It’s the type of story one might hear two cowboys sharing over an early morning cup of coffee.
“A guy went in for a slice of pie and by the time he left, he was running the place.”
While that’s a very abridged and somewhat skewed summary, it is indeed how it came to pass as Stueve Organic recently added Bloomingcamp Ranch Bake Shop to its family business list.
“He’s my sweet tooth in the family,” Betsy (Stueve) Townsend said of her husband Jake, as she shared the story of his trip out to the pie shop for a slice of pie in mid-April.
“It’s not like he came here regularly,” she added. “For whatever reason he came out here.”
As coincidence would have it, the bake shop staff, as well as community had just learned the pie shop under its existing owners would be closing two weeks later, on April 30.
The lover of sweets saw an opportunity and called his wife. His thought simple, his plans basic, Betsy needed to run the pie shop. One small problem, the mother of three – ages 2, 5 and 7 – wasn’t having the same vision as he husband. As a key part of Stueve Organic and all that entails, she felt plenty busy with what the family already had.
“I did have a glimpse of like, whoa, this is amazing,” she shared, “and then reality slammed it, shut it, put the lock on it.”
By Easter Sunday, the word had spread throughout the Stueve family that Betsy would be running the Bloomingcamp Pie Shop. Yet, Betsy herself took a bit more time to wrap her mind around the idea. Sharing with three young kids under foot, she envisioned an opportunity like this more in her future, certainly not now. A week away with her young family, however, changed that.
“It totally transformed my mind,” she said. “Of course I can do this.”
But she wouldn’t be doing it alone. As of May 1 of this year, Townsend and her family got to work on recreating a place that has been loved and enjoyed by the community of Oakdale for generations. The family maintains the bake shop, as well as the three and a half acres of outdoor oasis.
“Everyone was on board,” Townsend said of the multi-generational family support. “All of the kids were super excited. They wanted to be part of it. They want to work out here.”
In the way of day to day operations, Townsend manages a total of five key members, which includes herself, as well as her sister Katie Norman. Pie Shop head baker, Elizabeth Garcia also remained on board during the transition.
“Liz stayed,” she said, noting that Garcia had been interviewing with another company prior to the family sealing the deal. “That was a God thing. She’s amazing and uses that ‘bible’ of Joy’s (Bloomingcamp) recipes.”
With the primary family business in the production of organic pasture raised: cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, milk, olive oil and butter, it seems a bit obvious that the pie shop would be a natural addition.
According to Townsend, her father Lloyd Stueve had always dreamed of a farm stand on the family’s property at Claribel and Albers. It was a dream or vision the rest of the family had not quite embraced ... until now.
“Now I see why he wanted it,” she said. “That was a retail outlet because we have so many things we could sell. So this is now also our store front.”
While all the family products will not be available at the pie shop, in time, a number of them will, including the grass fed beef.
Townsend and her sister Katie have added to the bake shop selection as well, introducing quiche to their clientele the week before Mother’s Day. The addition was so well received they now offer them weekly on Thursdays or Fridays. As with the pies, they can also be made to order.
In keeping with the times and current clientele demands, the bake shop now offers gluten free, sugar free pies as well as sheet pies, which have been another success.
“I just want to see people come out and enjoy it,” Townsend said of the park like setting of Bloomingcamp Ranch. “It’s a little oasis that used to hopping back in the day. I grew up out here.
“I don’t care if you buy one thing in there,” she continued. “Just run around. Play. Just come and enjoy it.”
Once visitors enjoy the outdoors, she’s pretty sure their hunger will take over.
“Eventually people will gravitate in there,” she said of the bake shop, “but I don’t care about selling one thing in there. It sells itself.”
What Townsend does care about is continuing tradition and with that, comes the Harvest Festival. It’s an event the Ranch has become known for within the community throughout the years. This year the annual Harvest Festival will be hosted on Oct. 14 and 15.
“This is going to be all kids related, with a small amount of vendors,” she said.
As for the transition and the community feedback, Townsend could not be more touched or pleased.
“The community and the response from the people,” she offered, choking back emotion, “that is what Oakdale is all about. I’m so proud to get to do this and that people are excited and welcoming. That means a lot.”
The family is also finding a way to work the new business in to the overall routine.
“We all have very busy lives,” she said of the Stueve family and the business undertaking, “and our common goal is the same. That our family and our businesses are built around our faith and each other and strength in numbers.”
Bloomingcamp Ranch is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. Additional information can be found on www.bloomingcampranch.com or on their social media pages Bloomingcamp Ranch on Facebook or Instagram or simply call 847-7437.