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Olivia’s Croutons gives away bread-baking kits

OLIVIA'S CROUTONS IS giving away bread-baking kits through the Brandon Free Public Library.

I’m anxious for the economy to come back, but I hope we can learn a balance between work and family and activities. I hope we learn from this.
— Francie Caccavo, Olivia’s Croutons

BRANDON — Like many area businesses, Olivia’s Croutons in the Forestdale section of Brandon is seeing a drop in production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And like many Vermont business owners, Francie and Dave Caccavo have gotten creative with the extra product and flour they have at the Route 73 production facility.
They decided to give away croutons and make bread-baking kits for local families.
“We were having a weekly Zoom meeting and one of our employees mentioned that their friends were having a hard time finding flour,” Francie Caccavo said. “So I thought, we have so much flour and production is down, why don’t we put together a little bag with yeast and salt and flour with a little story?”
Caccavo said the idea was also born out of the fact that area kids are home and parents are looking for activities to keep kids busy during the Stay Home, Stay Safe directive imposed by Gov. Scott.
The result was individual bags of bread baking materials, a recipe, and a note that reads:
“Hello neighbors and friends. During this crazy time, we thought we would like to share some of our ingredients with you. We have an abundance of flour, as orders are slower right now. We have put together a little bread kit for you. This bag contains flour, yeast and salt. It’s easy to make a loaf of bread at home, and a great project to do with your kids. It’s a math lesson, a science lesson, and home economics all in one activity. You can follow the basic recipe below or try something a little more elaborate. We’d love to see what you make, and pictures of your baking crew. Please post to Facebook or Instagram to share!”
Caccavo said those parents tearing their hair out looking for kid-friendly activities need look no further.
“The fact that it’s a family activity is great,” she said. “You can knead it and roll it, even the little ones will be into it. It’s a fun activity you can do with your kids.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in sustainability and Caccavo said she thinks the baking kit feeds into that. There are reported increases in sales of vegetable seeds and starts, as well as chick sales as folks plan for an uncertain future at home.
“I think it’s fun and I think maybe after this, people will be making their own bread,” she said. “People are looking for cleaner, purer things.”
She went on to say that she believes the pandemic presents the opportunity to regroup as a society.
“I think this is really unprecedented,” Caccavo said. “We’re going to come out of this with some new direction in our lives. This is an opportunity to see really what’s important. We were going so fast in so many directions… I think people are going to make more bread. It’s a check and balance for family life.”
She hopes that people will take away lessons from these trying times.
“I’m anxious for the economy to come back, but I hope we can learn a balance between work and family and activities,” Caccavo said. “I hope we learn from this.”
The bread bags are available through the Brandon Free Public Library. Those interested in getting a bread bag can call librarian Molly Kennedy at 247-8230, and the bags can be delivered.

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