Berenbaum’s Bakery Stand
Somewhere near the Farmer’s Market
with contributions from TIF of Carpe Durham
Wandering into the Cookery’s open house last week, I stumbled across a tasty display of baked goods.
Berenbaum’s, the sign said, and I soon found out from this little bakery stand’s owner, is usually set up somewhere near the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, though he may be taking up space on the same stretch of asphalt at the Cookery once in a while, too.
Ari, the owner, bakes his goods out of the 9th Street Bakery, where he used to work. He’s operating on a pay-what-you-want premise, counting on the customers to decide what they think his goods are worth. If the offerings this evening are typical of his offerings,
I think they are worth a fair bit! Yes, there are prices on that blackboard, no doubt to help the clueless folks like me make a decision on what to pay. As TIF explained, “Berenbaum’s Bakery is a sliding scale food concept providing fresh baked goods at a price that Ari Berenbaum, founder and owner of the bakery, hopes everyone can afford. Each week, Ari is stationed at the Durham’s Farmers Market providing baked treats from bread to cookies to Durhamites who are often confused by the concept of a sliding scale. In some ways, his concept feeds the stomach as well as the mind, as he drops knowledge about social dynamics in Durham and other communities in the process of being ‘developed.’ Ari brings awareness to such dynamics, not by judging folks or beating them over the head with them. His subtle, yet undeniably powerful approach, in my humble opinion, is delicately direct–and I love it.”
Per TIF, on last Thursday, Ari and his crew set up a table at The Cookery’s Open House event. They sold cheese biscuits, Irish soda bread, chocolate chip cookies, and coffee to the mass of over 300 attendees. They sold out in just over an hour, despite the event being a two-hour soiree. Plus, a super-crowded food rodeo is not the best place for deep conversation on economic principle—you can get plenty of that on his blog.
I tried a little sample of the cheddar biscuits—large, fluffy, and cheddary, of course. I also took home a piece of the Irish Soda bread.
This reminded me less of other soda bread I’ve had and more of what I’d call the American version of a scone, though with wheat flour rather than white. I thought it fantastic, especially the sweet crunch of the outside shell and the tasty raisins. TIF’s opinion was “The Irish soda bread was hearty, not too sweet, and sprinkled with plump raisins.” She also tried the chocolate chip cookies,
which she found “buttery and tender–just like a chocolate chip cookie should be.”
Berenbaum’s has also offered other unusual-round-these-parts goods like hamentashen in the past. He sounds like a baker/experimenter, so I’m sure you’ll find unique items at the bakery stand when you happen upon it. If you’d rather not just wander until you find it, and you live in Watts-Hillandale or Old West Durham, you can get a pound of Berenbaum’s baked goods delivered by bike every Saturday morning. Head here for more details.by