GLENBURN — What a sweet place April Braley’s kitchen must be.
That’s where Braley creates the colorful treats for her two businesses, Fruit Bouquets and Cupcakes Too!, when she’s not working at her other family business, Roger’s Market in Hudson.
Braley’s culinary journey began four years ago, when she wanted to send an edible arrangement to a friend, but no place offered such a product in eastern Maine. So she tried her hand at making one from pineapple, strawberries, melons, apples, grapes, and kiwis. Orders from friends and families poured in.
At first, Braley operated out of Roger’s Market, but feedback from her customers led her to the greater Bangor area. She spent two years on Wilson Street in Brewer; then in April, she moved into the Antiques Marketplace & Cafe, 65 Main St. in Bangor.
“[While in Brewer] we wanted better access, and we would miss customers while out making deliveries,” explained Braley, 35. “I met Paul Cook, who owns the Marketplace, and we thought it might be a good fit for us to come into the cafe. There’s seating, so a person can get a cup of coffee and a cupcake, sit down, and enjoy it.”
Braley and her mother, Barbara Collins, take the orders for Fruit Bouquets at Roger’s. Orders can be picked up either at Roger’s or at the Marketplace; delivery is available at an added cost. A couple varieties of the cupcakes are available at the Marketplace, with Braley changing them out daily, but they can be custom ordered as well.
In the cupcakes, Braley uses high-end ingredients, such as Madagascar bourbon vanilla, Ghirardelli, chocolate and fresh fruit, “which gives them the strong flavors,” she said.
Her cupcakes retail for $2.75 apiece, which not all potential customers understand.
“I have some clientele that think they’re more pricey, while people from out of state think it’s a good deal,” she said. “I’ve had people question the price, but then they buy one and eat it and come back and say that now they understand.”
Her most popular flavors are sugar cookie, chocolate mocha, fresh strawberry, fresh lemon, and red velvet. She offers seasonal flavors such as gingerbread and strawberry lemonade. Most of her cupcakes are dairy free, and some are vegan. Braley estimates that she could produce 45 different flavors of cupcakes.
On display at www.MyFruitBouquets.com, the Fruit Bouquets also feature high-end ingredients and range in price from $30 to $85 and can be customized. The more popular of the 30 different bouquets are Summer Delight, Richard’s Bouquet, and Chocolate Roses.
“You have to keep them refrigerated,” Braley said. “They’ll last a couple of days in the fridge.”
Her biggest challenge is finding quality fresh produce. “The local vendors help me to get the freshest they can,” she said.
To place an order, stop into Roger’s Market, 2335 Hudson Road in Hudson, visit www.MyFruitBouquet.com, or call (207) 327-1400.