By burning wood and breading dough, Juli Vanderhoop bakes more than bread
“Bread today! Please stop by.” The chalk sign near the very end of South Road in Aquinnah is a welcome sight on any day, but on a chilly March afternoon, it radiates especially alluring warmth. Pickup trucks brake, reverse, and turn into the shell-strewn driveway of Juli Vanderhoop’s Orange Peel Bakery. Their drivers, clad in the heavy gear of outdoor winter work, inspect the offerings in Juli’s display cabinet. Today there are dome-shaped, crusty wheat berry loaves and flat rounds of cranberry bread that ooze rich fruit as they’re sliced.
There’s a jar for payment, so she doesn’t have to break the rhythm of rolling and shaping baguettes for the afternoon’s baking. But there’s plenty of banter as her floury hands deftly set the finished loaves onto heavy linen for their final rise. The customers all know Juli, and that’s one of the reasons she started the bakery.
When she returned home to Aquinnah a few years ago, after a stint off-Island working as a commercial pilot, she was struck by how few of her neighbors she knew. “In the off season, between six and seven in the morning, thirty or forty cars would go by, and I had no idea who was in them. It was scary,” she recalls...