Virtual Market Welcomes Walker Cabin Farm
By Jennifer Ruff, market manager
TROY – The first time we drove up the half-mile through the Walkers’ serene 60 acres near Kiser Lake, it felt as if we’d been transported back to a slower, simpler, more picturesque time – coming around the corner for an initial glimpse of the cabin, recreated to resemble one typical of our area about 1815, I was in awe. Same as when I entered the charming home, where everything modern is skillfully hidden yet right at your fingertips, a unique blend of picture-perfect old-fashioned beauty and the most necessary conveniences for a comfortable modern life. I can’t do justice to the expertly, beautifully melded results, but Debbie Walker’s baked goods are the only testament necessary.
Indirectly, she has her former boss in Columbus to thank for getting her into the baking business. As with many workplaces, there were often carry-ins for birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate, and after regularly getting raves for the baked goods she brought in, Debbie’s boss encouraged her, adamant that someone would willingly pay Debbie for such delectable delights, starting with her boss!
Then, new to the area and looking to make friends, she stumbled across an ad for the Saint Paris Farmer’s Market in 2013. Calling to ask if they were interested in baked goods, it was to her and their good fortune that at that time no one specialized on bakery at the market! From there over the past 8 seasons she’s developed a very loyal customer base who weekly attend the market in Saint Paris, and that’s one of the things she misses when the traditional market season ends – the interaction with her regular customers. That’s something all our Virtual Market vendors look forward to – the opportunity to put names with faces when meeting customers at either our seasonal Night Markets at First Place or at Virtual Market pick-up when they take their twice annual turn of being my Market volunteer.
The market in Saint Paris happens to be one of the longest running summer farmer’s markets in the area, going May to mid-October from 3-6pm on Friday afternoons. Conveniently right on State Route 36, you can’t miss the little market set up in front of the former fire station. And although Debbie’s best sellers fluctuate to a point, her cinnamon rolls and pretzel bites are steady summertime favorites.
It’s no wonder Debbie’s baked goods are incredibly, consistently perfect – the precise, organized workspace in her kitchen is the same – in a word, perfect, for both her comfort and her needs. The custom-built bread table is her favorite part, designed specifically for her, a woman who takes her baking seriously. Half of the butcher block top is literally for only kneading dough. Debbie emphatically explained, “Nothing else is ever set on it!”
Her favorite to bake? English muffins, which happens to be a customer favorite on the Market. She was enthusiastic in telling how she’d totally reworked the way she shapes and finishes them for more consistent results, and is now thrilled she can be confident they’ll always turn out. Anytime she drops off a package, while they’re waiting on our front tables to be organized into customer baskets, someone always notices them and comments about how perfect they look! And how good for us they’re as delicious as they are pretty!
With the cozy, peaceful atmosphere of her home in which to work and surrounded by gorgeous yet purposeful antiques, I laughingly imagined myself even being able to dependably turn out more reliable results from the oven, so my husband wouldn’t have to say, with a teasing smile, “Do you think you could make it like this again?” After 11 years of marriage, it’s no wonder convincing him to give me a request for dinner or dessert is like pulling teeth – he could request the same bread every day for a week, and each would be as unique as the day it was made.
Not so with Debbie – I can picture her going about the day’s baking with her quiet, tranquil efficiency, enjoying what she does in a setting that suits her. From the old-style cabinetry to the peaceful woods, when she told me she just likes the feel of it all, I commented, “It must be such a fun space to bake in.” Her reply reflects her baked goods, simply perfect - “And it is.”
For more information on Walker Cabin Farm, the Virtual Farmer’s Market, or to find Debbie’s incredible baked goods for sale, visit www.miamicounty.locallygrown.net or the St. Paris Farmer’s Market, Fridays this summer, and check her out on Facebook @walkercabinfarm, @miamicountylocallygrown, and @saintparisfarmersmarket.