The market, which is held on the grounds of the Gammelgarden Museum is the perfect venue for Gary Modean to sell his popular Swedish rye bread – and lots of other goodies.
He already had been baking bread from his Swedish grandmother’s recipe for 30 years for his family, including five kids, when he saw an advertisement seeking vendors for the Scandia Farmers Market. He had never done anything like this but he knew he enjoyed baking and meeting people. The idea of selling them things they would like appealed to him.
Gary won’t revel all his secrets but he does say medium rye flour makes Swedish rye bread different from other rye breads. He’s also added more Swedish items including sandbakkels (a Scandinavian sugar cookie, a Christmas favorite), cardamon coffee braid, caramel rolls, Swedish almond cake and banana nut bread. Gary says the hardest part is making enough and making sure everything is fresh each week.
Gary has even had a fan in New Jersey, who made a special trip up to Scandia (when he was visiting the Twin Cities). Gary’s grandmother may have passed on the recipes, but his wife Katherine, who is not Swedish, taught him to bake and sew.
He also makes mittens –wool, leather or a combination of leather and wool, all with wool linings. He does all the sewing himself. This year he started making leather moccasins, with leather lacing around the top and sides. Bird feeders will show up at his table this year too!
Gary is originally from Duluth. In 1984 he and his family moved to Scandia. “Scandia was the first Swedish settlement in Minnesota and it was a natural fit for me and my family.” His grandparents and his father are from Gotland, Sweden, so you know the rye bread and other baked goods are the real deal.