August 19, 2020
As a tween, Randell Dodge used to spend summers on Long Island’s North Fork, picking peaches and blueberries and returning home with juice-stained sneakers. After examining her haul, Randell and her mother would spend their evenings making jams and carefully crafting pies. Randell loved the process but would often awaken the next morning to find that her younger brother—and perhaps her biggest fan—had already polished them off.
At Bennington College, Randell studied painting and sculpture, reveling in the magic of creating with her hands. After graduating, she considered attending culinary school, but her mother insisted she find a job instead. Thus began Randell’s career in fashion. For years, she designed handbags and accessories, loving the material, textures, hand stitching, and sculptural drawing that accompanied the design process.
Over the years, Randell continued to bake, often bringing her creations to trade shows where customers like Neiman Marcus would buy a batch of baked goods along with her handbags. Randell remembers a jewelry seller approaching her at one such event and saying, “Honey, your handbags are beautiful but your cookies are really good.”
After September 11th, Randell moved to Westchester, where she began working for Nine West as a creative director. She hated the job—and also noticed that there were no good organic bakeries in the area. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m 47. I have one shot at this,” Randell remembers. “Let me try this, I’ve always wanted it.’”
“Total craziness” is how Randell describes opening what is now Red Barn Bakery. She began by renting a small cottage on an estate, but the property was far from ideal. In order to bake, she had to install a commercial oven inside of the property’s big red barn. “I had to dig a trench in the winter in order to fire up the oven,” she recalls, laughing.
After she was discovered by Blue Hill Farm at a local farmers’ market, business began to boom. When Thanksgiving came around, Randell found herself swamped with 250 pie orders and no help. Luckily, she was able to call up her handbag-making friends, who promptly arrived to roll out pie dough and cut apples.
It soon became clear that the cottage, though cute, was too cramped and ill-equipped for a burgeoning business. In 2010, Randell found an old auto garage in Irvington, New York and converted it. Since then, Red Barn Bakery has become a local staple, offering organic, seasonal baked goods, savory treats, and a wide array of vegan and gluten-free options.
After inventing the recipe fifteen years ago, Randell’s Breakfast Cookies have become famous. Randell even appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, where she taught the lifestyle guru how to make them. Her sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free granola has also become a hot item, as well as her Whoopie Pies, Avocado Toast, Gluten-Free Brownies, Vegan Carrot Cake, and Pecan and Almond biscotti. “I can’t make them fast enough,” she says.
Today, Randell sells her goods wholesale to some of the trendiest hotels and boutique health food stores in New York City. If you’d like to try Red Barn’s delicious baked goods or savory items, you can order them online or find Randell at the local farmers’ markets. If you’d like to make a large order, she encourages you to pre-order in advance. Everything on the menu is fair game. Thank you, Randell!