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Farm Bakery Is A Family Affair
Known in the area as "the bread lady," Tenito Smith of Bowling Green, Ky. has a booming business selling her baking at a local Farmers' Market, as well as from her front yard, not to mention catering and supplying a nearby restaurant year-round.
  Smith bakes a wide variety of bread products, and also zesty croutons, fresh fruit pies, jams, pickles, bruschetta, and salsa, just to name a few.
  She sells her baking on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market where her husband, Jimmy sells sweet corn, tomatoes, and yellow squash. Peak season for both the baking and the veggies is June, July and August, when the Farmer's Market is operating two extra days per week.
  Jimmy also grows field corn, wheat, and soybeans on the family's farm, so he particularly appreciates the extensive help he gets from their 18-year-old daughter, Monica, in handpicking the vegetables.
  Tenito spends one or two days a week (year-round) baking just for the restaurant. She starts baking for the Saturday's Farmer's Market on Thursday morning at 5 a.m., not quitting until 10 p.m. This is repeated on Friday, to be ready for the sale.
  "I only have Sunday off to rest," she says. "I'm used to hard work though, and I loved to cook from an early age. After I got married, I used to cook for six to eight people who worked for us when we farmed 1,500 acres. I fed them a full lunch daily in the field, followed by an afternoon snack of cobbler and then supper at the house."
  Smith started her baking business seven years ago by renting a kitchen to work in. After two years of that, she and her husband converted their garage into a certified, state-inspected kitchen.
  The family doesn't farm as many acres as they used to, instead focusing more on vegetable production.
  "Now I cook for a crew of five or six kids during corn picking season," she says.
  She points out that Jimmy does most of the grocery shopping (remember, it's "large volume" shopping, and "he's darn good at it!" she says.) Also, when he's not in the fields, he often slices the apples and peaches for her.
  "I try to go outside the realm of what's normal or common in the products I make this includes seven-grain honey bread, parmesan-garlic bread, salt-free, sugar-free bread, pies and muffins with Splenda for diabetic customers, and I almost never use margarine in my baking because of the hydrogenated fat. I don't use any unnatural preservatives - if I can't pronounce it, I don't need or want it in there."
  Tenito prints her own labels (they must meet state regulations and list ingredients) with her computer. This is just another aspect of a business that requires long hours and hard work, but which she finds rewarding.  
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tenito and Jimmy Smith, 1331 Richpond Rd., Bowling Green, Ky. 42104 (ph 270 781-4101; email: nidasmith @aol.com).

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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4