By JENNA FEAR
Every family has one – at least one.
Grandma’s recipe for stuffing, better than anything out of a box. The way mom always had a special topping for a thanksgiving dish or the perfect way that dad always knew how to cook a turkey.
Katie Wollgast, a baker at Suger Grove Growers in Troy, has perfected her own family’s recipes over many years spent baking.
Wollgast got her start when she was just a little girl; she remembers standing on a chair at the counter next to her mother in the kitchen as they made pies.
In her teens, she got into baking on her own and started experimenting with different recipes.
Her grandfather lived and farmed next door to where she grew up and frequently would bring over produce from his harvests.
“We would have so much, way too much for just one family,” Katie said. “So I tried different recipes to make different things with all of it.”
As a result of years of trying different recipes and finding what she likes best, she’s found just the right mix to make the pumpkin pies and dinner rolls sold at Sugar Grove.
Baking is just a part of the family business at Sugar Grove, and it always has been. The business started way back in 1979 when Ellyn and Bill Theobald, parents of current owner Bob Theobald, started selling things out of a road stand. In 1987, they opened the store and Ellyn started selling her three signature breads: banana nut, pumpkin and zucchini. They still use her recipes at Sugar Grove and roll Ellyn’s three breads out according to the season.
Bob can’t remember a time he wasn’t involved in the bakery. Whether it was working at the store or on the 10,000-square-foot of greenhouse the family owns, he was by his parents’ side working at the business.
Now he, his wife Alana Fravell, Katie and Bill run the whole show. Along with baking pies and rolls for Thanksgiving and having those signature breads in stock, they also work to sell produce from the farm, like 15 different varieties of tomatoes, 16 pepper varieties and 10 different kinds of squash, according to the season. Stocks of candy made in-house and honey and jams made locally also line the shelves.
Bob said that Sugar Grove Growers is a unique place that has been a staple in the community for many years.
“When people bring their families in from out of town, they take them here and to Hechler’s Hardware,” Bob said. Troy is a town that, no matter how much it continues to grow, there are many staples for locals to roam back to that make it feel small and familiar. Sugar Grove Growers has been one of those since ’79, and the people there want to bring joy through the Thanksgiving season and beyond through the fixings that have been brought up through their families’ generations.