Five food businesses now call the young shared-use kitchen their home and hundreds have turned to the food education classes for support. "Our clients’ pop-ups have been an incredible opportunity for them to connect with new eaters, while their businesses are gaining traction," says Lee Manning, MHK Director, “and seeing new businesses in the region is a beautiful thing!”
These bagels are the real deal, the kind that are hand shaped and proofed overnight, boiled in the early morning while most of us are still fast asleep before being baked to a brown luster, and served oven warm with a dollop of cream cheese. “The everything bagel with house-made veggie herb cream cheese served with a latte is my ultimate breakfast,” says Anna Floyd of The Corner Cup.
A Tri-Cities favorite for artisanal baked goods, Lazy Lady Baking Co. launched from MHK in 2018 selling at regional farmers markets and local coffee houses. Owner Maren Close, a Johnson City native, attended culinary school in Asheville before moving to work in some of the country’s most influential bakeries in San Francisco.
“I always knew I wanted to launch my own bakery,” says Maren, “and after eight years of working in other people’s bakeries, I decided it was time.”
Set to open early 2020 in downtown Johnson City, the baker’s menu will highlight seasonal pastries. Her legendary delights feature the area’s best local produce like her free form flaky crust artfully enfolding young carrots and herbed goat cheese, or a sweet fruit filling with fresh peaches and candied ginger. Her scones also rotate weekly and feature expertly paired seasonal flavors like sweet corn, roasted peppers, and goat cheese crumbles. Sourcing from local urban farm, Rain Crow in Johnson City, you can enjoy baked goods with a seasonal, farm-fresh twist.
“What makes the quality of pastries is the ingredients,” Maren explains “and forging relationships with local producers that care as much about their craft is an important part of my business.”
When Will Manning, owner/founder of Heartwood Forge, a nationally celebrated culinary knife maker moved his operation to East Tennessee, a natural bond formed between the two over a mutual respect for the culinary craft. Though he is a knifemaker by day, he has a quiet obsession with baking bagels. His bagel-making quickly blossomed into neighborhood events and as the number of mouths to feed outgrew his home kitchen, use of the prep space at the Mountain Harvest Kitchen has allowed his bagel passion to flourish.
Thrust into knife making by way of an obsession with using his hands to create useful everyday items from otherwise considered waste, Will sources recycled carbon steels to make his masterfully balanced blades and uses reclaimed pieces of native hardwoods for his handles. His distinct take on knife making comes from a love for food.
These aren’t just commodity tools, they represent something more. They’ve come to symbolize a commitment to conscious cooking, down to the core. “When you love what you do, it shows in your work,” says Will, “and it’s rewarding to find others that appreciate the same.”
What may seem an unlikely pair, the two have been enjoying the creative collaboration and the simple pleasure of putting their hearts into the culinary craft. Mark your calendars and take the entire family on a culinary excursion. Quantities will be limited please plan to arrive early. Half dozens available for preorder by emailing [email protected]