It's like one big circle." That's how fourth-generation baker Matt Sehnert of McCook, Nebraska, describes the White Thumb Bakers Guild, a new enterprise that brings together four southwest Nebraska bakery-focused businesses that have begun marketing unique freshly-baked products over the internet at WhiteThumbBakers.com.
"Not many bakers can say that they actually know the farmers who grow the wheat and the millers who make the flour," Sehnert said. "But that's exactly what's happening here. We know the farmers. We know the miller. And the farmers and the miller are among our customers here in the community."
The four home-owned businesses in the White Thumb Bakers Guild are Wauneta Roller Mills of Wauneta, Nebr.; Sehnert's Bakery of McCook, Nebr., Prairie Harvest of Trenton, Nebr., and HomeSpun of McCook, Nebr.
White Thumb Bakers Guild offers a number of assorted packages at three price ranges: $29.95 plus shipping; $54.95 plus shipping; and $79.95 with free shipping. Within each price range, there are four different product assortments, providing customers the opportunity to try a number of different White Thumb Bakers Guild products in varying quantities.
The new website features videos on each of the Guild's members as well as detailed descriptions of the products and packages available.
At the heart of all White Thumb Bakers Guild products is high-quality hard red wheat flour from Wauneta Roller Mills, an historic flour mill established in 1925—and which now stands as Nebraska’s last independent, family-owned mill. Ashley and Rogan Einspahr, a young hometown couple, became the new owners in 2012—and continue the mill’s long and storied history as a provider of premium flour, milled to perfection in a time-honored fashion. Wauneta Roller Mills sells cracked wheat cereal and premium baking flour through the White Thumb Bakers Guild website.
Sehnert’s Bakery in downtown McCook, Nebr. is owned and operated by fourth-generation baker Matt Sehnert. The family’s baking lineage can be traced back to the 1521 in Germany. For White Thumb Bakers Guild, Sehnert prepares Stollen bread—a traditional German holiday bread that customers look forward to every holiday season. Once the holiday season is over, he will offer a new line-up of specialty breads and other baked goods.
Valerie Rogers operates Prairie Harvest from the kitchen of her Blue Colonial Inn Bed & Breakfast near Trenton, Nebraska. Rogers creates one-of-a-kind Prairie Harvest granola bars made with her proprietary granola recipe, which includes cracked wheat cereal from Wauneta Roller Mills. For the White Thumb Bakers Guild, she provides four varieties of granola bars as well as packages of her granola cereal.
Sarah Risenhoover owns HomeSpun—a downtown McCook, Nebraska, eatery serving breakfast and lunch six days a week. The menu at HomeSpun includes a variety of fresh-baked goods, many using Wauneta Roller Mills flour. While some are her own creations, many are family recipes created by her grandmother. For White Thumb Bakers Guild, Sarah offers up her 4th Generation Banana Bread and two very special types of cookies—coconut crisps and orange slice cookies.
The White Thumb Bakers Guild began with the help of business coach Sue Shaner of McCook, who applied for a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to get the coalition started. The McCook Economic Development Corporation and Keystone Business Center in McCook have also provided support and in-kind services.
To order items from the White Thumb Bakers Guild for gifts or personal enjoyment, visit the website at WhiteThumbBakers.com.