Made in Alaska: Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery and Cafe
One Homer business made it its mission to give customers healthier choices
HOMER - Eating local and organic in Alaska isn't always easy, but one Homer business made it its mission to give customers healthier choices.
At the Fresh Sourdough Bakery and Café, it's not just about food, it's about family – and no one knows that better than Donna Maltz, who's spent nearly three decades running the business with her husband Kevin.
“He's back there cooking. He'll go back and do everything. It's incredible to be able to come home at night and still love each other.”
Opening your own business is a feat in itself, but for Donna the real adventure was getting to Alaska in the first place.
“We drove through blizzards and storms and moose crossings, and I'd never seen anything like that, you know: suburban girl from New Jersey goes to Alaska.”
She ran out of money along the way and had to bake her way to the last frontier.
Her bread truck served her well, and the jalopy now sits outside the restaurant as a symbol of her pioneer spirit.
Two years after she started the bakery, she met Kevin. “28 years ago Donna hired me as her bread baker,” he said.
Together they raised the business – and a family.
But after 30 years they've decided to retire, and are passing the sourdough torch to Kathy Kysar, a former Homer schoolteacher.
“I have the same philosophy about organic and local,” Kysar said. “I've always been the tree hugger of my group of friends.”
“…Knowing people are still coming in, knowing we're leaving and supporting Kathy and her vision, it's great,” Donna said. “It's like marrying off your son to the perfect daughter-in-law.”
“My husband and I have been together almost 30 years, serving peace and love. I love him so much and I'm excited to have a new chapter.”
The Maltz’s are starting anew in Hawaii, where there will be just as much passion for food, but maybe a few less pancakes.
Donna and Kevin Maltz retired to Hawaii to start their own culinary arts retreat, but they'll leave a lasting legacy in Homer.
In addition to opening the bakery, Donna also started a company called "Ahh-laska," which she says is the first line of organic chocolate syrup and cocoa in the U.S.