The Bagel Lady began her holey journey in 2009 as an earnest student at Virginia Tech in Dr. Conforti’s Food Selection and Preparation class, a mandatory class for Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise students. All her life, she’d be learning from her grandmother Madoline how to craft yummy baked goods, but in Dr. Conforti’s class she finally learned the science of starches, the glories behind gliadin and glutenin. It was here that she first came across the beginnings of The Recipe. She filed it away with her school notebooks and carried it with her until its usefulness would be made known.
Flash forward to 2011: A good friend asked if she’d be willing to bake bread for her each week. She forwarded the opportunity to several friends and acquaintances and soon had a veritable list of bread CSA customers. However, one day… One day they all learned the truth: She could make bagels. Not just any bagels, not just rolls with holes, but REAL bagels. Soon that’s all anyone ever wanted. Professors started placing orders for classes; soon community members found out, too.
When she graduated in 2012 and moved to Montana for a farm apprenticeship, she took her bagel trade with her and sold at the Clark Fork Farmers Market in Missoula. By letting fresh, farm ingredients guide her flavor creations, she found she could clear 8 dozen in two hours at Fialky Farms’ little flower and produce stand in the corner.
When the growing season ended, she decided to return to Blacksburg and let her bagel business grow. She became The Bagel Lady.
She found some generous downtown business owners willing to rent her kitchen space (I love you, Benny’s!) and started vending at the Blacksburg Farmers Market. She thought everything was going swimmingly, that her business was the best it could be–until one fateful December day, she met…