Following her grandfather's footsteps, Walhalla baker brings goods to Pembina County
Anderson is the owner and founder of Leyden Country Market, a bakery she runs out of her two-stall garage at home in Walhalla.
WALHALLA, N.D. — Wherever Kristie Anderson hosts a pop-up bakery event, a line is sure to form. Some customers come carrying the memory of her grandfather’s bakery, others are new patrons who have never had a taste of the smokies, doughnuts or cookies she puts a week’s worth of work into making. But, all walk away with a sweet treat.
Anderson is the owner and founder of Leyden Country Market, a bakery she runs out of her two-stall garage at home in Walhalla. About twice monthly she holds pop-up events where she sells her goods at a business in the area.
Anderson’s baking journey began with her grandfather, Don Burke. A member of the USS Enterprise’s kitchen crew in World War II, one of Burke’s duties was baking for the soldiers aboard the ship. When he returned home around 1946 he decided to open Burke’s Bakery in Cavalier. His children, one of whom being Anderson’s mother, grew up in the bakery helping him with his work.
When Anderson was little her grandfather showed her how to do things around the bakery, including teaching her about the equipment. When her parents took over in 1990, the business grew, delivering buns and breads to schools and grocery stores across Pembina County. Anderson started to run the bakery herself in 1998, but it was hard to keep up with the demands of a baker’s job with her first son on the way.
“We go in at midnight and bake and then I go home and do the book work and all the accounting and the payroll and that kind of stuff,” she said. “And it just got to be too much and I didn’t want to be bringing a newborn into work at midnight every night.”
Anderson made the decision to close the bakery in 2000 and sell the equipment, but a few years ago the idea of a bakery crept back into her mind as she considered what she wanted to do in her retirement.
“Few years ago I decided that I wanted to do something in retirement,” she said. “I didn’t know what, really. The only thing that I truly know how to do is either bake or make jellies and that kind of stuff, so I decided that maybe I’d start a little bit of a bakery when I retired from my current job.”
When the pandemic hit, Anderson was seven years away from retirement and decided to start putting equipment together for her bakery. She bought some baking equipment from a nearby restaurant that wasn’t using it in November of 2021, as well as a new convection oven and doughnut fryer. She sealed off the doors to her two-stall garage attached to her home and got to work.
The first event Anderson attended was a holiday vendor show in Walhalla at the Legion, and she was amazed at the support she received.
“I had a great crowd,” she said. “I was amazed at how much support there was there.”
Last spring, Anderson held her first pop-up event at the Nodak Insurance Company building in Cavalier, where she almost immediately sold out.
A typical pop-up event starts with Anderson confirming with a business that she’s good to sell that day on location. Once the time and place are confirmed, Anderson plans out the week before. She prepares dough and frosting and other materials throughout the week. The majority of the recipes come from her grandfather, but others are her mother’s or her own. The day before the event, Anderson starts baking the products that hold well, such as cookies, smokies and other goods. The morning of the event, she gets up early and makes the doughnuts.
“We’ll start at 7 (o’clock) in the morning, and usually I’ll crawl into bed about 11 (o’clock), 11:30 (p.m.) that night,” she said. “And then I’m up at two, anywhere between 2 and 3 (o’clock) in the morning to do doughnuts. … So it’s a long week and it’s a long couple of days, but it’s worth it.”
Anderson mostly works with her father when she’s baking, though her mother and husband help out, too.
“My husband’s trying to learn the ropes,” she said. “Slowly but surely, we’re teaching him baking.”
Once everything is ready, Anderson gets the goods loaded into her trailer and heads off to the pop-up’s location. She officially starts the events at 10 or 11 a.m., usually getting home around 3 p.m.
This effort that goes into each pop-up event accompanies the efforts Anderson already puts into her current job with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She previously completed custom orders, but found this to be too taxing on her schedule. She also used to deliver doughnuts to a company in Grand Forks each month, but the time she had to take off of work was dwindling and she decided she had to stop after six months.
Leyden Country Market has a few noticeably popular products in its doughnuts and smokies, though it depends on the day and what Anderson has made which products go faster.
With five years until retirement, Anderson isn’t sure of what direction she hopes for her bakery to go in.
“I haven’t decided if it’s best to have an actual storefront where I can move the whole operation into a storefront, or to put a building here on the farm that can be certified as a commercial kitchen and operate out of there and just continue what I’ve been doing by just showing up at different locations and setting up a table,” she said. “I’m kind of at a standstill right now.”
Anderson plans for her next event to be on April 8, the day before Easter, at Do It Best Home & Lumber in Cavalier from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those interested in attending the pop-up event can check for updates at https://www.facebook.com/LeydenCountryMarket .