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Published June 17, 2012, 11:30 PM

North Dakota woman opens country store in farmyard

REGAN, N.D. – Katy Kassian of Regan says she has always enjoyed food. “When in doubt, feed them” is her motto.

By: Jessica Holdman, Bismarck Tribune, INFORUM

REGAN, N.D. – Katy Kassian of Regan says she has always enjoyed food. “When in doubt, feed them” is her motto.

Four years ago, Kassian turned that passion for pastries into Buffalo Gals Bakery & Country Store in Underwood to help with the expenses of running a farm.

“We wanted to be able to keep the farm in the family, so Momma needed a job,” she said.

Now Kassian is bringing that business back to the homestead. She is building a store right in her front yard, where she will sell her homemade biscotti, cookies and breads. She also will hold canning classes and sell aprons and other items she sews herself. The store will have a kitchen for baking and a small gift shop. She hopes to have it open by the end of July.

Kassian closed her Underwood location to the public two years ago but still baked out of the kitchen. She said being on the farm will be more convenient and she is not worried about whether the store will do well there.

“When you live this far out, it’s kind of a hike to find that last-second gift,” she said.

Kassian sells most of her products locally, and the farm is close enough for visitors to stop in for vittles before a long day on nearby New Johns Lake. She said some people may just want to know what it’s like to be on a farm.

“It’ll just be bringing people all the way to the farm now instead of bringing it to them,” she said.

Kassian and her husband farm 460 acres and raise a small 20-head cattle herd. After losing most of their savings in the recession, they didn’t want to have to sell part of their land to pay off debts.

Kassian had learned to cook and sew growing up. She was 6 or 7 the first time she used a sewing machine. She really got into baking about 10 years ago. Her biscotti is a 100-year-old recipe from her grandmother. Other items, such as her cowboy and white buffalo cookies, started out popular with her three sons.

“I thought, the kids eat these all days long so they must be good,” she said.

Kassian said she fills five to 10 big orders a week. She can make five to 10 dozen items at a time.

“As one is cooking I’m starting another,” she said.

Kassian said it takes her about three to five days to fill an order. She bakes it one day, packages it the second and ships it the third. She said she may have to make anywhere from 10 to 100 dozen baked goods a week. She just got one order for 2,000 cookies for Farm Credit Service’s Harvest Days.

Her business really took off this past year. She sold a lot more holiday items in the fall. In the spring, she started talking to other businesses and her items are now carried by seven different companies in the state, such as Mocha Mama’s at Gateway Mall in Bismarck.

Kassian said she also started doing more with social media. Half her orders have started coming through Facebook but she is excited about being able to talk with customers face to face when the new store opens.

“I like the interaction,” she said. “You’re seeing friends at the same time you’re working.

“You’re really lucky if you like what you do,” Kassian said. “It keeps me here in the country on the farm instead of driving back and forth to Bismarck to a job I may or may not like.”

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