LAWRENCEVILLE, NEW JERSEY – The mixers, ovens, and restless hands in the kitchen of The Gingered Peach haven’t slowed down despite no longer welcoming the typical lines of hungry customers. In fact, the bakery seems to be using quarantine to its advantage, further establishing their product as unparalleled and their voice as a call for change. The Gingered Peach occupies a unique position within the Lawrenceville community as a woman- and Black-owned business that works towards bringing Lawrenceville together to eat, grow, and commit to communal action.
The Gingered Peach has been supplying the surrounding area with pie, pastry, and pure joy for over 5 years. A smile spread across the face of local resident Kristen Heinzel as she recalled some of her favorite memories there. “For my family, it was a routine to make tea and bring back baked goods from The Gingered Peach on Sunday afternoons,” Heinzel noted. The fresh baked goods became the focal point of so many family memories for her.
“It’s pretty rare to find a small town bakery with so much charm these days,” remarked Nancy Mckeon, longtime patron of The Gingered Peach. Many locals wouldn’t hesitate to say the same. With its signature red paint job and striped awning, The Gingered Peach stands out as a place of warmth, happiness and unity.
When businesses in New Jersey were forced to abide by distancing restrictions as a result of COVID-19, food industry businesses were among the hardest hit. The Gingered Peach was no exception. However, owner Joanne Canady-Brown refused to let quarantine stop the momentum they’ve been building for years.
In addition to the unparalleled deliciousness that comes out of their kitchen, The Gingered Peach bears an important voice within my community. In reaction to the racist murders of George Floyd and countless others, Canady-Brown wrote on Instagram,
“As a Black owned business, it is in our culture to foster a workplace of inclusion and awareness… But that is not the reality outside of our walls.”
She went on to thank the local police department for “hearing me and opening up a dialogue of how we as a community can move forward from here.”
Lawrenceville falls very much into the category of “small-town America,” and the close quarters make it rare for residents to mind their own business. This creates a community of individuals committed to understanding and supporting each other in word and deed. Canady-Brown has taken it upon herself to create space for conversation and encourage action. Owned by a Black woman and boasting a devoted customer base, The Gingered Peach has a voice that stands out among the rest. There’s no doubt that this is how and where change will happen.
Canady-Brown is no stranger to using her position in the food industry to fight for social justice. In 2019, she participated in the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program. In a recent article, Canady-Brown found there “a network of [women] who made you feel comfortable and supported. No idea was stupid.” In an industry that leans towards masculinity, support from fellow women becomes so important for growth. Women giving other women tools for success is the future of the food industry, and Canady-Brown has made it clear that she wants to lead this movement.
While they have used their voice to speak on national issues, The Gingered Peach has also committed themselves to local affairs, which is a true source of pride within Lawrenceville. When quarantine hit, the well-known brand King Arthur Flour started ‘For Goodness Bakes,’ an initiative “to help keep bakeries running by purchasing bread and pastries, that is then donated to people in need.” A suggestion of giving back to the local community was all it took for the small but mighty team at The Gingered Peach to pull out their donut fryer and buy up all the yeast that they could find.
Whether it’s through the impact of their voice on social media or the simple act of sharing one of their gooiest cinnamon buns, The Gingered Peach has discovered the secret to prosperity and progress: if you truly commit to improving your community, the people around you will not let you fail.
The Gingered Peach on 2 Gordon Ave, Lawrence Township, NJ 08648
Find their hours of operation and more information on their website here.