Weather Forecast


Senators snack on Ottertail Bakery sweets

Julie Johnson, owner of Ottertail Bakery, recently received an unexpected phone call requesting she send some of her rolls to Washington, D.C. for a Senate session.

Sometime last week, somewhere in Washington, D.C., in some room, the Senate convened for a meeting. And Ottertail baker Julie Johnson has no idea what the items on the agenda were for the day.

What she does know is a dozen cookies and 18 rolls, more specifically six bismarcks, six long johns, and six caramel rolls, were on the table for the political rendezvous.

The story of how these bakery items made their way from Johnson's Ottertail Bakery in the city of Ottertail to the Senate meeting in Washington, D.C. is one Johnson herself has trouble believing.

"I got a call on Tuesday from a gal who said she was from the White House wondering if we'd be interested in sending rolls for their morning Senate session," Johnson explains.

"I thought it was a prank," she has of her initial reaction to the unexpected call. "I asked her, 'Okay, who is this?'"

Expecting the caller to reveal her identity as one of Johnson's friends out to prank her, the Ottertail city baker was shocked to learn that the call was the real deal. The woman provided Johnson with her contact information in Washington, D.C., explaining how her job is to contact bakeries across the country and have them send their sweets to D.C.

Johnson got the call around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 13 and by noon that same day a UPS representative showed up at the bakery, and the package was on its way to the nation's capitol.

The rolls were sent via UPS Next Day Air mail. The caller from the White House paid for both the order and the likely even more expensive postage for mailing the box of rolls and cookies.

For the last 16 years, Johnson has owned the Ottertail Bakery, establishing a reputation for some of the most delicious bread and goodies around. With all her experience in the bakery business, Johnson said she hasn't once heard of the White House contacting a local baker and asking for donuts and cookies.

Days after the surprising order was placed, Johnson is still in disbelief. "The lady said she was calling from the White House, and I thought, 'The white house in back of me?'"

Photo by Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS