Community Climate Hero: Anne Mayhew, LMNOP Bakery
Interview conducted and edited by B2030 Rooted Solutions Intern Sofia Jacobson
Anne Mayhew, the visionary founder and owner of LMNOP Bakery in Katonah, is at the forefront of establishing sustainable practices at her bakery. Recognized for their exceptional achievements, Anne and LMNOP Bakery were voted “Best New Bread Baker” in 2020 and “Best New Bread Bakery” in 2021 by Westchester Magazine. By incorporating sustainable practices within almost every aspect of their business, LMNOP Bakery sets an example for other businesses in the food industry.
Bedford 2030 had the opportunity to talk with Anne and Jesse Mayhew, the owners of LMNOP Bakery, and delve into topics near and dear to them, such as the significance of food sustainability and the benefits of cultivating a climate-friendly business.
Why is having an environmentally friendly business important to you?
We have always been big on a zero waste policy. Even from the very beginning when we started baking, I only did bake-to-order. It was important to me that there wasn’t any extra bread sitting around. As our business has grown, we employ that same philosophy throughout. We try very hard to make exactly what we need per day and sell that. And then, we get creative with any leftovers, by using them in other products, such as breadcrumbs or fillings – you can do a lot of cool things with old bread!
What challenges did you face when transitioning to a zero-waste sustainable business?
It’s challenging in how you place the trash bags and composting bins so they work for staff and customers – we can’t win on everything but we do as much as we can. We don’t use muffin wrappers so there’s not that added waste. Customers can also choose to bring a bag or coffee cups and not use one of ours. It is tricky, it’s a very educational process to try and get everyone; our employees as well as our customers, on board.
What has been the most successful or rewarding part of owning an environmentally friendly business?
People bringing their own bags is pretty awesome. We are still trying to get people to bring their own coffee cups! Probably the biggest success is the use of the old bread – all-in-all we don’t throw away old baked goods. There’s not a big bag of old bread sitting behind the restaurant and I think people have that image in their head of the old food getting dumped but we just don’t have any of that, which is very satisfying.
What is your motivation in helping the climate crises with your business?
My motivation is probably in the rhythm of making the bread – everything from feeding the starters with flour and water and growing it, we always want to have just the right amount so we don’t have to throw that out. Donating is important as well: we are proud to donate high quality, nutritious food to the Community Center. Items that are not suitable for human consumption can be fed to the goats or pigs at Muscoot farm. For a long time we also had a pay it forward program when we were not quite able to meet the number of donations we wanted. Now we don’t need it as much since we have enough bread to donate.
Can you speak about the importance of the flour and ingredients used?
We are using local flour partially because of the health benefits but also supporting and encouraging farmers, other local businesses, and agriculture in the New York region is important. The same thing goes for the ingredients used in our sandwiches and other pastries – we partner with Hilltop Hanover farm to get their produce as well. Farmers are able to grow more and have a reliable source to sell it at a fair rate and then have the opportunity to see their crops used in something special. Of course, since the ingredients are local, that cuts down on transportation, which is a major source of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
What advice would you give to other business owners who are looking to create an environmentally friendly business?
Food partnerships are huge. Trying to figure out how to minimize your food waste is the biggest thing. Businesses should really take a look at how much they are using and how much is going out – from portion size to where you are getting your ingredients from. We also watch our numbers really closely on the amount of bread. Advice for business owners: try to be as concise as you can. Be aware of what you are bringing in and throwing out, and just take a look at it to make sure you are doing the best you can.
Visit Anne Mayhew and LMNOP bakery Tuesday through Saturday (7:30am to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday; 7:30am-8pm Thursday through Saturday) at 25 Katonah Ave, Katonah, NY 10536!