Growing up, I was blessed to have a very close relationship with my Grandpa and Grandma Hansen. They happened to own a bakery in Viroqua, WI called Hansen's Pastries.
My family and I spent many hours there as my parents worked to help out during holidays and other busy times. We also would always find our way to the bakery for a pop and a donut after our little league baseball games. Without fail, my grandpa would take time to ask about how our games went and managed to throw in a joke every now and again.
Every year in school, I was able to bring wonderful special donuts my grandpa would make me to take to school for my birthday.
As I moved into high school, I started working at the bakery on Friday nights to help out with the weekend orders. I received all the jobs you would expect a high schooler to get like putting buns on trays, buttering the tops of bread and slicing and packaging buns. The best part about the job was spending time with my Grandpa. Somehow, no matter how tired he was, he always had a great attitude and a huge smile on his face.
Unfortunately, in 1998, my Grandpa unexpectedly passed away and the bakery closed. This was a very difficult time for my family and I. The memories of the bakery became more and more special to me as the years went by.
One day in 2013, my Grandma gave me a very unexpected and amazing gift, my Grandpa's recipes that she had found. This was especially amazing as my wife and I had taken up the hobby of baking. After receiving the recipes, many hours were spent and many ruined batches thrown away as we struggled to figure out what the amount of a "scoop" was to my Grandpa on his recipes. Success came slowly, but after the approval of many "taste-testers" we had something good.
As time when on, one of our taste-testers, Ellen Thelen, owner of The Picket Fence, encouraged us to sell some of our baked goods at her shop. The experience motivated us to take on more orders and eventually set up our own bakery, located on Buckeye Ridge, near La Farge, WI. We now sell our products from our retail shop during the summer months on Saturdays. Also, our buns are featured at Dave's Pub in Viroqua, WI. We supply The Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, WI with sourdough baguettes and our artisan breads and buns which are also available the the Viroqua Food Coop.