Scappoose students find sweet success
It's hard for 12-year-old Mia Hurliman to decide which sweet treat is her favorite, so she and her friends dump all the best things into one giant cookie.
"Our signature thing is the monster cookie," Hurliman explains. "I guess I like that the best."
The cookie is a conglomeration of oatmeal, peanut butter, M&M candies and chocolate chips, all baked into one large treat.
It's become a staple of Jammin' Bakery, a roving food cart offering baked goods made by a handful of middle school students in Scappoose.
Jammin' is the extra-curricular brainchild of Hurliman, Megan Earl, Shelby Miccham, Hadley Jarman and Alice Davidson. The 12-year-olds haven't quite started middle school yet, but they've already started a small business.
They took up their collective passion for baking during the 2016-17 school year, when they shared a class and finished their assignments.
"The teacher asked us to go out in the hallway and come up with an idea to work on," Earl recalls. "So we came up with a business idea that was Jammin' Bakery."
The idea came to fruition with a little help from their parents.
"Mia [Hurliman's] dad has a cart for shaved ice," Earl says. "Mia was talking to him to see if maybe we could use it or rent it out in some way."
With permission, they baked their first batch of goods and took them to the Scappoose Farmers Market in Hurliman's father's cart. After a successful first run, they continued to churn out baked goods and started bringing them to the weekend market on a regular basis.
The summertime endeavor has become more than just a bake sale. It's a side project the girls treat like a business.
Earlier this month, the Jammin' Bakery girls started selling their treats at the Movies in the Park events on Friday nights in Heritage Park.
They pay for booth space at the Farmers Market, follow health codes and only use commercial grade kitchens to prepare their food.
Each decides what she wants to bake, then calculates a price based on the cost of ingredients.
The menu varies, but customers can usually find a selection of cookies, cupcakes, bars, muffins, rice crispy treats, and scones.
"We just each decided what we wanted to make and we were all in charge of our own ingredients," Hurliman notes. "We pay our parents back for what we used of theirs."
Hurliman notes the girls typically split profits among each of the participating bakers each week.
"We take it home and get to keep what we didn't spend on ingredients," she adds.
Later this month, they'll start baking for their largest order yet — a special request from the Scappoose School District for a variety of 300 blueberry muffins and cranberry bliss bars for a back to school event.
The 'tweens say they've gotten positive feedback, and customers appreciate seeing young people with an entrepreneurial spirit.
"It started out as just for fun and another way to hang out," Miccham says. "We all really like to bake and it's just something fun to do. It turned out to be more. We're catering a school district back to school thing. We're getting more business and people now know about us."
Jammin' Bakery's next planned stop is Friday, Aug. 31 for the Scappoose Movies in the Park night at Heritage Park.