Business

Rarely used permit lets couple make ‘cottage foods’

Diana and Michael Blaylock had a serious problem on their hands: Too many apples.

"We bought a whole bunch of Jonagold apples," Michael Blaylock told The Times-News . "We came home with two big bags full and realized, 'Oh, we can't eat all this.'"

Some daunted couples might have tried to give the apples away. Others would have lived off the 21 pounds of apples for weeks, or tossed out extras. For the Blaylocks, the apple surplus led to the creation of a bakery business.

"We were like, 'Well, we'll sell them as pies,'" he explained. "The bakery was born on a whim."

Two years after solving their apple issue, Mama's Best Bakery is an official Twin Falls bakery. Planning and Zoning granted the Blaylocks a special use permit for making and selling cottage foods out of their home.

There aren't many businesses quite like Mama's Best Bakery in Twin Falls.

"This one was kind of rare," City Planner Brock Cherry said of the permit.

Few are aware of the permit's existence, Cherry explained. It enables people to make and sell what is called cottage food.

The permit works for bakers such as Diana Blaylock so long as she doesn't start working with foods that can go bad easily. For instance, cheesecake and meringues are off the table.

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A fresh start

The Blaylocks didn't grow up in Twin Falls. They started out in St. Louis but decided they needed a change.

"We felt like God said go West, and we were like, 'Ok, cool,'" Diana Blaylock said with a laugh.

Their first stop, Denver, didn't agree with them.

"One good thing did come out of Denver," she said. "That was our challah recipe."

Now challah is one of her greatest hits — a Jewish neighbor in Denver gave her the recipe — along with triple berry pie. She makes it all though, from pies to macarons to Danishes.

She started baking when she was about 7 and has always enjoyed it as a de-stressor. She thinks that love and care separate the top bakers from the rest.

"Loving what you do shows in the work," she said. "I've tried stuff from other people before, even people I know, and I'm like, 'You don't bake for fun, do you?' . You can taste it when somebody loves what they do."

Beyond tweaking her recipes until they're just right, Diana Blaylock said she doesn't have any amazing secret beyond "lots of butter" and sugar. She does have a general sense for Twin Falls' tastes though.

"This town's got a big craving for macarons, bagels and pie with a good crust," she said.

Her husband hasn't baked much so far and hasn't made anything high-stakes.

"He's helped me with cookies from time to time," Diana Blaylock said. "We haven't really set aside time yet for the intricate stuff."

Living around pastries and desserts comes with challenges.

"People ask me how I've stayed as skinny as I have," Michael Blaylock said. "It's hard, but I kind of love it (living in a bakery)."

The Blaylocks' two young children also enjoy the sweet treats too, although 4-year-old Will isn't a huge pie fan.

The bakery is small today but could outgrow the Blaylocks' apartment in the future.

"The hope is to have a place downtown," Diana Blaylock said. "That's the big dream."

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