Baker and Candlemaker Join Mom at Crozet Farmers Market
If the blueberry-lemon, double chocolate and strawberry-filled cupcakes at the Crozet Farmers Market taste like they’re made by a highly trained baker, that’s because they are. The baker, Kirstie Treccariche, grew up in Crozet, baking every chance she had in middle school, continued in the culinary program at CATEC, and pursued a baking curriculum at the Colorado campus of Johnson and Wales.
Treccariche married her high school sweetheart and baked from an apartment in Texas while he went through basic training at Fort Hood. Other army families soon realized there was a gifted pastry chef in their midst and became regular purchasers of her cakes, brownies and cupcakes. The couple returned to their home in Crozet when his service was over and had two children. She didn’t bake much for a while except for family events.
“Then I realized I missed it,” Treccariche said. She decided to market her beautifully decorated little cakes to a larger market, setting up a tent at the Farmers Market in 2020. Now, every Saturday finds her with a stack of 100 or so cupcakes that quickly sell out. Baking for a crowd returned to her easily, but transporting her intricately-decorated edible artwork was more of a challenge: “I feel sorry for the cars behind me on the way to market,” she said. “I’m really slow, because I know what can happen if I have to slam on my brakes.”
Treccariche aims for a dozen or two of six different flavors each week, carefully watching her customers’ preferences. The local favorite is the lemon-blueberry, a lemon cake, filled with a lemon filling and artfully topped with a swirl of blueberry. Others prefer a more homey staple, she said: “There’s one customer who comes every week for a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting.”
What’s her secret? There really isn’t one. “You have to remember that, unlike other kinds of cooking, baking is really a formula,” she said. “You have to follow it.” Her comfort with the science of baking led her to try her hand at another line of products that are fragrant and satisfying, but not meant to be eaten. She’s the chemist behind “Moonsugar,” a line of CBD bath products, lotions, salves and balms.
She’s not the only one in her family with creative talent, boundless energy, and an entrepreneurial streak. Shortly before Treccariche set up her cupcake stand at the market three years ago, her mother, Kelly Sensabaugh, had begun selling handmade fabric and leather items as well as jewelry and decorative wooden signs. Sensabaugh said she loves her interaction with the customers and time with her daughters as they anchor the lower portion of the market. She works full-time on the loading dock at Lowe’s but enjoys coming home to her sewing machine and tiny jewelry-making tools. She said her handmade jewelry always sells well, and customers love the little fabric pumpkins that appear on her table as fall approaches. She’s willing to try her hand at almost anything, which is evident in the variety of crafts available at her table, K and S designs.
And there’s another daughter, Ashley Smith, who started out by helping Treccariche pack her cupcakes, and spent Saturday mornings hanging out with her sister and mother. “I decided I might as well set up my own booth, since I was there, anyway,” she said. Smith makes soy-based candles in a variety of fragrances; she also packages make-it-yourself play dough kits for children. During the week, she works as a pre-school teacher at Millstone of Ivy, and she’s assisted in her candle-making by her eight-year-old daughter, Emma. At this time of year, you’ll find candles in vanilla, as well as creative scents like sea-salt and orchid or black moss and coral. Later, there will be fall scents and, towards Christmas, scents will veer towards pine and peppermint.
She notes that her chemistry skills don’t extend to baking: “For Kirstie, I’m strictly a packer and a taste-tester,” she said.
After two years at the market, Smith finds that customers will come specifically for a certain candle. “It’s all fun for me,” she said.
Find Treccariche, Sensabaugh and Smith at the Farmers Market on Saturdays in season, 8 a.m. to noon. The market is in the grassy area behind the Blue Goose building. Treccariche can also be reached at [email protected]; and Smith at madebyane.square.site.
Paper Art Exhibit through June at Artisan Depot
Crozet Artisan Depot presents the work of Martha Olson of Blacksburg as the guest artist for June.
Olson’s show “Reality of My Surroundings”—a collection of paper wall art—will run through June in the historic Crozet train depot, 5791 Three Notch’d Road. She’ll be present to meet the public at the Depot Saturday, June 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Olson uses recycled magazines and found paper as her preferred medium, drawing, cutting, tearing and applying acrylic paints, ink and washes to create her free-flowing style. She said her inspiration is “everything, everywhere, all the time,” which provided the title for her show. She’s received many honors and awards, including “Best in Show” at the Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg in 2021.
“I have always searched for a medium to express the long unspoken artistic language that I knew was a part of me,” the artist said. “Altered paper has provided a visual voice releasing memories of silent observation, life experiences, or a turn of word or phrase.”
Trey Wilkerson, owner of the former Sam’s Hot Dogs and the more recent Trey’s Restaurant, has closed his Crozet location and opened a larger venue in Waynesboro’s east end. Wilkerson said he tried to find a way to keep both places, but in the end, was unable to accomplish it. Wilkerson’s Waynesboro opening in mid-May was extremely successful, and he sold out of 2,200 pieces of chicken the first day. He doubled and tripled his inventory but sold out again and again during the week to feed the long lines of hungry people at his door. The larger space has enabled him to expand his menu to include salads, gyros and a variety of entrees and sides as well as chicken. He still sells hot dogs, but now they’re foot-longs. Find him at The Barn, in the space that was the Tastee-Freez in Waynesboro, or look at his menu on The Barn Facebook page online. The Barn’s normal hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Starr Hill Brewery won a Gold Crushie in the Best Packaging Designs for Bottles, in the international Craft Beer Marketing Awards competition. This contest is the only global awards competition to recognize and celebrate the importance of craft beer artwork, culture, retail marketing and design. This year a panel of more than 500 industry professionals from 24 countries evaluated entries in 40 categories from around the world.