It is always a joy to meet with the vendors who participate in the Hollywood and Lloyd Farmers Markets. Like the local fresh produce, we welcome fresh new faces to the market. Last year we added SMALL Baking Company. Not only new to Hollywood and Lloyd Farmers Markets – the company and the owner, Joanna Strahm, are both new to Portland. But Joanna’s baked goods are tried and truly delicious.
A California native, Joanna grew up loving to bake, and probably knew at an early age that it was going to be her life’s passion. Her first memories go back to three years old, baking with her mom in the kitchen of their Palo Alto home. But it took a journey and time for her creative spirit to reach full bloom in the form of SMALL Baking Company. Joanna specializes in creating small-batch, whole grain baked goods using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Custom breakfast goodies, desserts, and other sweet treats for special occasions line the menu.
After graduating high school, Joanna left the Bay Area for the infamous party school Chico State University, where she met her husband and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Diplomas in hand and with high hopes they moved to San Francisco – the year 2008. It was a difficult time; the financial markets were in turmoil, companies weren’t hiring, and getting a job, any job was a miracle. So she took what she could find. One of her first jobs was working at a non-profit doing fundraising and development. Then she moved on to Task Rabbit when it was a startup. Joanna is not afraid of taking risks- and the learning from each experience helped to develop her entrepreneurial spirit. These jobs also confirmed something she knew in her heart:- sitting behind a desk was not for her.
Since baking kept calling her name, why not see what she could do to make her dream a reality. Enrolling at the well-known Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco, she knew that she was filling her soul’s desire. But what career choices are there for a fresh baker? Typically, bakers only have a couple of options: Large production kitchens that serve businesses such as hotels, catering, making pastries for fine dining; or the smaller, more personal bakeries. Joanna soon became an intern in the well-known Tartine Bakery, a destination for locals and tourists in San Francisco. Each day from breakfast to dinner, the bakery is in high gear. On an average day, between 600 and 1200 people are served out of the Guerrero Street storefront, so timid bakers need not apply. It was here she learned just how much she loved the smaller bakeries, serving a regular clientele, tourists, and those on a weekend excursion to San Francisco.
Upon leaving Tante Marie’s, Joanna jumped at the opportunity to work for a local shop, Batter Bakery. As a regular vendor at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Joanna discovered how much fun working the farmers markets could be. More than just selling the latest baked goods, it was a way to purchase weekly produce, find seasonal inspiration for new recipes, catch up with market customers and neighboring vendors, and enjoy a day of being outside.