry, egg custard, cherry and sugarless cherry or apple. The shoppe welcomes special orders, such as red velvet, coconut and sour cream pound cake. Cinnamon rolls in plain, raisin and pecan are the shoppe’s top sellers. The shoppe’s selection of breads includes banana nut, zucchini nut, saltrising, honey whole wheat, light wheat, harvest bread, white bread, dinner rolls, braided bread and hamburger buns. Salt-rising bread is an old Appalachian classic bread recipe, which Sawatzky said “has emotional attachment” for customers who grew up eating their grandmother’s bread. The recipe calls for potato juice fermenting instead of yeast rising. Miller’s salt-rising bread is so popular the store regularly ships it to customers in California and Florida. “We have something here in the community to get something that’s fresh and local, just that good wholesome food,” said shoppe employee Gretta Cason of Greenville, who started at the shoppe two months ago. Cason helps out with the baking. She said she thinks the community is lucky and blessed to have a bake shoppe like Miller’s. She added that the atmosphere of working in the shoppe is “wonderful.” While planning to expand their bakery business, the Sawatzkys are also expanding their family. Geneva Cason is expecting the couple’s third child in March, who will join daughters Isabella Ranae, 3, and Kezia Charlotte, 1. The family lives in a home within walking distance of the bake shoppe. The couple met in Mexico, where Peter was born and raised, married five years ago, then moved to Stuarts Draft three years ago. Peter Sawatzky worked as a retail sales manager at Milmont Garden Center & Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft before taking over the bake shoppe. “We love the bread,” said customer Lauri Miles of Staunton. “I do very much. I highly recommend [Miller’s Bake Shoppe].” Miles said that she and her husband recently discovered the shoppe “and we’re so happy that we did.” She added that the German chocolate cake “is to die for,” and she and her husband enjoy the light wheat bread option. “Right now this is our favorite bread,” she said. The couple also enjoys that the shop is locally owned and operated. “You get a feeling because people have roots here and they really care,” Miles said. Peter Sawatzky said he and his wife “really enjoy meeting our customers.” Their main focus is customer service. The couple lives by the motto: ‘Count your blessings, not your calories.’ “We want to expand our business, not our waste lines,” Peter Sawatzky said. The couple is just getting started in their baking business, and is excited about the future. Sawatzky said they wanted to take over the family business from her parents because of “the idea that it can be a great family business.” “I think they have a good business going,” said shoppe employee Rachel Miller, who has worked at the shoppe for two years. “I enjoy working here.” Miller lives in Stuarts Draft and she said she thinks the couple’s plan to expand the bake shoppe will be successful. Miller’s Bake Shoppe items are available at the Nelson County Farmers Market, 3079 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays in May through October.


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UPPER CRUST


MILLER'S BAKE SHOPPE | FAVORITE BAKERY

By Rebecca J. Barnabi

A haven for anyone with a sweet tooth and for bread lovers is tucked away off of Draft Avenue. Miller’s Bake Shoppe makes all of its bakery items on site, and has been voted The News Virginian’s Valley Favorites no. 1 bakery for 2019. Peter and Geneva Sawatzky bought the shoppe six months ago from her parents, who had owned the bakery for 15 years. The Sawatzkys opened the shoppe as their own in February, and kept the name. “Our biggest thing is we want to have quality products, and presentation to be great, customer service to be exceptional,” said Peter Sawatzky. He added they would like to expand their product line with more healthy items, offer gluten-free items for the first time and offer more no-sugar items. Perhaps later have a pretzel shop inside the bakery. Sawatzky said the couple all ready has plans to expand into the space next door. Miller’s Bake Shoppe offers a variety of cookies: molasses, chocolate chip, peanut butter, no-sugar added oatmeal raisin and no-sugar added raisin and date, as well as no-bake cookies also known as Preacher cookies. Whoopie pies are available in chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal and pumpkin. The shoppe offers German chocolate cake, Hummingbird cake, carrot nut cake and chocolate cake in whole, half, small and mini sizes. Brownies and zucchini brownies are also available to tempt sweet teeth. Pies include apple, blackberry, French apple, blueberry, egg custard, cherry and sugarless cherry or apple. The shoppe welcomes special orders, such as red velvet, coconut and sour cream pound cake. Cinnamon rolls in plain, raisin and pecan are the shoppe’s top sellers. The shoppe’s selection of breads includes banana nut, zucchini nut, saltrising, honey whole wheat, light wheat, harvest bread, white bread, dinner rolls, braided bread and hamburger buns. Salt-rising bread is an old Appalachian classic bread recipe, which Sawatzky said “has emotional attachment” for customers who grew up eating their grandmother’s bread. The recipe calls for potato juice fermenting instead of yeast rising. Miller’s salt-rising bread is so popular the store regularly ships it to customers in California and Florida. “We have something here in the community to get something that’s fresh and local, just that good wholesome food,” said shoppe employee Gretta Cason of Greenville, who started at the shoppe two months ago. Cason helps out with the baking. She said she thinks the community is lucky and blessed to have a bake shoppe like Miller’s. She added that the atmosphere of working in the shoppe is “wonderful.” While planning to expand their bakery business, the Sawatzkys are also expanding their family. Geneva Cason is expecting the couple’s third child in March, who will join daughters Isabella Ranae, 3, and Kezia Charlotte, 1. The family lives in a home within walking distance of the bake shoppe. The couple met in Mexico, where Peter was born and raised, married five years ago, then moved to Stuarts Draft three years ago. Peter Sawatzky worked as a retail sales manager at Milmont Garden Center & Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft before taking over the bake shoppe. “We love the bread,” said customer Lauri Miles of Staunton. “I do very much. I highly recommend [Miller’s Bake Shoppe].” Miles said that she and her husband recently discovered the shoppe “and we’re so happy that we did.” She added that the German chocolate cake “is to die for,” and she and her husband enjoy the light wheat bread option. “Right now this is our favorite bread,” she said. The couple also enjoys that the shop is locally owned and operated. “You get a feeling because people have roots here and they really care,” Miles said. Peter Sawatzky said he and his wife “really enjoy meeting our customers.” Their main focus is customer service. The couple lives by the motto: ‘Count your blessings, not your calories.’ “We want to expand our business, not our waste lines,” Peter Sawatzky said. The couple is just getting started in their baking business, and is excited about the future. Sawatzky said they wanted to take over the family business from her parents because of “the idea that it can be a great family business.” “I think they have a good business going,” said shoppe employee Rachel Miller, who has worked at the shoppe for two years. “I enjoy working here.” Miller lives in Stuarts Draft and she said she thinks the couple’s plan to expand the bake shoppe will be successful. Miller’s Bake Shoppe items are available at the Nelson County Farmers Market, 3079 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays in May through October.





Celebrating the Valley’s
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