Since the closure of Poppy’s four years ago, one of Rye’s oldest baking families has been absent from the High Street and much missed. Now the Crouchers are back, and baking is once again happening on our High Street. Their sourdough, wholemeal, granary and farmhouse loaves, Belgian bu ns, apple turnovers and sausage rolls can tempt us once more.
The Crouchers’ new shop, at 89 High Street, occupies a site older readers may remember as Longs, but the family launched their new venture as “The Bakery@89”. The name was chosen not only to reflect the shop’s address but to mark its involvement in baking since 1889.
Recent times have seen a move to monstrous centralised bread factories, producing half-baked loaves which get trucked hundreds of miles to be “finished” in supermarkets, which are as tasty as it sounds. However, Rye’s newest bakery harks back to a more traditional era. It sources flour from an independent mill, and lovingly bakes on site everything you see for sale in the shop – which is no mean feat, given its size. Whilst they’re known for their classic British baked goods, there are plans for more continental products soon.
The shop at number 89 has a special resonance for Glenn Croucher, as he started his baking career in the very same premises way back in 1975, under the tutelage of a Mr Turner.
Glenn looks in turn to pass the business on to the next generation and is joined by son, Steven, and daughter-in-law, Becky, baking in the same ovens he installed in 1990, recently modernised to allow for a more flexible offering.
After the closure of so many high street staples (banks, greengrocers, butchers, Woolworths) a heart-warming sight met customers as they looked in on the grand opening on bank holiday Monday a few weeks back; queues were long and business was brisk, as it has been since. Clearly customers thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.
Image Credits: Jeremy White .