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Discover South Fork Bakery's Cookies, Brownies, And Pies: A Bakery Empowering Adults With Special Needs

T.J. Clemente

South Fork Bakery's Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Photo Courtesy of South Fork Bakery)

Within twenty seconds of talking with South Fork Bakery's Shirley Ruch you understand her commitment to the community and to her employees, especially her Special needs employees who most likely provide the purest love that goes into the bakery's products. If you have ever tasted a South Fork Bakery cookie, brownie or pie, you understand. Here is what she had to say about the bakery she started just in 2016 and now is a 501C3 business.

Shirley started off by saying, "We took a big hit, along with everyone else, with regular sales. Our sales are down 40 percent because many stores are not taking our products at the moment for a variety of reasons; some didn't open up, some just have little windows outside, and our products are a sit on the counter type of grab and go sort of thing so if they are not open inside, they are not taking our product. Some of our grants [five] that we applied for all came back saying that they are shifting their funds into the medical area for COVID or just not doing it because they are low on funds."

So, what's the plan now? "We are reaching out to other avenues," she said. "It's been a struggle. Our kitchen was closed until June 16, and we were very fortunate that it did open back up and we were able to get everyone back to work to bake for the markets, because we are in three local farmers markets." Shirley was thankful sales are up at the farmers market and that's helping.

She initiated a guest employee program to help the employee at the farmers market and is investigating professional sales help with her Board of Directors. Shirley is committed to not only saving the jobs of her ten Special needs employees, but growing those much-needed jobs for the community.

The South Fork Bakery team. (Photo Courtesy of South Fork Bakery)

Shirley Ruch's full-time job is a speech and language pathologist with a private practice in Sag Harbor. She has worked with children with autism for over 30 years. She saw a need to create jobs for adults with Special needs so they could contribute to the local community and she stepped up and did something about it. Now she needs a little help. Purchasing South Fork Bakery products is a good start for those who want to help. Through their website, www.southforkbakery.org, you can learn more about the South Fork Bakery and what their story is, as well as what they sell and how and where you can purchase their goods.

Shirley is excited about the South Fork Bakery's late success with mini pies for those who perhaps won't need a full-size pie. Their brownies and cookies are legendary for their amazing taste, and quite frankly the beautiful packaging they come in. It's as if each brownie, pie, and cookie, along with the other products, are beautifully wrapped in a way that displays the huge potent of love that created and baked them. "They love what they do," Shirley said of her staff. "I am sure that helps make everything taste so good."

South Fork Bakery products are not a low-cost product. However, when you purchase any of their products, please know that there are no short cuts, with no inferior artificial ingredients to maximize corporate profits used. Every product is made with only the best fresh local ingredients, made by local folks with the sales to help Special needs employees shine proudly as employed and productive members of their community. Shirley does pure angel work; she is taking on the challenge daily and hoping the community has the chance to enjoy one of their brownies, cookies, pies or other sweets. Every bite will taste even better as you sample the love, add to the love, and support the love. Happiness is a South Fork Bakery handmade treat.

For more information, visit www.southforkbakery.org.

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