The Local Flavors farm-to-table restaurant series continues tomorrow at Kelly’s Bakery and Café where the menu will feature roasted chicken salad on a pretzel roll, a roasted veggie pita, applesauce and sweet peach tea, all made with ingredients from Central Illinois farms. Owner Kelly Mathy says farms who supply her use practices associated with organic farming but ingredients are not certified as organic.
"In order for land to be organic, it has to be pesticide, insecticide and chemical-free for 40 years and it has to be certified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). That's something farmers one, can't afford to do or two, don't have time to do," according to Mathy. But, she uses farmers who adhere to organic farming practices, including Appleridge Farm in Gridley, Hospelhorn Farm in Carlock and Cloverhill Farm on Ziebarth Road in rural Bloomington.
Mathy believes fresh is best. Texting helps her gets what she needs easier than when she started 11 years ago and when produce or poultry booms, she gets creative. "We had a lot of local eggs and I said, 'What are we going to do with these?' My mom said, 'Why don't you make egg salad?' so we did and now it's one of the most popular items on our cold sandwich menu." Another farmer had excessive amounts of apples so Mathy came up with applesauce that is also a hot seller. Her secret is using honey from Sasse's Apiary.
How It Began
Mathy started by selling cookies out of her house but in 2005 decided to transition to a bakery and café, thinking baked goods would lead all sales. Instead, lunch has become the leader as Kelly’s grew into a destination for busy professionals who favor her focus on locally-made, locally-sourced products. She makes gluten-free baked goods, but mostly for her catering clients because they don't sell enough out of the deli case.
Salad Your Way
Since Kelly's began, finding locally sourced produce, poultry and other proteins has become easier. Now, Mathy works with farmers on informing what they'll plant. But, she recently decided to become one of Bloomington-Normal's first Salad Your Way vendors. The website allows consumers to customize salads built in glass mason jars. "I didn't know I would be taking this on at the start of the season, " she worried out loud. It has been a successful venture, with new customers signing on every week.
You won't find any fried food at Kelly's Bakery and Cafe because they don't have a fryer. The restaurant, that features local art on the walls, also does NOT have a stove. "We've gotten to be pretty creative with the way we cook things. We've got a panini grill. We have our oven. We have some soup cookers. We have a hot plate so we can melt marsh mellows, " Mathy lamented. "But, when you don't have those things, you have to get pretty creative. We're pretty good about coming up with solutions that work."
Kelly's Roasted Veggie Pita Recipe
2 firm tomatoes
2 Bell Peppers, seeded
1 Large, Red Onion
Pre-cut Black Olives
Dice all veggies into bite-size pieces. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus two mashed gloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Coat the veggies and then place evenly on a large baking sheet or roasting or cake pan. Place in an oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the vegetables. Turn occasionally.
Coat humus on the inside of pita or tortilla wrap and fill with the veggies. Delicious.
Mathy says if you have left-overs, they'll hold up in the frig and can be served the next day as a side dish, hot or cold.
Learn more about the local foods events and see the schedule.