GreenIsland Bakery: So Authentic, You'll Do A Jig
For centuries, Irish immigrants have had a major influence on American culture. Nowhere is this more obvious than in America’s culinary scene. Whether it’s chowder or Irish stouts, many of our favorite foods and drinks are Irish in origin. Now, Caroline Johnston is working with Union Kitchen to add her own mark on Ireland’s impressive culinary legacy with her authentic, Irish baked goods brand, Green Island Bakery.
After fifteen years of working as a business consultant and developer, Caroline Johnston founded Green Island Bakery in 2020. Through her bakery, Caroline aims to bring to the authentic Irish and European pastries, bakery goods, and breads that she misses from her hometown to Washington, D.C. With three delicious cookies to try, Strawberry Irish Shortbread, Chocolate Chip Irish Shortbread, and Classic Irish Shortbread, Green Island Bakery is perfect for anyone looking to experience an authentic Gaelic taste.
The seeds of the idea for this bakery were planted in Caroline’s head at a young age. Growing up in Green Island, Northern Ireland, Caroline was lucky enough to have an amazing baker as a mother. As a child, Caroline would watch and learn from her mother, who spent countless hours running a bakery out of their own kitchen. As a young adult, Caroline studied and worked across Europe. Trying various pastries in each locale, she gained a further appreciation for baked goods.
Following this, Caroline decided to put her dreams of owning a bakery on hold and instead focus on her career. She would spend the next fifteen years working as a Manager and Director of International Business Development for various European companies looking to expand into America. In 2019, she even founded a woman-focused consulting and coaching company called Caroline Sarah Ventures. While certainly an impressive and fulfilling career, the young girl yearning to become a baker in her wouldn't go away. Throughout her career, Caroline would occasionally flirt with the idea of opening a bakery, even registering a company in 2011. Unfortunately, nothing came to pass. Luckily, this would finally change a few years later, when her mother came to visit.
“My mom visited and we let friends sample her products,” Caroline said in an interview with Union Kitchen. “And they were a hit, especially her shortbread recipe”.
Deciding that the right time had come, Caroline decided she was going to finally pursue her childhood dreams. Of course, this is easier said than done, and there were a few obstacles that she would have to overcome.
When people talk about the most important qualities of food, how good the food looks rarely gets brought up. Yet aesthetics play a crucial role in food prep. People want a product that looks appetizing and tastes goods. Understanding this, Caroline worked hard to find the proper baking measurements and techniques that would achieve a consistently good-looking and good-tasting cookie. Luckily, she didn’t have to go at it alone. Working closely with the Union Kitchen Accelerator Program, Caroline was able to experiment with her baking and see what worked and what didn’t. Eventually this trial-and-error experimentation led to her receiving customer feedback like: “I scoffed all six with my espresso” and “dude, I can’t stop eating these cookies”. Needless to say, the hard work is paying off, and people are liking her baked goods.
Those whose mouths are watering to bite into some Irish pastries will be happy to hear that Green Island Bakery’s cookies will soon be available at Union Kitchen stores. You can also purchase them from Green Island Bakery’s website. While you’re buying some treats, also be sure to follow Green Island Bakery on Instagram and Facebook @greenislandbakery and on Twitter @GIBIrishBakery. Before you know it, you’ll be jigging for joy.