Dakota Harvest

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Growing Up At DHB! | Dakota Harvest

Growing Up At DHB!

Interview by Rose Picklo

Rachel Perry grew up underneath the canopy of American elms lining idyllic Reeves Drive. She graduated UND with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theater Performance, and at only twenty-two is one of the driving forces behind Dakota Harvest Bakers.

At sixteen, Rachel began working at the bakery. Since 2009, she’s been slinging cookies and sandwiches; lemonade in the summer and thick, creamy hot chocolate in the long North Dakota winters. Beginning in 2011, Rachel began taking on more and more responsibilities; she now has the title of Retail Manager.

“When I was sixteen, I had no idea I would be where I am now. I’d never even been in the bakery before I applied—I found the application online! Working at the bakery has really opened my eyes to the importance of small businesses and communication—I strongly feel Dakota Harvest has played in a role in developing a sense of community within Grand Forks. When I think of the bakery, I think family. Family is super important at Dakota Harvest. Often, you will see at least one of my siblings working. My brother Matt started in retail then moved to baking in 2013, my sister Megan is a supervisor, and my brother Joe does dishes.”

One of the reasons the bakery means so much to Rachel is her colleagues. “I’ve met lifelong friends here at DHB. We are a friendly group and it warms my heart to think of all the people I’ve met during my time here.”

And Rachel doesn’t just mean coworkers—there’s something wonderful about having regulars who walk in and know your name.

“Sometimes people walk in the door and you already start preparing their order, because you know they order the same press pot of medium roast and porridge with almond milk every time they come in.”

The beautiful thing about living in a small town like Grand Forks is that it’s easy for seemingly unrelated facets of life to intersect. Rachel has performed in many shows, including Spring Awakening, Into the Woods, and more recently A Christmas Carol, held a just few blocks away at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks. DHB frequently donates and caters for events hosted by the Empire and Firehall theater, while posters for performances hang around the door at the bakery. During her time at UND, theater students were blessed with leftover cookies and caramel rolls Rachel brought to rehearsals.

Rachel’s day-to-day life is a blend of rolls and roles; when not at Dakota Harvest, she can be found rehearsing for whatever musical is up next. It is not uncommon for her to combine the two and open the bakery to the sounds of Newsies or The Book of Mormon. Some of her favorite parts include that of Lisa, from The Glory of Living (UND, February 2015); the waitress in Scapino! (UND, April 2015); Cinderella from Into the Woods (UND, August 2015); and as a part of the ensemble in A Christmas Carol (Empire Arts Center, November 2015).

Although she dreams of eventually moving to the Cities to pursue her theatrical career, for now she is more than content to run the bakery and revel in all Grand Forks has to offer. She is currently preparing for summer shows, so keep an eye out for Dakota Harvest’s own Rachel Perry!
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