History

Our History

At the Red Hen Baking Co. we are guided by a belief that pure, uncomplicated ingredients and the hands of skilled artisans are the building blocks for great food.

Randy purchased an oven from his former employer, Grand Central Bakery in Portland, OR, and drove it across the country in January of 1999.

Beginnings in Duxbury, Vermont

Red Hen Baking Company was established on September 1, 1999 on Route 100 in Duxbury. Randy George had been baking bread for several years, both in his home state of Maine as well as in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. When Randy and his (future) wife Eliza Cain decided to move back to Liza’s home turf in the Mad River Valley of Vermont, they did so with the intention of opening a bakery.

Fresh Local Bread

For the first 8 years in business, Red Hen focused almost exclusively on baking and delivering fresh bread to area stores and restaurants. From day 1, we have baked and delivered our bread 7 days a week. We have also stuck to our commitment to organic ingredients, which we have used since the beginning. We have been VOF certified organic since 2000. Soon after we got our start at the end of last century, we found that the Vermont community was even more supportive of our efforts than we had imagined they would be. By the end of our first year in business we had a staff of 8 working nearly around the clock every day of the week and our daily delivery area ranged from the Upper Valley of VT and NH on one end to the Burlington-area on the other. We became an established presence in the area’s many cooperative and independent food stores, our bread was beginning to appear at more and more of the area’s finest restaurants, and we became mainstays of the Montpelier and Waitsfield Farmers’ Markets. To this day, these venues still make up the core of our wholesale business.randy george loading dough at red hen baking

Middlesex Expansion

After 8 years of hard work in Duxbury and a seasoned staff of over 20 (many of whom are still with us today), we had the opportunity to move 5 miles down the road to the neighboring town of Middlesex. We established our new baking facility in a building constructed especially for our purposes with an attached café in a renovated building that housed the former Camp Meade Diner.

Our café has become known as a local destination and gathering place where people can enjoy not only the breads we are so well known for, but also our increasingly lauded pastries, sandwiches and soups. To supplement our own creations, we also feature beer, wine and specialty food from near and far.

Dedicated to the Very Best

Although we have grown considerably since our early days in Duxbury, we remain dedicated to creating the very best food from the best ingredients we can find. Over the years we have continually increased our usage of local wheat in our breads. Now that we make soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastries, we have been able to expand our support of local agriculture to include more farmers. Our dedicated staff now numbers over 40 and includes bakers, chefs, and baristas, as well as delivery, maintenance, and office personnel.

Randy and Liza are still involved in Red Hen’s daily operations, but who we are today has just as much to do with the contributions of our “barnyard animals” who, day in and day out, continue to help the Hen not only make the bread, but also craft a wide range of pastries, sandwiches and soups.