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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pop-up bakery Bushel & Peck offers unique assortment of baked goods

Cakes, pretzels, pastries make menu

Cristian Guerrero doesn’t consider himself to have much of a sweet tooth. But when it comes to Bushel & Peck, all bets are off. 

For the 23-year-old student, the Gainesville-based pop-up bakery — and its 24-year-old owner, Peyton Agliata — have become a household name.

“With every order, she says, ‘From scratch, with love,’ and you can truly see that in the food that she makes,” Guerrero said. “She gets that spark in [her] eyes that you get when you’re really passionate about something.”

Bushel & Peck officially opened for business in 2022, with the bakery’s first pop-up taking place Sept. 3 at local coffee shop 108 Vine. Since then, Agliata has cherished having a front row seat to the impact her craft has had on the Gainesville community.

Through numerous pop-ups and custom orders on Instagram, Bushel & Peck offers customers a variety of flavorful baked goods — from cakes and pretzels to countless pastries.

Ever since Agliata began hosting pop-ups through Bushel & Peck, she has become fond of the fact that the mere smell of her baked goods stops people in their tracks.

“I love the notion of food memories and creating memories for people where they taste something and it reminds them of something that they tasted years and years ago,” Agliata said. “I feel like I'm a small part of something.”

Agliata traces her baking origins back to Aug. 2021, when she began working at specialty café Wyatt’s Coffee in downtown Gainesville as the head of the business’ bakery program.

For about two and a half years, Agliata built a following of customers who would visit the coffee shop solely for her baked goods.

With enough encouragement from customers, co-workers and her boss, Agliata eventually started a food page on Instagram, @thepretzelrat, about a year into her time at Wyatt’s.

The account served as a platform through which she could share her creations with her followers before launching her own business.

Bushel & Peck ultimately emerged from a lunch Agliata had with her mentor and the former owner of Secret Garden Bakery in High Springs, Sharon Tugman, who she affectionately calls Miss Sharon.

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Tugman encouraged Agliata to have her business plans set in stone by August.

With numerous ideas for business names floating around, she eventually opened the bakery that exists today and settled on the name Bushel & Peck, a testament to the Doris Day song Agliata’s grandfather used to regularly sing to his grandchildren.

Agliata grew up in High Springs, a town about 20 miles north of Gainesville, and recognized her passion for culinary arts from a young age.

She made a name for herself in the Gainesville food scene, winning numerous culinary competitions and partnering with prominent local restaurants as a high school student.

While considering where Bushel & Peck would be based, Agliata dwelled upon the many relationships she had fostered as she grew up and decided that Gainesville was just the place for her next culinary endeavors.

“Because of all that history, because of all those connections [and] because of all that support, I knew that Gainesville was where I was meant to start my first business,” Agliata said.

Since opening Bushel & Peck, she has had the opportunity to participate in many farmers markets across Gainesville.

Every Monday, Bushel & Peck hosts its very own pretzel day at the Grove Street Farmers Market, located at 1001 NW 4th St. Using 15 pounds of pretzel dough, Agliata creates an assortment of pretzels for customers to choose from — including salted, everything bagel seasoned, cinnamon sugar and vegan apple pie stuffed.

Bushel & Peck has also worked with several local, independent businesses, such as Serpentine Plants + Provisions, where Agliata frequently hosts cake sales.

For Agliata, what sets Bushel & Peck apart from other local bakeries is her use of unique flavor profiles that are complementary to Gainesville.

However, for customers like Matthew Adair, a 42-year-old disabled veteran and full-time graduate student at the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, Agliata herself is what makes Bushel & Peck stand out.

“I just think it's amazing, mostly because of the care and the love she puts in — not just into what she does, but that she puts out into the world,” Adair said.

Contact Amanda at Follow her on Twitter @amandacrubio.

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Amanda Rubio

Amanda Rubio is a first-year journalism student at the University of Florida and an Avenue staff writer at the Alligator. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her reading romance novels; binge-watching Glee, which she’s watched an unnecessary amount of times; or somehow finding more ways to make Harry Styles her entire personality.

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