Iowa May 07, 2018
The Story Behind This Iowa Bakery Is Truly Incredible
One of the most unique towns in Iowa is hiding a (poorly kept!) secret – the most incredible dutch bakery on this side of the Atlantic. If you’ve never treated yourself to a Dutch Letter from Jaarsma Bakery, you’re missing out!
Pella is a small town in Iowa that's truly a little taste of Holland in the Midwest.
The town boasts plenty of attractions, like a Dutch windmill, restaurants, and a museum to celebrate the founders' heritage.
Nothing in Pella is more famous than the dutch bake shop, Jaarsma Bakery.
Jaarsma Bakery opened in 1898. For decades, Harmon Jaarsma himself worked to create the best baked goods in the state - right out of his own brick ovens.
Harmon passed the bakery on to his son, Frank, who moved it to its present location in the town square. Frank's sons, Howard and Ralph, took over the business from their dad when it was his time to retire.
On July 15, 1973, Jaarsma Bakery burned to the ground in an accidentl fire. Though they were starting over with nothing, the family rebuilt and re-opened the landmark bakery in less than a year. The bakery is currently owned and operated by Harmon's great-granddaughter, Kristi, and her husband Dave. The bakery has been family run for four generations now, and each generation has been more dedicated than the last to baking the best dutch treats in the country.
The now-famous Dutch Letters started out as a one-day-a-year treat.
When Jaarsma began baking these treats from his homeland, he kept up with Dutch tradition by only baking them on Sinterklaas Day, December 6th. That explains why they're shaped like an "S"! Each puff pastry filled with almond paste, baked, and topped with just enough sugar to make it perfection!
Now, the bakery sells them year-round. During Pella's Tulip Time festival, Jaarsma's goes through 5,000 pounds of flour for the letters!
Keep in mind the festival is only a few days long. Jaarsma's Dutch Letters are so famous that they sell upwards of 35,000 dutch letters in
The bakery sells dozens of other dutch treats, too.
Speculaas (Dutch Spice cookies) and Boter Koek (Almond Butter cake) are house specialities, but the selection of cakes, breads, cookies and pastries all vary each day. It's worth making multiple trips to Pella to try something new from Jaarsma Bakery!
Jaarsma Bakery is located at 727 Franklin St., Pella, IA 50219. The bake shop is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays. You can order their treats
on their website, here, if you can’t make it to the charming town itself!