Farmers Market-Goers Enjoy Barking Dog Bakery Treats

Kate Edenborg, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A yellow lab named Gypsy inspired the name for Richard Thomas’ most recent endeavor, Barking Dog Bakery, a popular outfit at the Menomonie Farmer’s Market. Thomas said Gypsy liked to have an “early morning conversation” at 4:30am with a barred owl.

Those who come to the market might see his most recent companion, Roma, a 5½-year-old pup, next to his stand. His first lab was Hobo. “They are all wandering fools like me,” Thomas said.

“People like them because I toast the pecans in butter and brown sugar along with cinnamon and nutmeg.” – Richard Thomas, Barking Dog Bakery

The man behind the popular baked goods wandered into the area more than two decades ago. Thomas was owner of The Creamery Restaurant and Inn for 23 years and then owner of the River Valley Bakery, which he built and opened with a partner in Durand.

Barking Dog Bakery has been at the market in Menomonie for three years and offers customers several dozen different types of bread, danishes, and croissants, all made from scratch. His bakery items often have a unique twist. Consider, for example, his caramel rolls with spiced pecans. “People like them because I toast the pecans in butter and brown sugar along with cinnamon and nutmeg,” Thomas said.

His decades of food and baking experience have inspired him to try different things. “It keeps me and the customer interested,” he said. “I kind of follow my soul and the seasons.” Customers at the Menomonie market are willing to follow Thomas’ lead.

“My twin sister, Jane, sets up the stand and I arrive at 8am, and there is generally a line waiting, where a ‘feeding frenzy’ takes place,” Thomas said. He is generally sold out of all pastries by 10am. Some favorites are his sweet danishes, such as apple walnut or peach and blueberry, as well as the open-faced savory croissants that feature various meats, cheese, vegetables, and herbs.

While many of the pastries are consumed as customers wander the market, Thomas’ breads are more likely to make it home. He said the Birdseed bread – which was from his days at the Creamery – and his Honey Brioche are the most popular.

Thomas also delivers a rack of bread to Marion’s Legacy (632 S. Broadway St., Menomonie) on Fridays. You will see him at the Menomonie Farmer’s Market most Wednesdays and every Saturday. “A man’s got to tend to his garden you know,” Thomas said.