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May 1, 2013 01:36 PM

Lansdale Farmers Market Bars Alice Bakery

A few days ago I received an email message from Lansdale Farmers Market noting the opening dates and other information. I tried to learn who would be the vendors this year but they did not have a list yet.

My two favorite booths are Mainly Mushrooms (based in Doylestown) and Alice Bakery and Confectionary (based in North Wales).

Mainly Mushrooms is unusual because he has all types of rare mushrooms, including fresh porcinis that are very, very difficult to find anywhere else in the suburbs. The quality is superior and the knowledge of Chris, the owner, extensive.

Alice Bakery and Confectionary is also unusual, they bake bread better than any in the county and the equal of any in the city. They are also a superior patisserie making among the finest croissants and French pastries in the county and the equal of any in the city. They are probably the only bakery in the area to use King Arthur Flour which is more expensive and high fat butter and all natural flavorings etc. We are more than lucky to have them in this community. Furthermore, their success, and they are very successful, is all the more amazing because two other bakeries in North Wales have recently gone out of business.

I went into Alice Bakery today to pick up a baguette and mentioned the Lansdale Farmers Market. I was told by Dennis Darr, the owner and baker, that the farmers market had declined his entry this year. I was absolutely blown away. Alice Bakery has been at the market for the past two years (I think since the bakery opened). Mr.Darr showed me a letter he received from the farmers market confirming their rejection. Honestly, the letter was cold and unsigned and gave no reasons for the rejection. First of all it is a less than smart decision to exclude one of the finest bakeries in the county and second of all shocking that the operators of the market did not have the common decency to contact Mr.Darr personally to explain their decision. Amazingly, not only did they reject his entry they cashed his check for several hundred dollars.

The fact of the matter is that Lansdale Farmers Market is not the greatest. I go every week because it is near my home. But, there is nary a farmer that is certified to sell organic produce and the only other baker is very, very commercial.

It ain’t right!!!!!!!

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  1. That certainly is NOT right! Alice Bakery really is a fabulous bakery. I had a number of friends with milestone birthdays recently and every custom cake they made was raved about. I am not going to visit the Lansdale Farmers Market this year. We are getting a new one in Ambler beginning 6/1. I can't say enough good things about the product Alice Bakery puts out. Plus Dennis and his staff are first rate people. SMH. They had better return his funds!

    1. That's crazy! Alice's always did a great amount of business at that market. I wonder if Tabora (now with a location in Lansdale) had any influence on the decision.

      What good is the farmer's butter if there's no crusty baguette to accompany it? I'm officially done with that less-than-stellar farmers market. I guess I'll be seeing Crazy in Ambler.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gaffk

        I'm extremely disappointed in this decision by Lansdale FM. My wife and I live 2 blocks from the FM and we hit it at least 2, 3 times a month. I don't ever recall the Alice tent missing from the market as many times as was noted in their "evidence" to reject Alice's entry. Dennis has consistently made the best quality pastries and breads in the area, and I wouldn't be surprised if the FM suffers because of their decision to bar Alice from their premises.

        I wouldn't be surprised if Tabora had an influence in the decision, I remember asking Dennis during his first year why he didn't have any of his wonderful cupcakes for sale at the market, and he said there were certain "rules" that he had to abide by. Basically, since another vendor was selling certain sweets, he wasn't allowed to. However, that other vendor was still allowed to sell their bread products, so who knows what the actual rules were. Although my wife and I are in walking distance to the Lansdale FM, I'm fairly certain we'll be visiting it less frequently this year. It's definitely not one of the best farmers markets around, and my wife and I visit a lot of the local FMs for quality produce and goods. We love visiting Dennis and his staff at his brick and mortar establishment in North Wales, it's a very inviting, comfortable place, and I urge all of you to make the drive if you can. Good to hear Ambler is having a FM, we won't mind making the drive to check out that place too!

        Good luck Dennis! You don't need the Lansdale Farmers Market. Go ahead and try and get into one of the other local farmers markets and get your tasty treats out to more customers who might not be aware of your quality products!

        1. re: wubar

          Stopped by Alice about four fourty pm today and I guess the Wizard had left Oz for the day but I did see a sign on the door promoting the Ambler Farmer's Market.
          I love that Alice is open til six pm tues-fri. A really friendly lady cheerfully warmed up pain au chocolat for my friend and I and made me some tea. We also devoured a scone and a danish. I did not see any day old items on sale which might be a sign of their continued sucess.
          Everything was amazing as always. I like that they have a selection of teas. They have redecorated a bit with vibrant yellow and orange pillows and a long bench seat along the wall. The huge flat screen tv was out of sight (thank goodness)
          If I could ever get there at lunch time they have several kinds of quiches and soups that all sounded lovely.
          My friend and I managed to resist the other baked goods including a tart topped with blackberries. I didn't even look at the special chocolates case. My resolve not to have a total carb meltdown can only take so much temptation! I guess we will be seeing Alice at the Ambler farmers market.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            Have they been accepted at Ambler farmers market? And do you know if they have pledged to be there more than 1/3 of the time?

            1. re: cwdonald

              The Wizard had left Oz for the day, it was around four forty pm and i think he starts really early. I didn't ask the warm and sunny counterperson. This will just give me another excuse for a prompt return visit. Some of the quiches on the lunch board sounded amazing. More research is needed!

      2. Thanks for posting Unkle. If you post this also on the Distorter online in the sound off section I will try to respond there as well. This is depressing news. I know there are two bakeries right on main street in Lansdale but come on!

        1 Reply
        1. re: givemecarbs

          Lansdale isn't exactly right next door to us yet we've been known to make the long drive to North Wales just to load up on Alice's stellar cinnamon buns -- the best around.
          What a stupid business judgment the Lansdale Farmer's Market made to exclude them this year.
          Guess politics wins the day ... again!

        2. Thanks for posting this. Alice Bakery has never disappointed with either their bread or their patisserie.

          One can only wonder as to what led to this decision...

          1. As others have mentioned, we do not get to or thru Lansdale often. But have traveled to North Wales for their excellent breads including their baguettes; which I feel the equal to any I have ever had here or abroad. Perhaps the exclusion could be based on limiting bakeries or territorial. However it was decided I agree it is an unfortunate decision and handled with little consideration or courtesy. Never been to the farmers market and now will never go as the market management has acted in a way showing NO class and little business savvy.