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Meet Avra Hoffman of BirchTree Bread Company in Worcester

Today we’d like to introduce you to  Avra Hoffman.

Avra Hoffman, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
BirchTree opened in November 2014. It was a huge step for us into the beautiful 5800 square foot building after selling bread at local markets. My husband, Rob switched gears from being a professional chef for over 10 years to artisan baking. At the time, I was a high school English teacher, but used any free and not so free time to market the soon-to-be bakery and sell bread out of my car at markets after Rob mixed, shaped and baked the loaves in the wee hours of the morning. We were shown the bakery space during our market season at the Canal District market. There was a special feeling about it only the space, but the whole building and neighborhood that helped us to decide on making the jump.

We started out with a small menu of fresh baked bread, pastries, cookies, toast and specialty coffee brewed local by David Fullerton of Acoustic Java. Eventually we made changes as the growth of our business needed. We added a full sandwich menu along with soups, salads, quiche, bread pudding. As the weekends picked up, I started scheduling live music every Saturday and Sunday from 11am-2pm. Eventually the 5800 square foot space didn’t seem so large-it would fill up with young families, professionals, artists, students. As we continued to develop our vision we intern built a community here. We now have a full bar and have pizza night on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6pm-9pm. We feature hearth baked pizzas, local craft beers, and live music.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
BirchTree’s growth has become and continues to be such an incredible lesson. We were never business owners, but we’ve learned along the way with the help of many awesome mentors, like minded business owners who have become dear friends and confidants and our family and friends. Any type of risk is never easy, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. There will always be growing pains, but if you are mindful of what is needed or wanted and make small adjustments to get to a common goal, things work out and if they don’t, you try again.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with BirchTree Bread Company – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a Bread Company. Our focus is our naturally fermented breads. We use local and organic products as much as possible, including our flour and grains. Our menu focuses on the keystone of the business, bread. We offer toasts with house made spreads, gourmet sandwiches, sweet and savory bread pudding. We also have seasonal salads made with the freshest ingredients from local farms, soups, quiche, handmade pastries and desserts. Our pizzas are good (and I’m not just saying that) We use the same starter as our bread for the dough, they’re topped with delicious ingredients and then baked on the hearth. Pair them with a local beer on tap and some live local music and you’ve got a night that will make lots of people happy!

We take pride in growing our business and serving our customers not only the best loaf of bread or cup of coffee, but by also creating a sense of community here.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We always have ideas-that’s how this all started! Right now, we’re excited about our monthly beer dinners. We started them in the fall and will continue to host them the first Thursday of every month. We pair up with a local brewer and Rob along with his kitchen team create an awesome five course menu. Each course highlights a selected beer. Rob gets to back to his roots in the kitchen and I get to set the party up with long community tables, linens, fresh flower arrangements, candles. It’s been a lot of fun and a way to elevate our space and menu for our guests.

Right now, we’re working on sustaining BirchTree and finding ways to grow the business within the business-beer dinners, catering etc…

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The first photo of me and Rob was taken by Joseph Gonzalez-Dufresne
The rest of the photos are mine.

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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