BY JENNIFER CROWLEY
Last February when Wheatland’s long-time bakery, A Bakery Creation, closed its doors, locals suffered withdrawal from the shop’s delicious scratch-made baked goods. Owners Stephen and Gladys Luce who had run the bakery since the 1990s (including daily wake up calls at 3:30 AM) were hopeful they could sell the business, but ended up retiring before a buyer emerged.
Only weeks before the Luces closed down the bakery, another family living hundreds of miles away in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, were about to undergo their own major life changes. Joel (age 40) and Emily (age 34) Reed along with their five children that today range in age from one to ten, were preparing to relocate to Rochester to pursue new employment opportunities. Additionally, the Reeds were hopeful to get involved with Rochester’s sizable deaf and hearing impaired community since Joel himself is deaf.
While Emily had dreamed of having her own bakery since she was a child, such an endeavor was not in the cards when they initially moved to the area. But after finding it challenging to land stable employment, the bakery enterprise that Emily had always imagined seemingly fell into the Reeds’ laps, as if by some divine intervention.
“After Joel and I got married we started talking about what we could do to work together as a family and at the same time bless others. As our family expanded we longed to provide a place where hearts could connect. Couples, families, and friends; a place where children would be welcome and mothers could feel relaxed. Though we had not come here to start a business, once we learned about the opportunity in Wheatland, we checked it out and decided it was meant to be. That is the genesis of Golden Harvest Bakery & Café,” explained Emily.
Golden Harvest opened its doors in March after undergoing renovations to change the layout of the shop to accommodate a café-style setting and new customer offerings. While those with a sweet tooth will devour the donuts, pies, cupcakes and more that Golden Harvest bakes fresh each day, others in search of savory soups, sandwiches and cold cuts will enjoy the deli-esque atmosphere.
The Reed family has relied on the power of prayer often during its unexpected entrepreneurial journey. “We even prayed about a name for the bakery, then John 4:35 came to our minds… ‘Jesus said look up and see that field is ripe and ready for harvest.’ And as we thought about all of the flour we will work with, we imagined golden wheat fields, and thus Golden Harvest was born,” according to Emily.
The Reed’s vision for Golden Harvest has been enthusiastically embraced by many of their family and friends (including some new ones) who have all pitched in to help make the bakery a success.
“The Luces have given us so much encouragement despite our desire to change up the business. Gladys has been wonderful with advice on the baking aspect. In fact she has agreed to come in and teach us some basic cake decorating tips,” said Emily.
As for the reviews after being open only a matter of weeks, suffice it to say, the Reeds are off to a very strong start. The community’s baked-goods-withdrawal has ceased as evidenced by the many positive customer comments left on the bakery’s Facebook page. Among the best sellers so far are donuts, apple fritters, molasses cookies, soft pretzels, pretzel hot dogs, cold brew coffee, dinner rolls, and the deli roast beef.
Golden Harvest Bakery & Café, located at 9048 Union Street in Wheatland, is ASL-friendly and eagerly welcomes members of the hearing impaired community. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM; Saturday the bakery is open 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Check out Golden Harvest on Facebook for menu updates!