It’s That Time Again – National Food Blogger Sale 2012

March 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

2012foodblooger bwob sf badge2

It’s almost spring, and that means that it’s almost time for the San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale!

For the last two years, food bloggers across the country have banded together to hold bake sales in their hometowns in support of Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. I had the honor of organizing the San Francisco bake sales, which have been resounding successes – last year we raised over $2500 in one day. I’m proud to be part of the event this year again. On April 28th, bake sales will be held all across the US by food bloggers, with all proceeds donated to Share Our Strength.

Last year I was joined in my organizing efforts by Irvin, Shauna, and Annelies, fellow bakers, bloggers, and all around amazing people. We’re all back this year and hope you can be part of our bake sale! I’m so excited that some of you have already been e-mailing me about the bake sale – I’m very touched that you remember the event and want to participate! Please be sure to sign up at the official San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale website – we have a dedicatd bake sale e-mail address so it’s easier to keep track of all the volunteers. If you send an e-mail to my dessertfirst e-mail, you might get missed!

Our location this year is Omnivore Books, the location of the first bake sale in 2010. We’re excited to return!

What are the San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale details?

When: Saturday, April 28, 11 AM to 4 PM

Where: Omnivore Books, 3885a Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco, CA

How can you help?

If you live in the Bay Area and you want to participate in the bake sale, please go to the SF Bake Sale website and sign up to volunteer! It doesn’t matter if you have a food blog or not, only a desire to bake! We need volunteers to help bake up goods to sell, and I would love a chance to meet all you local foodies! Bring a plate of cookies or a cake, whatever you feel like contributing!

If you aren’t able to bake up something, please come by and help support us! Purchase something yummy and make a donation to Share our Strength!

If you don’t live near San Francisco but would still like to participate, check Gaby’s page (the national organizer) to see if there’s another bake sale going on near where you live.

Here is some additional information on Share Our Strength and The Great American Bake Sale.

See my recaps of last year’s bake sale and the 2010 bake sale to see a bit of all the excitement.

I hope to see you all at the new bake sale homepage, and to see you April 28 at the bake sale!

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Another Successful SF Food Blogger Bake Sale!

May 20th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Cookies, Recipes, San Francisco, SF Events

GF brownie cupcakes - bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Sorry all for the late update…I’m totally overwhelmed with work obligations and getting ready for my upcoming vacation – just a week and a half away! I’m trying to wrap up all the loose ends before I leave, but they stubbornly stay unraveled. Do I ever need summer break!

I do want to give a quick recap of the second annual SF Food Bloggers Bake Sale that took place last Saturday and thank everyone that turned out to help and donate. We got classic San Francisco “summer” weather that day: overcast skies and chilly breezes. Nevertheless, our volunteer bakers showed up early and eager with piles of beautiful pastries that we laid out in a truly tempting display.

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San Francisco Blogger Bake Sale This Saturday!

May 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

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I ‘m so excited that the bake sale I’ve been organizing with several other bloggers is this Saturday – less than a week away! Planning has been going extremely well – we now have two locations and almost 50 volunteer bakers!

If you are in San Francisco this Saturday, please come by and support us! The two locations are:

18 Reasons

593 Guerrero Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

10 AM to 6 PM

and

Kiehl’s

2360 Fillmore

San Francisco, CA 94110

12 PM to 4 PM

Please see the official blog for full directions. I will likely be going between the two locations during the day, so I hope to see you there!

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, might I direct you to the front page of our blog where you can make a direct donation? Share Our Strength is a tremendously worthy cause and I’m proud that the food blogger community has embraced it wholeheartedly. 100% of the proceeds from this bake sale will go towards funding programs across the nation to feed hungry children. If you have a moment, you can watch this official Share Our Strength video which describes the goals and various activities of the organization including the national bake sale.

Now, on to other business. I’m sure you’re all waiting to hear the winner of the Le Creuset braiser giveaway. Thanks so much for all your kind birthday wishes – I had a wonderful day and it was great to get so many comments. Now go comment on my last post on eggettes, please!;)

The winner of the Le Creuset braiser is:

creusetwinner

Reader 116, sydney85! Congratulations and thanks again to all who entered!

Some other site housekeeping updates:

- I have now updated the conversions page with information on common weight-to-volume conversions. I know there are many international readers to this blog, and I often get comments about converting my recipes to metric, or vice versa. I’m slowly working on standardizing all the recipes on this site, but in the meantime check out the page for some quick conversions you can use yourself.

- For those of you that subscribe to my rss feed, it was created from my old Typepad blog and I have created a new one for this site. Could I ask, if you are a subscriber, to subscribe to my new feed? (the subscribe button is to the right in the sidebar). I’m keeping up both feeds for now but I’d like to eventually discontinue the old one, and I don’t want to lose all you subscribers! Thanks!

Stay tuned for Thursday where I’ll give an update on what I’m making for the bake sale!

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National Food Blogger Bake Sale – SF 2011 Edition!

February 24th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

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It's been almost a year since the first San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale, and the time has come to plan for the 2011 bake sale!

Last year, food bloggers across the country banded together to hold bake sales in their hometowns in support of Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. The San Francisco bake sale was a fabulous success, raising $1650 in one day. On May 14 this year, bake sales will be again held by food bloggers everywhere, with all proceeds donated to Share Our Strength.

I'm excited to be joined this year by some other local baking bloggers, who are volunteering their time and talents to make this the most well organized bake sale ever. Irvin, Shauna, and Annelies, all participants in last year's bake sale, are now enthusiastic co-organizers. Because of that, we have set up a separate page for the San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale where you can sign up to participate or check for updates.

We have a new, bigger location for the bake sale this year: 18 Reasons, a local community center focused on art and food. They host a variety of classes and events celebrating food throughout the year. We're thrilled to be able to hold our bake sale in their beautiful space.

What are the San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale details?

When: Saturday, May 14

Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

How can you help?

If you live in the Bay Area and you want to participate in the bake sale, please go to the SF Bake Sale website and sign up to volunteer! It doesn't matter if you have a food blog or not, only a desire to bake! We need volunteers to help bake up goods to sell, and I would love a chance to meet all you local foodies! Bring a plate of cookies or a cake, whatever you feel like contributing!

If you aren't able to bake up something, please come by and help support us! Purchase something yummy and make a donation to Share our Strength!

If you don't live near San Francisco but would still like to participate, check Gaby's page (the national organizer) to see if there's another bake sale going on near where you live.

Here is some additional information on Share Our Strength and The Great American Bake Sale.

See my recap of last year's bake sale to see a bit of all the excitement.

I hope to see you all at the new bake sale homepage, and to see you May 14 at the bake sale!

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How to Have a Fabulous Bake Sale

April 20th, 2010 · 30 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

Wow, what a weekend! The San Francisco Bloggers’ Bake Sale in support of Share Our Strength raised $1650! Gaby, the national organizer, has reported that the grand total raised by 23 food blogger bake sales around the country was $16,500 – meaning SF raised 10% of the total!! I am so proud of my team and their efforts – not only was it a lot of fun, but it was wildly successful!

So, what were the ingredients to our fabulous bake sale? I’ll list my tips and lessons learned in the recap below:

1. Find a great location.

Somewhere highly visible, with lots of foot traffic, where people who appreciate good food might frequent. Sounds like…Omnivore Books! The primo place for lovers of food literature also made the ideal location for the San Francisco Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale. We placed ourselves next to Omnivore Books, on the corner where we could be easily seen from all directions, right in the path of all the neighborhood residents out for a Saturday stroll.

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Here’s our bake sale – already bustling at 11:30, a full half hour before scheduled start! Omnivore Books is to the left; the pet store we are in front of is also owned by Celia, and she graciously let us set up in front of it. Customers kept asking us if we were selling pet treats! Lesson learned: next time, make homemade doggie treats – given the number of people walking by with their dogs, we could have made twice as much! Photo courtesy of lisa is bossy.

I have spoken at Omnivore Books before when promoting my own cookbooks, and knew the store was a perfect fit for the bake sale. Celia, the owner of Omnivore, was wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive about letting us set up outside  – plus she promoted the bake sale on the store website and Twitter feed! I love the San Francisco food community so much!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Clockwise from top left: Celia, the super-fun owner of Omnivore Books; beautiful spring-like lemon drizzle cake; happy bake sale visitors (the lady in the orange scarf is Daphne, one of the bake sale volunteers, and in the back right you can see me – a rare moment when I’m not running around like a maniac); adorable miniature blueberry tarts. Photos courtesy of cookingsf.

And, in a stroke of sweet serendipity, when I spoke to Celia, I found out that Rose Levy Barenbaum was speaking the same day at Omnivore! Piggybacking on top of another event – another surefire way to increase visitors to your bake sale! I’d have to say the pastry gods were certainly smiling on our event!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

The lady of the hour at Omnivore Books, speaking to a very packed house. She was extraordinarily generous with her knowledge – quite an inspiration! Photo courtesy of lisa is bossy.


 

2. Recruit early.

The sooner you advertise for help, the sooner you’ll be able to delegate! Wait, that sounds awful, but really, food bloggers are some of the most generous and giving people I know. Planning with others is much more fun and less stressful than taking the whole burden on yourself, and people will come up with ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. Come up with a list of tasks and create a sign up sheet  – I found Google spreadsheets worked really well for real-time planning and sharing. I had people volunteer to bring needed items like tables, napkins, and coolers, to make flyers and signage, to advertise the bake sale through their own social circles.Combining and pooling resources is what bake sales are all about.

One of the happiest things I took away from this bake sale was all the new friendships I made – fellow baking enthusiasts, all eager to talk pastry and make sweet treats. Having the bake sale gave us the opportunity to all connect while doing something good for the community at the same time. Truly, when you help others you really end up helping yourself. I was overwhelmed by the positivity and happiness that practically radiated from our bake sale tables! A list of all the participants is at the end of this post – without them, this bake sale would not have been the wonderful success it was!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Top: Shauna and Katie, having a great time and charming the customers. Photo courtesy of eatthelove.
Bottom: Penni, bread maker extraordinaire, also charming the customers. Notice how happy all the volunteers are? We had a fabulous group of bakers – a huge thank you to all of them!
Photo courtesy ofPiece of Cake.


 

3. Package to sell.

I dithered about making bakers go to the extra expense of packaging their products, but on the day of the bake sale I am SO GLAD I asked everyone to come with their items packaged to sell. First of all, it cuts an enormous amount of effort out of the setup – everything comes ready to place on the table. Second, it eliminates any sanitation issues with food sitting out in the open being handled by dozens of people. Third, and most importantly, it gives you a chance to present your food in a professional and enticing way. The photos speak for themselves – how gorgeous and appealing does everything look? It’s prettier than some retail bakeries!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Left: Did you think a bake sale in SF wouldn’t have macarons? Why bother with a trip to Paris when you can get some here? Sandwiched between the macarons are some swoonworthy Meyer Lemon and sea salt chocolate tarts. Seriously, what Paris? Right: And again, no need for a transatlantic plane flight to pick up some truly beautiful fruit tartlets. I almost teared up when Ray brought these tartlets – how amazing is the food blogger talent? Photos courtesy of lisa is bossy.

Also, I should have realized that food bloggers would be all about presentation and would jump on the chance to show off their products in the best possible light. Look at the detail and care on the packaging!


Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

San Francisco food bloggers are serious when it comes to presentation! Another lesson learned: bloggers, put your blog info on the packaging! Many customers wanted to know the participating blogs and unfortunately we didn’t have a printed list! The bake sale is your chance to publicize your blog and show off your talents! Photo courtesy of Piece of Cake.

 

4. Establish pricing and payment system beforehand.

Another issue I mulled over until fellow baker Robyn said, “You need to make things as easy as possible for you and the customers.” Exactly! K.I.S.S. principle. The solution that worked for me was to come up with three to four price points ($1, $3, $6, $12), and ask bakers to bake and package their items based on these categories (e.g. one big individual cookie for $3, a small fruit pie for $6.). The morning of the bake sale, we set up tables and designated each one with a price, and all items with that price went on the table. It made for fast set up – no need to stick a price tag on each item, AND it made it easy to sell to customers (“Everything on this table is $6″), AND easy to sum up purchase totals.

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

The $6 table. *sigh*, still swooning over the packaging. Photo courtesy of lisa is bossy.

Also, I preferred to have all money transactions in one corner, to make it easier to keep track of the money. I gave the staff restaurant-style check books and had them write down what the customers wanted. Then the customers took the receipt, went to the cashier’s table to pay, and then could go back and pick up their items.

I liked this system because it prevented having ten people descending on the cash box at once to make change, and the receipts provided a way to verify what was sold (if you’re really nerdy like me, you can use the receipts to determine which items were most popular – valuable data for the next bake sale!) Of course there are many different ways to run your event, but the point is to come up with a method beforehand – one that will be easy for you and everyone else to understand and follow.

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Left: Gluten-free mint chocolate brownies! Right: “Uh, what do we have that’s vegan?” I swear I didn’t have that clueless look on my face all day. If you can, including gluten-free, nut-free, and/or vegan options will make the special-diet customers happy – and be prepared to know where they are, unlike me! By the way, we did have vegan cookies! Photos courtesy of eatthelove.


 

5. Think big.

Of course you want the classics at your bake sale – cookies, brownies, cupcakes. But think about bigger-ticket items: after all, the higher you can price your items, the more you’ll make! And they make stunning centerpieces for the table that will catch the eyes of passerby. We had about four big cakes brought in; each time one arrived, we put at the corner table as the centerpiece. Each time, the cake sold in minutes. Literally!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Left: A stunning chocolate and coffee buttercream cake. Photos courtesy of cookingsf. Right: We had the cake out for about ten minutes when this gentleman snapped it up. As we didn’t have a cake box, Pat generously walked it back to his place a few blocks away! Talk about service! Photo courtesy of One Domestic Diva.

 

 

6. Think small.

You know why grocery stores put the candy bars and mints right next to the checkout stand, right? Same principle works here! Have a bunch of small $1 items, like individually wrapped cookies or brownies, or mini cupcakes, next to the cashier. You’ll be surprised how often people will “add on” while they’re paying for their original purchases! Robyn made caramel corn and packed them in adorable little paper cones, and we put them at the cashier’s table – they vanished within the first hour! Not only does everyone love caramel corn, but at $1, who could resist?

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Left: Caramel corn, in salty (regular) and spicy varieties. Right: The most precious display of chocolate-dipped banana cake pops. Photos courtesy of cookingsf.

 

 

7. Have a donations jar at the register.

People want to help out – give them every opportunity to do so. It’s surprising – and gratifying – after you explain your cause to customers, how many of them put their extra bills into the donations jar. I’ll also let you in on a little secret: Notice how we priced the items at $3, $6, and $12 – all prices that are likely to require making change?:) I know, it’s sneaky, but see how there are all these chances to create openings for people to further cont ribute to your cause? All these little things add up!

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Left: Note pink donation can in the corner, and money headed towards it! Bonus tip: Having a reliable, hardworking, cheerful person – like, say a significant other – working the cash table is a great help! Photo courtesy of lisa is bossy. Right: Breads are an impressive addition to the bake sale table – look at these fabulous pretzels! Photo courtesy of cookingsf.


8. Find a place to donate the leftovers after the bake sale.

Of course, in a perfect bake sale world, all your beautiful goodies would be gone in a twinkling! Well, just in case there’s some items left at the end of the day, be sure to research beforehand and find local donation centers to drop off leftovers. Keep the good karma going and make sure every cookie and cupcake finds a happy hungry stomach to fill.

Bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

More beauty shots – hard to believe anything was left, huh? That little sweetie in the bottom right corner belongs to Robyn, one of the bakers! Photos courtesy of Bake Your Heart Out.

Again, a huge thank you to Omnivore Books for hosting our bake sale, to everyone who came and supported us, and of course to all the fabulous baking bloggers who lent their spatulas to the cause!

Here are all the bloggers who participated:

 

Allison: http://bakeyourheartout.wordpress.com

Annelies: http://anneliesz.tumblr.com/

Daphne: www.cookingsf.com

Faith: www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com

Irwin: www.eatthelove.com

Katie: http://www.idhavebakedacake.blogspot.com/

Kerrie: www.cookingsf.com

Lisa: http://lisa-is-bossy.blogspot.com/

Liz: www.delvious.com

Marisol : www.onedomesticateddiva.com

Nina: ninascupcakes@blogspot.com

Pat: ringalings.blogspot.com

Penni: www.penniwisner.com

Rachel:  http://scratch.typepad.com

Sam: http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/

Shauna: http://pieceofcakeblog.blogspot.com

Shelly: anopencupboard.com

Stephanie: dessertsforbreakfast.blogspot.com

And a big thank you to Ariel, Catrina, Carlo, Diana, Kelly, Lili, Ray, Robyn, and Shila, who also contributed their goodies to the sale.

A sweet success indeed!

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