An Open Letter from Blue Bottle to the Dolores Park Community
My name is Caitlin Williams Freeman; I'm the Pastry Chef at Blue Bottle and the wife of Blue Bottle owner, James Freeman. I'm sorry that I can't attend today's meeting, but I'm hoping to give you a bit of information about the pastries we plan to sell at our cart in Dolores Park.
A little about me: I owned a cake shop and a candy shop here in San Francisco called Miette until 2008. After selling my business, I had intended to help my husband start a pastry program at Blue Bottle and move on to open another business. Blue Bottle has been such a wonderful work environment, with such excellent benefits, that I have stayed on and am happily occupying my position two years later. Our pastry team has grown as the company has added new retail locations; at first it was just me as the baker and delivery driver and we now employee two full time bakers, one part time baker and a full time delivery driver to handle the pastries going out daily to our retail locations. I am very proud that we are able to bake beautiful cookies and cakes daily for our customers and that we produce almost all food we sell in our shops in-house (the exceptions being Humphry Slocombe ice cream for affogatos).
I believe strongly in using the very best ingredients I can find. At the very minimum we use organic, but we really prefer to work with local artisans whenever possible. Our flour, eggs, nuts, rice, butter, dairy, sugars, maple syrup and oats are all organic. I buy our fruit and herbs at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market and the Tuesday Berkeley Farmer's Market, we buy our chocolate from Michael Recchiuti, our alcohols and spirits are from St. George Spirits in Alameda and Magnolia Brewpub in the Haight, our spices are all the very highest quality from Le Sanctuaire here in San Francisco and our olive oil is from Stonehouse in the Ferry Building.
Using these beautiful ingredients does have its cost, but it was my goal upon starting this pastry program to price everything at the very minimum possible. We aim to have a 25% cost of goods and I price our pastries directly from that number. We are able to keep our costs down and lessen our impact on the environment by reducing any packaging associated with the delivery and sales of our products. Any packaging we do have is either compostable (our paper cups for our cakes and coffee filters we use to serve to our customers) or re-usable (our mason jars for yogurt parfaits and granola).
Our product line is primarily small cakes and cookies priced between $1 and $3.50. We do offer granola and yogurt parfaits as a more substantial "breakfast" but, because my specialty is sweets, that's the focus of our food program. A list of our current products is as follows:
- Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles, made with Spanish saffron and Tahitian vanilla bean
- Double Chocolate chip, made with Scharffen Berger cocoa powder and Recchiuti chocolate
- Rosemary Olive oil shortbread, made with Stonehouse olive oil
- Biscotti Regina, made with Stonehouse olive oil and St. George Spirits Absinthe
- Biscotti Pizzetta, made with Spanish saffron and almonds
- Bolognese Rice Cake, made with Arborio rice and St. George Spirits barrel aged brandy
- Gingerbread, made with fresh ginger, frankincense and myrrh
- Fruit Buckle, made with seasonal fruit and topped with streusel
- Stout cake, made with Magnolia Brewpub Oatmeal Stout and topped with caraway streusel
- Yogurt parfait, Straus yogurt with seasonal fruit compote
- Granola, with pecans, walnuts and maple syrup
I would like to conclude by re-affirming that, yes, this really is a mom and pop operation. We have been lucky to grow the business to it's potential and have an audience for the coffee and pastries that we really love to make. I'm thrilled that Blue Bottle has given us a place to make friends in our favorite neighborhoods, employ outstanding and dedicated people, and use and support the services of very talented local artisans. We are delighted that the business has been able to grow enough to allow us to live in San Francisco and have our son attend the Synergy School in the Mission. On a very selfish level, I really look forward to being a customer at our cart in Dolores Park, enjoying the park with a cup of coffee, our son and our dogs.
Thanks for your time, attention and concern,