Customers queue up for Blue Gate Farm Bakery’s coveted confections

After nearly one year in business, pastry chef Bruce Young of Blue Gate Farm Bakery shows off a tray of baguettes that, when baked, will sell out fast to customers of this thriving French bakery in Sharon.

Leila Hawken

Customers queue up for Blue Gate Farm Bakery’s coveted confections

SHARON — Local French pastry buffs do not mind a bit that the lines are sometimes long at the Blue Gate Farm Bakery in Sharon. After a few years of offering baked goods at a variety of area farmers’ markets, the bakery settled down and opened for business nearly a year ago.

Located on the Sharon side of the Housatonic River where Routes 7 and 4 meet, the bake shop is the work of pastry chef Bruce Young, along with his wife, Yobana, both owners of Blue Gate Farm in Warren. They paused for an interview on Thursday, March 21, after a busy day of preparation for Friday’s sales.

“We’re a small community in Warren,” said Bruce Young, who recalled the beginnings in 2020 at a farmers’ market behind the Warren General Store, later adding a similar farmers’ market in Washington Depot, and then others. Young grew up in Warren and he and Yobana still live there in his boyhood home that had been built by his father.

A Washington Montessori schoolteacher during the week, Yobana welcomes customers at the bakery on weekends. She also handles the bakery’s business details.

Transition from farmers’ markets to retail location came suddenly, according to Young, who recalled the day that he pulled into the gas station and convenience store that stands along Route 4 on the Sharon side of the river just west of Cornwall Bridge.

“I stopped for gas and ran into Liz Macaire, a long-time acquaintance,” he said. She pointed to the building across the road and recommended that he look at it. He remembered that she insisted that he needed to open his bakery there “immediately,” so 48 hours later, he was open for business.

“We haven’t had a slow day since we opened,” Young reported, pleased that the line of customers extends out the door, and that people are sometimes waiting in line before the bakery opens in the morning.

Baked goods are all baked on site. Breads include traditional, European, and the baguettes are done to French weight and size standards. Sourdough is naturally fermented. Multigrain and variations seasonally rotated.

Croissants are made on site. “I start with a scoop of flour, water and yeast, and very expensive French butter,” Young said. The French butter works the best for laminating pastry.

Hard rolls are made fresh every morning, Young said. “I cut and weigh and shape every one of them, about 85 each day.

“I’m pretty fast,” he added.

Young said that he arrives at the bakery each day at 3 a.m., working six days a week. The schedule is necessary in order to fill the bakery shelves with the variety that is sold on the busy weekends.

Area towns have their own designated rolls. “We always have a local roll,” he said. The Cornwall roll is topped with a pistachio ganache, for example.

On a Saturday, Young expects there to be seven types of breads available, and always baguettes. Blue Gate bakes varieties of tarts, and regional French specialty items, including short-crust pastry with black cherries, walnuts, or red plums as a few examples.

Delicate barquettes, shaped like small boats, are filled with lemon curd or fresh fruit as some of the choices. French caneles, local to the Bordeaux region, are a frequent feature.

“We have an astonishing variety,” Young said. “We do what we do best.”

The coffee comes from Sacred Grounds in Sherman. Choices include latte, cappuccino, or espresso. Hot chocolate is made with Lindt chocolate truffles topped with handmade marshmallows.

There is no indoor seating, but customers are welcome to find a spot outdoors to enjoy their purchases. Many summer season patrons walk over from the Housatonic Meadows campgrounds for warm pastries and coffee in the mornings, or some prefer the fresh breakfast sandwiches.

“I’ve been cooking since I was 14,” Young said. He lived in England for nine years working for a French chef whose father was a baker from whom he learned much. He noted that he has been largely self-taught and is always learning.

An unusual companion to a bakery operation, a design and décor note is added by Ivy’s Collective, stylishly occupying the other half of the building’s interior. In high spirits from having acquired pastry before the bakery sells out, visitors can shift gears and view an array of antiques and collectibles. Prices from a few dollars to higher. Ivy’s is owned by former New Yorkers, Ivy and Daniel Kramp, and managed by Liz Macaire, merging talents to create an ever-changing display in an unrushed country environment.

Both the Blue Gate Bakery and Ivy’s Collective are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (the bakery closes earlier if things sell out).

Photo contributed

Sample baked goods offered by the Blue Gate Farm Bakery in Sharon. The rolls with the pistachio ganache (green) topping are called “Cornwall rolls.”

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