The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Holly Willdrick/Quill
R & D Foods Bakery - La Harpe
R & D Foods Bakery has been in operation for 28 years. In the beginning Bonnie Chapin ran the bakery for years, with several helping her every other day. The bakery started with donuts, cookies, breads, and pies, but later specialty cakes were added. Today, the bakery is run by Pam VanFleet, who has been working in the bakery for 18 years. She is relieved by her daughter-in-law Valerie VanFleet. The do all of the decorating and baking at this time coming into the shop in the wee hours of the morning in order to have warm bakery items for customers by the time the store opens at 7 a.m. seven days a week.
Pam said she does about four to five cakes a week along with the donuts, breads, cookies, and pies that are baked fresh daily.
"Cakes are always a challenge," she said. "People have things in their minds that they want and it is sometimes hard to transfer that into frosting."
Pam said the baker is much too busy for the challenge of a large wedding cake, but they have done small two-tier cakes for anniversaries. They now can make edible screen prints to place on cakes. You can purchase just the print if you would like to place it on your own cake. They also have single serve novelty cakes for holidays and special events.
Pam said graduations, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are especially challenging and with Easter coming up, they sometimes are asked to do donuts, cookies, or bunny cupcakes for school parties.
Whatever the challenge, know a lot of hours and work have gone into making these items while most of us sleep. It is another business that makes La Harpe a special place to live.