Blue Heron Bakery adds a taste to downtown PY

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

New bakery adds new finishing touch to ‘The Landing’ on Water Street

PENN YAN — Good things come to those who wait; and what could be more worth waiting for than freshly baked hand-made bread, authentically buttery croissants, and perfect Danish pastries?

Owners Todd Hatch and Catherine Graves are proud to open their new business, Blue Heron Bakery, at The Landing on the Keuka Outlet in Penn Yan.

The recently opened Blue Heron Bakery, the newest neighbor to arrive at The Landing on Water St., is where such good things can be found. 

Owners Todd Hatch and Catherine Graves have been offering test samples to local residents, whetting their appetites for what was to come.

Lead baker Todd Hatch grew up in Iowa City, but with both parents (Peter Hatch and Lois Fitch Hatch) coming from Penn Yan, he fell in love with the village as a child visiting in summers and has always wanted to live here.

While in the U.S. Army, Todd learned how to cook and bake, and then attended a baking school outside Portland Ore. where he lived for 25 years. “I worked with the amazing bakers in Portland,” says Todd of his time there where he was able to learn the art and master his craft.

Catherine Graves grew up in Burlington, Vt. and spent many years managing restaurants before moving into the field of yoga, where she ran a yoga program for the United Nations in N.Y. City. She then moved to a small village in Scotland to run a pub before moving to Portland, where she and Todd met. Telling him she wanted to move back to the East Coast, Todd suggested Penn Yan, and she moved with him, sight unseen, to be the general manager and salesperson for Blue Heron.

“We are both more than excited to be here, be doing what we love, making bread, feeding the community,” the couple say, speaking of their artisan breads. “Making bread by hand while using a few simple ingredients is what makes our bread special. Our Italian-made deck oven gives our bread its signature crust, and the local, artisan flours we use provide the chewy, hearty, texture. We also use a long fermentation process that develops a unique flavor only found in this part of the world.”

Now joining them in their work is baker Ryan Lacoste. Ryan comes to Blue Heron bakery with over 13 years experience. His work as a pastry chef ranges from wedding cakes all the way to catering President Barack Obama’s inauguration. His true passion as a chef is baking bread.

One of local artist Sam Castner’s signature sculptures welcomes visitors to The Landing.

The Landing

Blue Heron is just the latest addition to what has become the most revitalized part of downtown Penn Yan, aided by the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program administered by the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC).

Other members of the waterfront neighborhood include Water St. Wine Bar, Union Block Bistro, Water St. Wines & Spirits, Birkett Landing Apartments, and Shoreline Rentals, offering kayaks, paddle boards, and bicycles to enjoy on Keuka Lake and The Outlet Trail.

Earlier this year, the attraction of the landing was increased by the long awaited opening of the footbridge across the Outlet, and local metal artist Sam Castner’s blue heron sculpture rising above the new steel signpost on Water Street.