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Artisan bread business gets approval of Derry zoning board

Union Leader Correspondent

February 11. 2013 8:08PM

DERRY - Cheryl Holbert is taking her decades-long love of baking and trying to make it a successful home-based business.

Recently, the zoning board of adjustment approved a special exception allowing Holbert to operate a small baking business out of her home at 20 Derry Road.

Although she will bake the artisan breads in her kitchen, Holbert is looking to sell her baked goods at local farm stands and farmers markets.

"I've been in touch with (Derry Farmers Market director) Bev Ferrante about selling at the farmers market," said Holbert. "That would be my first choice, because I live in Derry."

If there are customers interested in buying her bread outside of a farmers market or farm stand, she said she would make a delivery.

"I'm not interested in having people come to our house and have those kinds of pickup times and things like that," said Holbert.

ZBA chairman Allan Virr asked Holbert whether she would have any large deliveries for ingredients coming to her house.

She said there will be no truck deliveries to her house, but that she might get some ingredient packages delivered to her.

"I think our concern would be more that there would be 60-foot trucks backing up to the driveway," said Virr.

Holbert said the type of bread she bakes is typically in smaller batches.

"The type of bread I bake is an artisan-type bread that takes several days," said Holbert. "It's very labor intensive and my output is not a lot. If I were to get to that point, I'd have to consider something else. The volume of bread coming and going is going to be very small."

Holbert said she has been baking for 30 years, but only recently considered starting a part-time business selling her bread.

"I've gotten a little more serious with the method and the technique of the bread and started to consider a business a possibility," she said.

In addition to baking, Holbert is a weaver and teaches weaving part time at the Currier Arts Center.

According to town code enforcement officer Robert Mackey, home baking is allowed in residential kitchens.

"For a home-based cooking business just using a residential kitchen, you are limited to the types of food you can produce," said Mackey. "It's mostly baked goods."

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