By AMANDA BOWES
Baking is in the blood, but after 14 years of supplying the Amberley Farmers’ Market with fresh bread, the Frickers, of Waikari, will soon bake their last loaves.
Ursula fires up the ovens every Friday evening to produce about 100 loaves, a process that continues into the early hours.
Ursula’s daughter-in-law, Maya, gets up at 3am to help and, by 7am, Ursula’s husband, Urs, packs the car for Amberley.
By the time the market finishes and the Frickers return home, a rest is in order.
Over the years, the variety and type of bread has increased. Now, gluten free, Turkish bread, focaccia, plaits, as well as white and brown bread are on offer.
A bread stick, Matagouri Sticks, are so named because the sticks are covered in Caraway seeds and resemble Matagouri, much to the amusement of the public.
One of their original sweets, a pin wheel baked to a Swedish recipe, is still a popular seller.
Ursula began baking in a domestic oven in the couple’s house, starting with bread made to a traditional Swiss recipe (The Frickers emigrated from Switzerland many years ago). As demand increased, a second oven was bought. It was necessary to be licensed, so a purpose-built, certified bakery was created in another building on the property. Now, three ovens are used to meet demand.
Six years ago, Urs was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop work as a joiner and wood turner, so bread became the main source of income until he recovered.
The couple were among the first people to sell at the Amberley Farmers’ Market. Back then, Ursula and Urs shared a stall with Hawarden fruit and vegetable grower Surrey Earl at the Chamberlain Park site in Amberley. The market then shifted to Pegasus Bay Winery for three years, where sales flourished for the Frickers.
The market was only seasonal then, held in the summer, with the bakery quiet over the winter. After three years of enjoying the surrounds of Pegasus Bay, the market shifted to Amberley, outside the Hurunui District Council office.
The shift was a good one and custom increased.
Urs says the Christchurch earthquakes affected the market as people weren’t travelling as much out of town. Locals still supported the stall holders, but for a while less bread was baked.
Custom gradually picked up and so did the Frickers’ workload.
Ursula says while she has enjoyed running the bakery, she will be looking forward to not having to work most of Friday night and Saturday morning every week.
The Frickers are keen skiers and will head for the slopes at Porters after their last farmers’ market.
Ursula won’t give up baking altogether. She intends to continue to make bread for family and friends.
Urs says he hopes the market will go on with another generation, noting that most of the stall-holders are getting older.