A new business has been “sighted” around downtown Vernonia.
Sasquatch Bread Co. products have been seen at several locations. Unlike their namesake, the Sasqautch Bread Co. is no hoax, legend or mystery.
These healthy new products contain no high fructose corn syrup, wheat, or dairy. They also have no artificial sweeteners, colors or additives. Some do contain eggs. They are quickly growing in popularity and are a favorite among kids as well as adults, and not just those looking for gluten free products. Everyone seems to like them!
Vernonia resident Trish Smith started making her gluten and dairy free products as a favor for friends who were gluten intolerant. “It’s expensive to go out of town to get something and the products out there taste like cardboard,” says Smith. “These are people who are just newly gluten sensitive and are used to foods that taste good.”
Smith says she didn’t start out intending to market and sell her products. People who tried her baked goods, including a sister who sells Chai Teas in Washington, enjoyed them so much and insisted she could make some money with them. So Smith decided to give it a go. “With some encouragement and a little bit of pressure they pushed me over the edge,” explains Smith. Now you can “encounter” them at Sentry Market, Made In Vernonia and Black Bear.
Smith says she started getting serious about selling her products to the public in January and quickly received certification to bake in the kitchen at the Vernonia Christian Church. Her main product at the moment is Squatch Balls which are slightly sweet and about the size of a donut hole. They are made with almond flour, agave nectar and grapeseed oil and contain pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, and organic coconut. They make a healthy dessert or great snack and Smith says the kids she has asked to try them love them!
Smith is also currently selling an orange cranberry cake called “Orange You Glad You Cran”and has several other products she is fine tuning. She is planning a couple of special items, including a limited release of “Kari Me Home,” a bread in honor of Kari Titus, a Vernonia resident who passed away last year. “It will only be available in April which was both the month of Kari’s birth and her death,” says Smith. Smith will donate 10% of proceeds to cancer awareness.
The Sasquatch name is sort of a joke. Smith says she and her sister are tongue-in-cheek believers in the Sasquatch legend. “We’ve never seen Sasquatch, but how could he not be out there?” says Smith with a smile. “It’s always just been something between my sister and me. These are natural foods and we live in the woods. I always said that if I ever met Sasquatch I’d make him something to eat and get him a beer and be friends with him and he could show me where all the deer and elk are!”
Smith and her family moved to Vernonia in 1996. She and her husband Jason have two school aged children. Jason is a volunteer with the Vernonia Fire District; Trish is a volunteer EMT with the Ambulance Association. Recent financial difficulties have made things challenging for the Smith family and Trish says at one point they found themselves on public assistance. She says she would like to be an example to others who are also struggling.
Smith says she hopes to expand her business and is looking for a way to purchase a large mixer so she can increase production. She says she has a goal of paying off the mortgage on the church building where she is currently baking. “Right now ten percent of everything I make goes right into the mortgage fund.” The church was badly damaged in the 2007 flood and Smith says she would like to be part of rebuilding it. I wouldn’t bet against her!
If you see Sasquatch Bread Co. products on the shelf go ahead and give them a try.