Rockaway Widow granola was born out of baker Jessie Sheehan’s own rebirth. After taking a maternity leave that spanned the length of two pregnancies, Sheehan realized her career as a copyright lawyer no longer filled her with the same excitement. Like many before her, she turned to sugar.
It was over a decade ago that she stopped into Baked, her local Red Hook bakery, and asked if they would let her work for free. Her apprenticeship began with bagging and then preparing the bakery’s granola. She slowly moved up the ranks as a paid employee, serving as a junior baker, and recipe tester and developer for the shop’s cookbooks. This stint in their kitchen led Sheehan to strike out on her own, publishing her first cookbook, Icebox Cakes, in 2015 and the forthcoming The Vintage Baker, scheduled for spring 2018.
But neither of these books contain the recipe for Sheehan’s first professionally made food: granola.
While she was developing her own recipes and freelancing for others, her husband Matthew, a New York City public school teacher, began spending the bulk of his time in Far Rockaway at Edgemere Farm. “Some women call themselves golf widows because their husbands are always on a golf course; I’ve adopted the name ‘Rockaway Widow,’” she says.
In an effort to bring a piece of her own work to her husband’s farm life and expand on her first foray into professional baking, Sheehan will debut Rockaway Widow Granola at Edgemere’s weekend farmstand on July 9. The recipe is hearty, with whole hazelnuts filling each bite, and well-balanced. But just because she’s now selling her granola, she doesn’t consider it a granola company. “This is all very new to me. I’m very much an appreciator of all food,” says Sheehan as she elaborates on her baking style: “Less DIY, less artisanal, less alternative-everything. I’m kind of old-school in that way.”
We anticipate Sheehan will continue making and selling her granola while looking for other ways to get out to Edgemere Farm to catch a glimpse of her husband. Next, you’ll find her making the desserts for the farm’s July 20 dinner with fellow Red Hook local Grindhaus.