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The Business of Baking Part 1
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Today we turn to our series on Martha's Vineyard foodways based on oral histories found in the Martha’s Vineyard Museum archive located Edgartown, Massachusetts. I’ve transcribed the interviews and share them as short stories that are helpful for would be culinary entrepreneurs. We turn now to the business of baking and butter making. Betty Madeiras Alley was born in 1912 in Oak Bluffs on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. She was one of 11 children to Marry Pachico and Frank Madeiras. Her parents migrated to the island from the Portuguese controlled Azores. Her mother baked her own homemade bread served with homemade butter. Betty and her siblings took times churning the butter during the production process.

So here are the takeaways:  Historically baking has been an important culinary entrepreneurial opportunity, particularly for working-class women in society’s in which traditions have restricted women’s work to spaces in and around the home. The same is true with butter making. These are two products that can be produced in the home and done while completing with other household responsibilities and child rearing. Often women will introduce their children to the business at age appropriate time and in the process the children develop important entrepreneurial skills. Profitable spaces for distributing and selling these two goods have been at farmer’s markets, local stores similar to those described in earlier stories on Martha’s Vineyard, and word-of-mouth in which women take orders and payment for their product and then produce them for customers who either pick it up or the or entrepreneur makes arrangements for deliver to the customer’s home. In a home business such as baking or making of butter, making a great product, calculating cost of production, and pricing accordingly are essential. I provided links allowed to podcast and books that can help you in this regard.

More Martha’s Vineyard Stories

Christ Wright, Business Boutique: A Woman's Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves

 Sara Blakely: SPANX CEO

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