Farina Bakeshop Brings Organic Treats to Excelsior

Farina Bakeshop brings fresh, organic treats to excelsior.

Sweet-tooth and health fanatics can have their cake and eat it too, thanks to a new baker who proves that organic treats don’t need to sacrifice amazing taste. Tracy Kohler, owner of Farina Bakeshop, which opened in Excelsior this past fall, has perfected her recipes for tasty baked goods made with homegrown, organic. After almost a year in the catering business, Kohler remains true to her vision of providing fresh products that customers can feel good about enjoying.

“Everything is made from scratch,” Kohler, an Excelsior resident, says about her unique menu of appetizing bakery items. “I just really believe in providing a high-quality product for people. You can taste the difference.”

Farina Bakeshop began when Kohler connected with farmers’ markets where she sold baked goods using locally sourced ingredients. She used eggs and meat from Minnesota farmers as well as produce from her own backyard garden. “It’s all about keeping the carbon footprint close by,” Kohler says. “I don’t do shortcuts.”

Kohler’s success with farmers’ markets left customers wanting more. Not ready to jump into a storefront location, Kohler began by expanding the catering side of her business. Corporate catering and social events are her niche; her company can accommodate events from small office meetings to wedding receptions with a one-of-a-kind menu, including her original-recipe ham and gruyere brioche rolls, almond bostocks, house-made granola, mini dessert shooters and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

With such variety, you can’t go wrong with anything the bakeshop has to offer. Susie Queen, a frequent customer, has a hard time picking a favorite. “All of her treats are so different,” Queen says. “The combination of flavors is extraordinary. Everything I have ordered I have loved.”

For Queen, the quality of ingredients is a huge comfort. “It’s a satisfying experience. I don’t feel like I’m putting a bad thing in my body,” Queen says. “It’s the personal touch that I really value.” That and the pleasure of working with Kohler keeps Queen a loyal customer. “She is unbelievably thoughtful and accommodating.”

Kohler didn’t grow up with the dream of one day owning her own bakery. After studying biology in college, she began working in health care after graduation, but it wasn’t until after she got married when she began to test her skills in the kitchen. “We were awful cooks,” Kohler says of the early years of marriage. “So I jumped in the kitchen and said one of us has to learn. I got in there and started baking and really fell in love with it.”

Although he leaves the baking to his wife, husband Matt remains an incredible support system and provides an extra set of hands for the odd jobs that come with running a business. As the sole proprietor of Farina Bakeshop, Kohler’s hands are full—so Matt helps with maintaining the website, and with moral support. “I’m proud of her,” he says. “Her ability to do all this, follow her dreams. Every day is a new day of whatever inspiration she comes across.”

A major source of that inspiration comes from the Kohler’s garden, where fresh produce is pulled straight from the vine to use in recipes. “I have a huge, huge garden, so it’s a major part of our lifestyle” Kohler says. The garden gives Farina the rustic, gourmet vibe Kohler has worked to create in her dishes. “It really is all about just using high-quality ingredients—local when I can, seasonal when I can.” Kohler even made enough jam from with raspberries from her garden to last the entire season.

“Nothing processed, no artificial flavors, no preservatives. Everything is fresh,” Kohler says. “That’s why I brought it into the company. It’s something I truly believe in.”

Homemade Crème Fraîche

Tracy Kohler uses a homemade crème fraîche in many of her Farina Bakeshop recipes because of its versatility and fantastic flavor. In stores, crème fraîche can be costly—but a homemade batch that only has two ingredients will last for weeks and can be used in multiple recipes. It is a great option to replace sour cream or yogurt in any recipe, or you can use it to top off any fruit or baked vegetables. It can also be a great thickener in sauces or soups.

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp. buttermilk

Combine the two ingredients together in a large bowl, stir and cover with plastic wrap. Let the bowl sit at room temperature overnight on your kitchen counter (10-12 hours).
After 10-12 hours, stir mixture until it becomes thick and creamy, the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is not thick enough, allow it to sit another couple of hours and stir again. Place in a closed container and refrigerate for up to several weeks. Use as needed.


Farina Bakeshop