It’s easy to work up an appetite exploring Pella's town square, and Vander Ploeg Bakery is perfectly poised to quiet growling stomachs. The owner comes in to work at 11 p.m. and bakes through the night to fill his shop with delicious breads, buns, donuts, cakes and cookies. Items come fresh out of the oven each morning, just as the baker's heading home for a well-earned rest. The Dutch letters, flaky s-shape cookies filled with almond paste that go for $1.85 apiece, regularly sell out, but don't despair. Vander Ploeg also supplies them to convenience stores surrounding Pella.
Breads range from honey wheat to pesto and sell for $1.75 to $4.50 per loaf, and white or graham bread bowls to fill with soups and stews are just 75 cents each. The Dutch apple bread ($2 for a large loaf) is sweet and fragrant, but next time, we’d pass on the Pig in a Blanket (a cold pastry-wrapped sausage for $1). Vander Ploeg isn’t anything fancy, but it's obvious (and to customers’ benefit) that the business succeeds by focusing being a darn fine bakery and nothing more.