Loyal to Local: Southern Style Bread Pudding

Loyal to Local: Southern Style Bread Pudding
Melanie at her RAM Booth | Photo Credit Chloe Kuhn

The Riverside Arts Market (RAM), now in its 15th year, is a weekly makers and farmers market hosted by Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., rain or shine. Each week more than 100 small business owners gather under the canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge to sell their products to the local community. Keep reading to learn more about some of the incredible vendors that make RAM a must-visit part of every Saturday.

Melanie Sold Out Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Melanie Sold Out | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Melanie’s First Market | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Melanie’s First Market | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon

Selling out nearly every week, baker Melanie Maylon has become a staple of the Riverside Arts Market operating as Southern Style Bread Pudding. Most visitors to RAM gather in places you might expect, like the stage for morning yoga, or Farmer’s Row for the freshest picks. Savvy RAM shoppers will visit Melanie early to get the best selection of bread pudding styles. “I always come here. It’s the best food at RAM, and you never know what’ll be new” says RAM volunteer and frequent visitor, Mikki Evener. With 14 flavors of bread pudding, Southern Style is a unique offering within the market with something for everyone- if you can get there fast enough!

Banana Twist Bread Pudding | Photo Credit Chloe Kuhn
Banana Twist Bread Pudding | Photo Credit Chloe Kuhn

For Melanie, bread pudding was “always a hit” at every party and holiday that she went to, but not originally her career. As a professional photographer, she balanced baking time with time behind the camera. That changed with the COVID pandemic in 2020. “My photography clients were dropping like flies, pushing back weddings- it was a dark time”, said Melanie. Family members and friends encouraged her to try selling her famous bread pudding, and with their advice, she started selling through Facebook.

It was an instant success, with Melanie’s dual skills as a photographer and baker shining. “People who had never eaten bread pudding before said they ‘just had to try it’ after seeing the pictures online.” From there, she began selling at markets like the Orange Park Farmers Market and the Lake Asbury Market. Melanie also expanded her offerings, moving beyond the classic bread pudding to include flavors like apple cinnamon and pecan. “I was selling out, and that’s when it hit me. I am going to be a baker!”

RAM Set up | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
RAM Set up | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon

Her experience at local markets gave Melanie the confidence to make baking her career. “I got hungry for more”, she said. She quickly built connections with local restaurants, like Whitey’s Fish Camp, Corky Bell’s, and Dreamette Ice Cream, and began vending at RAM. Baking is a full time operation, with work for the Riverside Arts Market beginning on Tuesday, followed by baking on Thursday and Friday, plus an early morning Saturday start to get ready to greet customers.

While some customers are familiar with bread pudding, others need explanations and recommendations. “I describe it as a moist cake, but with bread”, says Melanie. While her favorite is the banana twist, most new customers opt to try the apple cinnamon. New customers often become repeat customers, and many reach out to Melanie for larger orders. Customers can coordinate with her to order a full sheet pan of bread pudding, and she also caters weddings and events, placing her bread pudding in decorative mini mason jars.

Happy Customers | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Happy Customers | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Bread Pudding - Ready for Sale | Photo Credit Chloe Kuhn
Bread Pudding – Ready for Sale | Photo Credit Chloe Kuhn
Event Catering | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon
Event Catering | Photo Credit Melanie Maylon

Melanie dreams of someday expanding to a small shop where she can serve bread pudding alongside milk, coffee, and ice cream. Until then, Melanie can be found on Saturdays at the Riverside Arts Market. Bread pudding fans can also keep up with Melanie’s business and journey through her Instagram or Facebook pages, where she announces her market dates and takes custom orders. Are you interested in becoming a RAM maker in 2024? Please visit the Applications tab on RAM’s website to learn more and submit a vendor interest form.

By Chloe Kuhn,
Market Manager, Riverside Arts Market

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