Listen, when you hear the word “wholesome,” we know that cupcakes and donuts aren’t the first foods that come to mind. But at Tori’s Bakeshop, you’ll find natural and organic pastries that you can feel good about eating—the eco-friendly cafe takes pride in their high-quality ingredients, sourcing them thoughtfully and attempting to produce as little waste as possible. Below, owner Tori Vaccher discusses her business.
How did you become interested in organic baking?
When I became vegan, I started looking at the ingredients in my food to make sure it was free of animal products and byproducts. For the first time, I was truly examining the products I consumed and where they were made. Focusing on what’s organic is a natural way to make ingredient-reading easier. It also helped me automatically avoid both pesticides and GMO products, which became incredibly important as my diet became primarily composed of fruits, vegetables, and tofu.
Also, part of the reason I became vegan was for environmental motives; caring for the soil, and for the farmers who work the soil, and even for pastured animals that other people choose to eat, is so important. I wanted to reduce artificial ingredients and waste overall, and pesticides are both of these things. When I turned my lifestyle into a business, it was only natural for me to work with what I wanted to eat, and what I wanted to share with other people. Baking with organic ingredients is far more expensive, but what we make tastes so much better and affects people’s bodies in more positive ways than their conventional cousins.
Describe some of your efforts to be environmentally friendly at the Bakeshop.
Environmentally friendly efforts start with our organic ingredients. We buy in bulk to reduce packaging and transportation. We use a lot of repurposed items in our design such as wood, whisks, jars, and energy-efficient LED lighting. All of our to-go containers are compostable. We donate most of our food that does not get served to a local organization that feeds the homeless. What we can’t pass on gets composted instead of put in the garbage. About ninety percent of our waste is either recycled or composted. In our new Canary District location, our windows provide most of the light and warmth we need.
What new treats can we look out for this winter?
In the New Year, we want to work with more natural sweeteners beyond organic, unrefined cane sugar. We want to try focusing on organic coconut sugar, and maybe even monk fruit if we can serve it at an accessible cost. We’re working to make as many items soy-free as possible, to reduce one more allergen. We’ll be expanding our bread menu, offering baguettes and loaves. And we need to give our website some love, to help streamline our ordering and delivery system to further reduce energy waste. We’ll also be working with a new tea company that sources more of their ingredients locally, and blends teas in the neighborhood.
What do you love about the Canary District neighborhood where you just opened your second location?
We love the green space, large sidewalks, and how easy it is to get to work on our bicycles. It’s close to the Don trails as well as the lakefront trails. There is a sense of kinship with the other local, independent businesses. We work hard to support each other as locals find this new community. Many people still imagine it’s an empty wasteland; we met a lady who said she spent time in the 1980s planting potatoes in the ground because she thought it would help suck the waste out that had poisoned the land. (When we asked her what she did with the poisoned potatoes, she said she fed them to local raccoons to try and diminish their pesty population!) So it is a wild, new adventure, creating a totally revitalized space from the neighborhood’s inception, and helping foster its growth. We’re looking forward to seeing a full year of seasons through our enormous floor-to-ceiling windows.