The first thing that draws your eye as you approach the Scratch Patisserie stall is the splendid array of pastries. Gleaming jewel-like tarts, puffy profiteroles, rich buttery croissants both plain and almond, custard tarts and Danishes: I’ve gained two kilos by simply admiring them. To their right are the loaves of bread and the baguettes, sourdoughs and multigrain and Turkish, and to their left the fat sausage rolls and spinach and cheese rolls encased in flakey buttery pastry and filled with locally sourced ingredients. Hovering above the glass cabinets is baker Greg Wilton’s smiling face, all the patience in the world for the queue before him, especially given he’s probably had a midnight start.
Greg and his wife Angie started the business eleven years ago and a year later launched into the farmers markets. There was a popular retail outlet for years too in Mullumbimby but that’s gone now, so Greg can focus on what he loves most, the interaction the markets provide, and always, he tells me, ‘the joy of watching someone eat your products and seeing the satisfaction in their reactions.’
It’s been, he continues, a long journey of discovery. Bread-baking – the total commitment required, the anti-social working hours – will only be successful if you are passionate. ‘If you are passionate then you will create your loaf’, says Greg. ‘A loaf with your flavour and characteristics. Don’t confuse determination with passion.’
The commitment is paramount, but also, Greg says, it’s about your personal environment. He’s assisted by ‘two awesome staff members, Taeko and Yumi’, who do all the prep work throughout the day. ‘And I go in at stupid o’clock and do all the baking.’
Greg’s best sellers are his sourdough and his gluten-free breads; his personal favourite, a baguette turned into garlic bread. Reminding me it’s time to make this timeless classic myself!
By Victoria Cosford
Find Scratch Patisserie every Tuesday at New Brighton Farmers Market 8am-11am and Mullum Farmers Market every Friday 7am-11am