Quick & Dirty Co., Uptown Harrisburg
Quick & Dirty Co. is the Uptown bakery of husband-and-wife team Mike & Hanniel Craton. “Our schtick is that we use all local ingredients and when we can’t get something local, like sugar or coffee or chocolate, we buy it fairly traded from companies that are pretty small and know the farmers,” explained Hanniel. “That’s definitely our goal with the local stuff too, I buy a lot of stuff from the Broad St. Market from families that I talk to every week. For some people I go a little bit further, like gardeners to go and get fruit, but I try to know everyone that I’m buying stuff from. People really like seeing things homemade, and that’s part of what’s awesome about people in Pennsylvania; it’s a part of their heritage, and I think it’s something people here are reclaiming.” Quick & Dirty Co. offers nearly every kind of pastry tailored for the individual order. “We make all sorts of stuff. We do a lot of vegan and gluten-free anything; I have a lot of friends that have allergies or different diets and I know there are not a lot of people in the area who are making things like that,” said Hanniel. “That really factors into the stuff that we do, everything we do is catered to fit the individual person.”
Since opening in Harrisburg last year, Quick & Dirty’s treats have been featured at events and cafes throughout the city. “We do a lot of gallery openings for 3rd in the Burg, we’re featured at the Yellow Wall at the Midtown Scholar, and we’ll be at the MakeSpace every month,” said Hanniel. Quick & Dirty’s pastries and quiches are also staples at Uptown’s Little Amps Coffee Roasters.
The concept of a fair-trade and locally-sourced bakery came to Hanniel while baking in New York City. “I was teaching cupcake classes at a bakery in the East Village, and we had these giant bottles of vanilla. I’d never really thought about where it came from before, and one day the pastry chef I was working with said “Yeah, it’s so crazy, they have to pollinate all the pods by hand.” He was telling all these stories about the place in Africa where the vanilla beans were grown, and I asked, “How much is this?” and he said “You know, like $10.” How is that possible? It’s taking people so long and so much effort to grow this and we’re getting it that cheap? That’s when I really researched fair trade, I knew about fair trade coffee, but there’s so many industries that are terrible to workers, especially products grown to be sold in the US. After that, I never wanted to use any of those products ever again. So I wanted to try to do my own thing, I thought it would be easier to start something fresh because sometimes it’s hard to integrate that into existing business models because it’s very expensive. We just started officially this past year, since I moved to Harrisburg,” said Hanniel. “And it’s hard, because people are interested, but they get frustrated when they see how high our prices are in comparison to other bakeries, but I think it’s worth it.”
Quick & Dirty’s catering menu includes croissants, danishes, quiches and pies, as well as a wide variety of cakes. “We make a lot of cakes and cupcakes,” said Hanniel. “They’re really great for any event because they’re just pick-up-and-go, and that’s what most of the galleries we cater for get.” Flavors include Chocolate Chai Spice, Carrot with Ginger Cream Cheese, Earl Grey & Lavender, Majorcan Almond & Lemon and Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter. “Go to QuickDirtyBakery.com to see what we have, but the best thing to do is just email QuickDirtyBakery at gmail.com and talk to me, because everything we do is really individually catered,” explained Craton. “I know that makes it a little complicated, but I like to have that personal relationship.” Visit QuickDirtyBakery.com to view and Like their Facebook page to get the latest Quick & Dirty news and photos at Facebook.com/quickdirtybakery
Images courtesy of Lisa Bennett of Lisa-Bennett.com.
(Click to enlarge photos)