It didn’t take long for me to realize that baking was my creative outlet, and I gathered so much joy from seeing people enjoy eating the foods I had created. As time went on we had three small children and my passion for baking got put aside. As our children grew a bit older I found the time to revisit my passion for baking and decided to turn it from a hobby into a business. I started taking classes to hone in my skills and then I took an artisan bread baking class. It changed my life forever. I was passionate about baking but baking bread was an out of this world experience for me. I knew it was something I wanted to share with the world!
As a business besides sharing my baked goods, I knew that I was passionate about weaving myself into the fibers of this community and making a difference here. We have an incredible community where people truly care about one another, where we are willing to sacrifice for and accept each other even in our differences. I think we all have an inherent desire to leave this world a better place than we found it.
This is just the beginning, I hope you’ll join me on this journey!
I was lucky enough to grow up in the community of Franklin, nestled among the mountains down a windy back road. I was not one of those children who finds their passion at a young age and knows how they will spend their days fulfilling their purpose. In fact, my mother (a pretty decent baker herself) recalls many different occasions where I swore up and down that I would only marry a man if he could cook for me because I hated being in the kitchen that much.
I met the man of my dreams at the age of 19. He was a local, though we had never met, as he was 5 years older than I was. We, being young and naive, did not appreciate this community and were actively pursuing another town to call home. We eventually got married and 1 year later he opened up a retail outdoor company in our community, Outdoor 76. We were here for good. As time went on we began to fall in love with the place we grew up, and knew we wanted to make a difference in this incredible community we were so fortunate to call home.
My path towards being a baker really began when we first got married. If we wanted to eat, cooking and subsequently baking were something I was just going to have to figure out.
We get asked often “Where does the name Bent Willow come from?” One definition of the word willow is “someone who will be etched into your heart mind and soul forever.” We wanted to embody this as a business. We added ‘bent’ to the name because we feel it helps celebrate our diversity. Just like a bend in the branch of a tree we want to highlight all the ways we are more diverse than alike.
The oldest ancient grain, Einkorn, waned into relative nonexistence until 1991 when a pair of hikers discovered the mummified body of a 5,000 year old iceman in the Italian alps. In his stomach were the remains of his last meal. You guessed it. Einkorn!
Bethany worked construction for 4 years starting at the age of 17. Yep. Power-tools, hauling wood, mixing cement, tool belt and all.
Walt Disney shot a movie in our community of Macon County in 1956. The film was called The Great Locomotive Chase and it brought in $1.7 million to the box office.
Bethany is deathly afraid of roller coasters, spiders, small spaces and a world with no chocolate!
Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread each year.
Bethany's first loves: a really sappy love movie, consuming all the chocolate and coffee she can get her hands on and totally nerding out on documentaries.
A massive Dutch famine during WWII helped discover celiac disease. Sick children recovered when wheat was scarce, but fell ill again once they resumed eating gluten.