We are happy to report that the Santa Rosa community will not only get a new bakery but that it will be a French bakery run like a French bakery… Sarmentine has the intent to serve fresh bread all day long and close late! A concept that seems to be unknown in the rest of the bay where bakeries are closing mid-afternoon.
Beyond this detail, we wanted to report about Sarmentine because it’s a typical Californian story, infused with the Californian’s entrepreneurial spirit.
When Alex arrived in California a few years ago with her kids and husband, she had no idea that she would become a professional baker. In France, she was a midwife but moving to the US, she knew that she couldn’t be a midwife; this is the type of occupation that requires completely new credentials.
Committed to her new Californian experience, but frustrated not to find fresh, crispy baguettes, she decided to bake her own bread. Quickly she started to give away her excess production to close friends because as she proclaimed: “you don’t prepare dough for one baguette… It’s like when you cook; you do more and you share”.
After the unexpected success of her bread within her inner circle, after a few months, she decided to start what is called “cottage food operations”.
If don’t know this status, this is a license that you get from the State government and that lets you prepare and sell homemade goods to the public as long as you do not resell in retail or restaurants.
This is how Alex created a Facebook page called Sarmentine and started accepting orders for baguettes, bread loaves, croissants, canelés… you name it!
For those among you who are hobbyist bakers, you know that you can’t improvise too much while baking, it requires a delicate balance between ingredients and method. Alex was not a baker, never attended a baking school, and was a complete “amateur” which probably helped her.
She started without preconceived ideas about the “right” flours, the “right” butter, the “right” yeast… But she knew since the beginning that she wanted to bake eco-friendly goods. She researched, tested, and tasted local organically grown products.
Now she bakes with organic Petaluma flour, organic butter sourced in Marin county… She has created her recipes from scratch adjusting after helpful feedback from her happy clientele. Her baked goods are so well received by the Santa Rosa community that Alex, the midwife decided to establish a larger business.
We will make it short about permits, zoning, and the loss of her initial investment. Her entrepreneurial spirit has been greatly challenged for the last two years. But in November 2020, Alex finally gets the long-awaited permit and Sarmentine adventure can turn into a brick and mortar business.
The professional baking oven is on the boat and the renovation is full blast. At the opening planned in the Spring, the bakery will be sized to host 45 seated guests indoor plus a terrace with 15 seats.
Due to the circumstances, and to help the first months of business cashflow, Sarmentine has initiated a Kickstarter campaign. So if you are living in North bay, or if you are just a food lover who wants to contribute to a business started by a woman entrepreneur, think about participating in this Kickstarter campaign. Sarmentine already talks about expanding beyond Santa Rosa!
Sarmentine will open in the Spring at 52 Mission Circle, Santa Rosa 95409 but in the meantime, you can order from her Facebook page.