When Madison area Urban Ministry’s Just Bakery Program and Sassy Cow Creamery recently got together, they quickly found that they had some common beliefs in community service and ways that they could work together to help the overall community. They formed a new collaboration – and hatched the idea to produce a new ice cream – that will be unveiled this Saturday, March 30, at Just Bakery’s Storefront.
MUM’s Just Bakery Program is a 12-week vocational and employment training program specifically designed to meet the needs of men and women returning to the community after incarceration and to prepare men and woman with employment barriers to work in commercial bakeries.
Carmella Glenn is the coordinator of the program.
“In the last year or two, I’ve been wanting to get our Just Bakery products into one of our local creameries and an idea came from the East Coast from Greyston Bakery. Ben & Jerry’s buys all of its brownies from the Greyston Bakery and it’s really a big contract that self-supports this bakery. You don’t even apply for a job there,” Glenn tells Madison365. “They have a list; they could care less about your criminal background. It’s just a really great story and it turned into a wonderful partnership.”
Glenn started to wonder if that type of partnership could work in Madison with Just Bakery.
“Building local collaborations is so important to us as an organization so in January one of our instructors said, ‘Oh, my goodness. Sassy Cow is looking for a new creative ice cream flavor.’ I knew at that time that Sassy Cow was watching their Facebook page so I messaged them and told them all about Just Bakery as I was on my way out of town on vacation,” Glenn remembers.
“I woke up the first morning of my vacation with this wonderful message from Kara [Kasten-Olson, manager of sales and marketing at Sassy Cow Creamery] that said they were very interested in having a conversation with you when you get back from vacation,” Glenn adds.
Glenn went out to Sassy Cow and sat down at their storefront and really gave them the lowdown on just what Just Bakery does and how they positively impact the community.
“There are parts to making ice cream that I soon learned about. She wasn’t necessarily interested in buying a huge amount of our brownies and putting them into their ice cream like at Greyston, but she was very open to doing a contest, which we ran in February, to create a Just Bakery flavor with their ice cream and some of our product,” Glenn says.
The list of possible cookie and brownie ingredients that could be used in the new flavor included cream cheese peanut butter with chocolate ganache, sugar cookie, cranberry oatmeal, monster chocolate chip and more. Over 200 people entered the contest to create a flavor and Glenn and Kasten-Olson sat down and chose their favorite.
“We will be announcing that on Saturday. It will be a combination of their ice cream and our product. The name of it that people came up with I absolutely love and you will see why on Saturday,” Glenn says.
“The other thing that came out of that meeting is that Sassy Cow has just started making ice cream sandwiches and they don’t even put them in grocery stores yet – they just have them in these little packages out of their storefront,” Glenn continues. “Kara asked: ‘What about your cookies for that?’ She came down to Just Bakery and she was really impressed with our product, especially our cookies. So that will be another collaboration.”
MUM’s Just Bakery is a 3-month course that provides classroom and hands-on vocational training. Upon graduation, a student can earn 12 college credits and be certified by Wisconsin Bakers Association( WBA). Just Bakery makes a wide range of products including cookies, brownies, morning buns, morning glory muffins, cinnamon rolls, white bread, multi-grain bread, cinnamon bread, rye bread, zucchini bread, parmesan pesto bread, pumpkin bread, coffee cakes, and more.
In 2017, Just Bakery moved into their new commercial-grade kitchen on 1704 Thierer Road, not far from Madison’s East Towne Mall. Last February, they opened up a storefront there where they are able to sell all of their delicious homemade goods.
“We’re always trying to get more and more people out to the storefront,” Glenn says. “Saturday seems to be our busy day.
At this Saturday’s ice cream reveal, there will be tours for people who want to see what the Just Bakery facility is all about. The storefront will be selling quarts of the new flavor and ice cream sandwiches.
“We’ll be having some samples of some new things that we’re doing but mostly it will be a chance to talk about our new collaboration and meet some of the students at Just Bakery,” Glenn says. “We really want to let the community know that Sassy Cow and Just Bakery are working together and that Sassy Cow really believes in their community and what Just Bakery stands for and that people deserve a second, third and fourth chance and that people can change.
“I think it’s going to be a really uplifting and feel-good day,” she adds. “This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between two groups that will definitely benefit from it and believe in their community.”