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Red Gingham Gourmet
Laura Hester was born in 1961 and raised in Florence, Alabama. Growing up, her mother taught home economics and often experimented with new recipes at home. In 1985, Hester became a dental hygienist, but she always loved to bake. In 2005, she began selling sourdough bread at her local farmer’s market to supplement her family’s income. At her first farmer’s market, she remembers instantly selling the sixteen loaves she brought.
A local chef approached her to make a cornbread muffin for his restaurant. She used her mother’s cornbread recipe and often sold the extra muffins she had leftover along with the sourdough bread, cinnamon rolls, and cakes at the farmers’ market. The cornbread muffins were a hit. A farmers’ market customer convinced her to sell them in their local grocery store during the winter months. She transitioned from farmers’ markets to direct store delivery. At the height of her business, Hester sold her classic and jalapeno cornbread muffins in grocery stores throughout the Southeast. In 2018, Hester closed Red Gingham Gourmet.