It’s early on a Saturday morning and the quaint cafe at Ashton’s post office is already brimming with customers. It’s a little off the beaten path (Google Maps bypasses the city of Adelaide Hills, bringing traffic to Forest Range and beyond, away from Main Lobethal Road), but word of mouth goes a long way. There’s a gentle breeze blowing up the main street, rustling the line of sunflowers lining the road.
Cyclists, day-trippers, locals and city dwellers grab lattes and cookies. Some ride in Ugg boots. This is exactly the relaxed atmosphere that owner Tanya Schroeder is looking for. “I had a guy who came all the time in a dressing gown,” says Schroeder Large format with a small laugh. “But he always brought his Keep Cup.”
For three years, Schroeder sold coffee and pastries seven days a week from the all-purpose post office (and the only cafe in town). Sweets attract people from afar. Later, Gator founder Chloe Mattner bakes the vegan brownies on display, and former Peel St chef Hannah Jeffery bakes the burnt butter chocolate chip cookies.
“You can’t run a post office on your own, it has to have some other use [to make money], and I really like the local part of it,” Schroeder says. “Winemakers come and chat with other winemakers about what’s going on with their wine… It’s a different conversation than you would have in town. People talk about their cows or goats missing and I get lost dogs here all the time. The dogs come here because it’s the only store in town.
Now expansion is on the cards. Schroeder is in the process of converting his nearby 1870 stone house – formerly Ashton’s general store, known as Mrs Lovibond’s Emporium until 1941 – into a bakery.
According to plans, Schroeder will use the massive 3.5 by 4.5 meter Scotch wood-fired oven inside his home to bake sourdough bread, pies, pastries, sausage rolls and more. traditional bakery dishes. There will also be ‘heavy’ soups and toast using produce from Adelaide Hills. The rooms of the house will become comfortable and eclectic places for guests to relax (think long tables, vintage sofas, repurposed furniture and crackling fires), as well as a gallery and gift shop. Schroeder will move and settle in another residence.
Covid has delayed plans slightly but Schroeder hopes to be open by November. She is also looking for a baker who specializes in sourdough to take care of the oven.
“I never planned to open a bakery, I planned to open a cafe, but the house has this huge scotch oven,” Schroeder says. “The flue was closed and rusty. I had it repaired and cleaned it. It’s huge, and it takes two weeks to heat up and once it’s on, you don’t turn it off. The only ones left like this are at the Apex Bakery in Tanunda and in Farina Town.
Schroeder discovered sourdough baking after reading the story of the late Victorian baker John Reid, who owned and ran Redbeard Bakery in Trentham. She calls him the “godfather of sourdough” and credits him with inspiring this bakery.
Once the bakery opens, Schroeder will rent out her existing boutique to a like-minded local creative — “someone who’s not going to make a coffee,” she reports — to complement the bakery and provide a two-in-one destination. to visitors. .
It’s all part of his larger plan to put – and keep – Ashton on the map. She even lovingly tended neighbors’ gardens to help beautify the town. “I love the city and the people who live there are really supportive,” she says. “I think people were screaming for it and they’ve been waiting for something like this for so long.”
Ashton Post Office Cafe is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 257 Lobethal Road, Ashton. Schroeder hopes to open the bakery by the end of the year.