I'm Judy Yoder — Mrs. Yoder, from Mrs. Yoder's kitchen. I make the homemade, from-scratch sourdough doughnuts to sell at farmers' markets. It's usually my husband and I and our three daughters, and on Thursdays it's my 4-year-old when the girls are in school.
We started this April a year ago, after we moved from Madison County to Dinwiddie County and were looking for a new source of income. My husband made pallets before, had a pallet shop, and then we were chosen as part of the church group to come start a new church. His cousin in Tennessee — we watched them do this at farmers' markets. We decided, "Hey, maybe this would be a thing to do."
So we started at 17th Street [Farmers' Market] and from there we went to Chesterfield Towne Center. We had people come see what we were doing. That is how we got in here [at South of the James Market]. There is usually a waiting list of a hundred vendors or more and you just can't get in. But one lady saw what we were doing and said, "I'll make a spot for you." She put us back here in the corner where no one else wanted. This was the most unlikely spot, but it turns out it's the best spot for us because we have a place for a line!
The busiest day has probably been 1,500 doughnuts. I have no idea how many people, because some people get half a dozen and a dozen doughnuts. I was so surprised that people in Richmond would like our doughnuts, that they would stand in line for half an hour. And they keep coming back. It's been spreading by word of mouth.
For me, the best part of the business is working with my family and having fun together. Doing something like this as a family and being able to make a living, it's been wonderful. Our principle is to glorify God by what we do, run the business honestly, to do something that is — I don't know, doughnuts aren't really a help to people's health! — but to be a testimony working as a Christian family. What we have had to do is learn how to work together. In a little crammed trailer, every move you make you have to watch for the others. We've learned it's not all easy, but it's been good for our family. We all enjoy it. -- As told to Briget Ganske