A Coleman cooler, Dodge hatchback van, and a fledgling Farmer’s Market at the C-Store near the village of Akra, ND provided the backdrop for the first public sale of Karen’s Kuchens. Selling out of the back of the van was soon replaced by a licensed kitchen and Karen selling kuchen at various shows and celebrations in Northeast North Dakota, eventually culminating in her becoming an anchor at the Grand Forks Farmer’s Market and the Pride of Dakota Showcase shows. Retail outlets in ND, SD, and MN abound, and on-line and local sales are available as well.
2005 through 2011 has seen explosive growth in this little company powered by “Grandma steam”, burning with a desire to produce this German ethnic food the Old World way as a way and a means to honor her Mother and her heritage, as well as to show people just what kuchen is supposed to be all about.
Great Grandma is no longer able to make kuchen, but she has seen how Karen has picked up and passed on the heritage of the Germans from Russia. The old way is to say “I love you” with food, especially with a special treat like kuchen.
The look on their faces and the memories recalled by people from all walks of life are satisfaction enough for all her hard work. Comments most often heard include, “This is sin you can eat”, and “I wept as I watched my Father enjoy my gift of kuchen, which was the first he had tasted since Mom passed away”.
The tradition lives on.