Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rockinghorse Bakery

Plum Bear Claw
Rocking Horse Bakery, $2.50

The "wild west" town of Winthrop, WA, is one of those places that can really challenge your ideas about reality. After thousands of years as a bustling hub of Native American activity, and a century of frenetic fur-trapping and gold-rushing, Winthrop's fortunes had tapered off by the mid-20th century.

Then, in the early 1970s, locals decided to use a large bequest to give their sleepy little town a "Wild West" facelift. They installed boardwalks and saloon doors, gave all the downtown buildings quaint new fronts, and hung pre-weathered, hand-painted business signs. Not coincidentally, the makeover was completed about the same time as the new state highway; the steady stream of tourists continues to this day.

Like the town itself, the Rocking Horse Bakery represents scrappy self-reinvention. Seven years ago, Dave Swenson and Meghan Sullivan lost the lease the Rocking Horse Ranch in Mazama, the family property where Sullivan was raised. Swenson had already been doing some commercial baking to supplement their winter income, and at that time Winthrop didn't have a dedicated bakery, so they decided to try their luck. They named their new enterprise after the family ranch--managing to move forward without turning their backs on the past.

In addition to the pastries, loaves, and pizzas for sale at their shop (such as the flaky, flavorful bear claw above), Rocking Horse supplies several local restaurants. Reading the menus posted around town, I noticed more than one eatery touting its use of Rockinghorse Bakery bread.

Other notable Winthrop treats include the huge selection of imported candy and gourmet chocolate bars at Winthrop Motors, and the homemade ice cream and sweets at Sheri's Sweet Shoppe (there just had to be a "shoppe" in there somewhere, right?).

Rocking Horse Bakery
265 Riverside Avenue
Winthrop, WA

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