Here at Gardener’s Supply, we enjoy giving back to our Vermont community by doing business with local merchants. When searching for a traditional, handmade fruitcake to feature in our Holiday 2012 catalog, we didn’t have to look far for the perfect partner: Bien Fait Cakes, an artisanal bakery in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Bien Fait’s delicious, all-natural Bourbon Fruitcake tastes good and does good, too: The company is an L3C corporation and 100 percent of its profits benefit Wonder and Wisdom, a community-based nonprofit group. The organization emphasizes lifelong learning through after-school enrichment programs, summer camps, and trips for seniors in rural Greensboro, VT.
Cara Hill, Bien Fait’s general manager and principal baker, explains Wonder and Wisdom’s important role. “The little kids get as much attention as the elders do in our community,” Cara says. “My children actually go to the Wonder and Wisdom program. So I bake the cake, someone else buys it, and the money goes to this great organization that helps my own family.”
The company also sources its all-natural, preservative-free ingredients from local farmers, growers and suppliers whenever possible. “They’re small and they need us to buy as much as we can. We buy from reliable sources, as close as possible, and give our money to American companies. It’s a matter of working hard to support our neighbors,” Cara says.
Demand for Bien Fait’s artisanal fruitcakes and other baked goods is growing, but their operation still remains “very, very, very small” according to Cara. She and one other employee average 60 cakes per day, from mixing and baking to hand-wrapping, but can make up to 120. During the holidays, the size of the staff more than doubles — to five.
Aimee Diehl writes from her home in rural Cornwall, VT, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a dog.