Welcome to Soul Chat - be Inspired by Empowered Women Thriving with Heart & Soul.
Meet Sam Anderson who, along with her husband Lewis, owns Jacob’s River Bakehouse, an organic bakery and conscious café in beautiful Riverton.
- Sam tell us how you came to own a café. Is this a dream you have put energy into manifesting?
Lewis and I have been talking and dreaming about having our own café for about five years. We have considered all sorts of ideas and premises and were waiting for the one which felt right. We love the culture of cafes.
In February 2020 we heard that the Postmasters Bakery in Riverton would be closing in March. We became very excited about this possibility and entered discussions with the landlord.
However, lockdown came and with it a lot of uncertainty around starting a new business. We temporarily put our plans on hold. As the lockdown was coming to an end, even though it was a risky time to open a café we both had an unshakeable feeling of rightness and decided to sign the lease!
We spent an epic six weeks renovating the building and bringing fresh energy and love into the space. This was a lot of hard work but extremely rewarding as we felt the historic building start to shine. With the warm white paint and ambient lighting, loads of plants, wooden furniture and local art the space feels uplifting and relaxing.
- The Bakehouse specialises in local, organic, ethical and soulful food. Why is this food ethos important to you and to your customers?
Our main intention is to do something which is better for our earth. By choosing predominantly organic and spray-free ingredients we are supporting growers who are making the effort to take care of the land. The result being food that is truly healthy and free of harmful chemicals.
A few years ago I studied the health effects of glyphosate and was shocked to learn how widely it is used on food crops and how far reaching the harm to health is. This is incredibly important to us to provide food which we know is full of life and nutrients and is grown with care for our earth.
- You have an intention to create holistic community and wellbeing at the café by holding events that nurture the soul. Why is this sense of soulful connection important to you and how do you see it benefiting the community?
This aspect of community is the part which excites me most about the café. Although I love Riverton so much, I have found myself at times over the years, wishing we had a more vibrant community with more markets, music and festivals where the community comes together. We realised we needed to create it!
We felt Riverton has such a diverse and interesting community for a small town, we just weren’t getting together enough! It felt like potential waiting to happen, we just needed that venue for a community hub.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Jacob’s River Bakehouse is seeing the locals coming in, connecting and catching up. There are quite a few locals who come in daily (at least once) and hang out with the Bakehouse family before starting their day.
It totally warms my heart that we have created a place where locals have a feeling of belonging. I love seeing people feel so at home at the cafe.
We have offer yoga and fitness classes as well as various workshops relating to wellbeing and spirituality from the café. This is another great opportunity for our community to come together and I feel this side of it is going to really grow.
- Sam, you are mother to two young children. How have you created your life to balance the business, your family and your own self-care?
This is always a work in progress! Initially balance was hanging on by a thread with the huge amount of energy required to get the café renovated and up and running. It was definitely an intense time with a two and a four-year-old, with endless to-do lists and time pressure.
However, after the first month everything began to settle and I now feel I’ve relaxed into life with the café. I’m starting to bring things back into my routine which nourish me again like my yoga practice and receiving a massage or energy healing from time to time.
I work at the café two days per week and on the other days I take care of the accounts and organising things for the café while being with our children Rose & Jacob.
At the moment we only have one family day per week where Lewis isn’t cooking at the café but the silver lining is that we treasure that time together and appreciate it so much more.
- I can feel the vibe that people love working at the cafe. How do you create a culture within your team that is inspired, motivated, passionate and happy?
We were really clear about our values and intentions for our café and we chose people who shared those values. It is awesome to work with like-minded people. I feel we are constantly inspiring and learning from each other. We all share a passion for wholesome food, care for our earth and want to create a community hub.
We imagined our team would be like a big whanau and this energy would emanate out and be felt by everyone who comes. Our team of eight quickly became like a wee family.
We are a very authentic bunch at the Bakehouse and keep it real with open and honest conversations. I love that everyone is very comfortable to be themselves at work.
- How does the seaside landscape of Riverton nourish your soul and influence the cafe?
We are so blessed in Riverton with our beautiful beaches and bush. I especially love to go for bush walks or play at the beach with the kids.
I’m also excited to have begun surf lessons. With the café I wanted to bring in the natural beauty of Riverton into the space with local art and lots of plants.
- What is it that you love most about operating Jacob’s River Bakehouse?
I have found it rewarding to apply our own personal values to a business. Seeing our mission being played out on a bigger scale brings a great sense of satisfaction.
I also really enjoy my two days at the café as there are constant laughs and interesting conversations.
- Yin Yang questions –
Coffee or Tea? Both!
Ocean or Mountains? Mountains
A life full of ups and downs or a monotonous life? Ups and downs!
Rose quartz or amethyst? Rose quartz
Kairos or Chronos time? Kairos
- “Just as food is the greatest expression of nature’s generosity, cooking and serving food to others is a primal act of human nurture. At a deep biological level, sharing food equates to sharing love. Because it is an expression of love, preparing food for others is a sacred act.” The Yoga of Eating’ by Charles Eisenstein. Does this message resonate with you?
Yes, I totally resonate with this. The energy put into the food is so important and is what makes people feel so fulfilled eating a lovely meal. We are so fortunate that our team is very conscious of this and I feel we are preparing the food with love.
- What quote or affirmation is important to you at this time of your life?
The one which comes to mind is “Be the change you wish to see in the world” which I believe is a Gandhi quote.
This one is so important as I see so many things which I feel need to change in the world at this time, but I keep realising I have to bring it back to me, and what can I do within myself.
To learn more about Sam and Jacob's River Bakehouse see -