Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
If you don’t know her by name, you may recognize her smiling face. Margaret Gittins is a Cache Valley native through and through, with roots to the community’s founding fathers. She was raised in Avon, the daughter of Jon and Norene Lee, who ran what is now Paradise Valley Orchards. Her family grew, picked and pressed apples for cider, which seems very fitting since Margaret now has quite a claim to local fame as the Carmel Apple Lady, producing hundreds of beautiful and delicious carmel apples for special events, bake sales, families and businesses around Cache Valley.
Carmel apples aren’t the only treats that come from her in-home, certified kitchen, though. She also makes more than 200 pies each Thanksgiving, and bakes breads, cookies, cake pops and just about any other baked good you could desire for special orders. She also plans, caters and decorates for weddings and other special events. She and her husband, Jayson, along with their children run BB.Sweet Shack in Providence during the summer months.
Margaret’s father was a dairy farmer and her mother a homemaker. Their home was regularly filled with the scents of hot bread and homemade cookies. Sitting around the table for a home-cooked meal was the norm, and Margaret was encouraged to learn to cook and bake from a young age.
“Long before the days of Pinterest or Instagram, my mother would create a beautiful table setting, and before anyone could dig in she would take a photo,” Margaret said. “Our lives revolve around food, but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. My childhood is filled with memories of sitting around the table as a family for a meal, and that is something we’ve carried on into our own home.”
Margaret’s mother passed away 10 years ago, and although Margaret knew how to cook, her mother’s death brought to realization that she wasn’t a “master baker,” and that she didn’t know how to make some her mother’s traditional recipes. “It didn’t matter the holiday, my mom was always trying a new or continued recipe tradition,” Margaret said. “She made Sufa Bread (a Swiss holiday bread) every Christmas, and it wasn’t until she was gone that I realized I didn’t know how to make it.”
The loss of her mother encouraged Margaret’s love for baking. She turned to her aunts to learn the family Sufa Bread recipe, and then to a friend’s mother to learn to make old-fashioned Spudnuts. Time passed and Margaret grew to love baking more and more. She found herself making goods for bake sales and events often, so she decided to make it legal and certify, license and insure her kitchen. Her business has grown and evolved to now include BB Events and Planning, offering event planning and catering, and BB Sweet Treats, offering specially ordered baked goods.
Another quality Margaret inherited from her mother was a heart to serve. “Mom was always taking a meal to someone,” Margaret said. “It was what she could do and so she did it. I learned from her that even if you can’t give a lot of money to those in need, you can share your talents.” Margaret has incorporated this lesson into her life and her business, often “rallying the troops” for bake sales to raise money for worthy causes or families in need.
“I learned so much from my mom,” Margaret said. “I hope she is proud.”
To learn more about Margaret’s business BB Events and BB Sweet Treats, or to make a special order, follow her on Instagram @bb.sweettreats and @bb.events, or visit her website bb.eventsandplanning.com.
- 4 cups scalded milk
- 1 cup warm water
- 3.5 Tbsp. active yeast
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 4 large eggs
- 11-12 cups flour
- Mix scalded milk, warm water, sugar and yeast together. Let sit until frothy (about 10 minutes).
- Add salt, eggs and flour. Mix in electric mixer for six minutes. Let rise to double its size. Dough will be slightly sticky.
- Roll out into 11×13 rectangle and divide into 15 strips. Braid 3 strips together, making 5 loaves.
- Let rise 15 minutes.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min, then lower to 350 degrees for an additional 30 minutes.