The sun rose last Saturday to a cool and foggy valley; a quintessential fall morning, precursor to a perfect autumn afternoon.

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By the time the first wave of patrons rolled through the Bakers' Harvest Festival at King Arthur Flour's bakery store in Norwich VT, the smell of wood-fired pizza and homemade apple cake were already hanging tantalizingly in the air.

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A cup of coffee and baked goods in hand, customers headed over to our Baking Education Center (BEC) to catch the first event of the day – an amateur baking competition among King Arthur Flour employee-owners.

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It wasn’t long before the entire store was packed with festival goers, tasting free samples from Vermont Fresh Pasta, My Brigadeiro Chocolate, Vermont Smoke and Cure, and more.

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Outside, KAF employees doled out caramel-covered apples by the hundreds, while Joanna Waldman from Post and Beam Bakery helped kids (and some adults!) frost and decorate cookies to the sounds of Cheronia, a French and Celtic musical duo playing in the courtyard.

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Inside the demo kitchen, customers sampled soup from Two Guys in Vermont (whose pre-made soup comes uniquely packaged in glass jars), and tasted homemade peanut brittle from Beary Best Brittle.

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In between baking competitions, our expert bakers were in the BEC teaching folks how to twist pretzels, bake light and tender biscuits with our self-rising flour, and decorate cupcakes.

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As morning rolled into afternoon, singer/songwriter Jon Gailmor took the stage and serenaded the crowd with favorites like “Dirt” and “Celebrate the Children.”

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Blues singer and guitarist James Burger closed out the festival with his twangy sounds and steel guitar slide.

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Especially popular was the Pro Series baking challenge, which pitted King Arthur Flour bakers Susan Reid, Jeffrey Hamelman, and Robyn Sargent against one another in a battle for culinary bragging rights!

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MC Julie Christopher threw in a last minute spin, asking the bakers to include two of four surprise ingredients in their favorite apple pastry: raw coconut flakes, toasted coconut flakes, cinnamon chips, and apple butter.

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Jeffrey used raw and toasted coconut, and took home the prize for "best show" with his apple tart. Susan won for "most delish" baked good with her cranberry-apple upside down cake, incorporating apple butter and raw coconut into her top secret recipe.

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Finally, Robyn was victorious in the "best-looking" category with her beautiful apple galette, and incorporated an astounding four out of four surprise ingredients!

For most of us, 30 minutes to complete a baked good would be difficult at best (or impossible, in my case) but these pros were cleaning their stations with 5 minutes to spare! You can’t put one over on King Arthur Flour’s best bakers.

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Customers and patrons alike agreed that this year’s Bakers' Harvest Festival was a huge success. We’ve only just put away the balloons and hay bales, but we’ve already started planning for next year – that’s how much fun we had!

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Until then, we’ll leave you with a few photos from the other events surrounding the festival – the Bakers' Harvest Dinner, which brought in over $13,000 for Hunger Free Vermont; and the Bakers' Harvest conference, which brought bakers from as far away as Mexico to Vermont for two action-packed days in the education center.

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_Harvest Dinner Collage 1

See you next year!

 

Julia Reed
The Author

About Julia Reed

Julia A. Reed is an award-winning food and lifestyle photographer, writer, and multimedia content producer. Educated at Emerson College in Boston, she spent 5 years in Los Angeles before returning East, leaving behind food trucks, secret dinners, and year-round farmers' markets to pursue a simpler life in the woods. She lives with her husband Jeremy, and their two dogs, Izzy and Sandwich.

View all posts by Julia Reed