What started out as a Mennonite home bakery 21 years ago has become a full-fledged, big-time restaurant selling 500 to 600 sandwiches a day in South Boston.
Windmill Farms Bake Shop is unique in this area, a restaurant run and managed by a Mennonite family with a number of Amish employees as well. Women in conservative dress and traditional bonnets are among those politely taking orders and serving bread, brownies, doughnuts, pies, and other fare.
Why is the place mobbed at lunchtime? Besides the quality of the food, “we would rather sell a lot of product at a low price than a few things at high prices,“ says the manager, Josh Good.
The growth of “The Windmill,” as it is also called, is a lesson in how to gradually transform a start-up business into a community institution. Good’s parents began baking goods in their kitchen on Thursday and selling them on Friday and Saturday from their garage (with a windmill in the yard) on Wolf Trap Road. “Then we took a leap of faith and moved full time into the Hupps Mill Plaza Shopping Center Tuesday through Saturday,” Good says. Later, they moved from a small corner in the mall to a larger store and then annexed the store space next door.
One of the store’s attractions is its unique cooking style. “ “It has a homemade touch to it. A lot of the cooking is old Mennonite recipes, things passed on from my grandmother down to my mother and so forth,” Good says.
As a Mennonite family, the Goods “have strived to live by the Bible. We sing together, pray together and eat together, a high priority in Mennonite circle,” Good says. The three or four Amish employees came on board about eight years ago as the bakery expanded. All are from the Amish community in northern Halifax County. “It is true that our similar lifestyles do cater well to working together in the kitchen,” Good says. “The baking is similar, and our values in church and family life are similar.”