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February 08, 2016

Fikira Bakery bikes baked goods straight to Philly doors

West Philly outpost puts a new spin on home delivery

Food Baked Goods
Fikira Bakery Fikira Bakery/Alibhe Pascal

Fikira's picnic bread is a whole grain loaf to feed twelve. Inside is a mushroom apple filling that tastes just like harvest season. It's a Fall-Winter seasonal special.

Over the past few years, pedal-powered delivery in Philadelphia has cycled way past the act of transporting an office memo on the quick.

These days, a quick phone call to an often youthful bike courier can yield you everything from a much-needed bowl of Dizengoff’s hummus to a bag full of dry-cleaned clothes. (Call up Caviar for the former, and Wash Cycle for the latter.)

You can now add reaping your weekly supply of fresh-baked bread to that list, too. 

Launched in November, Fikira Bakery offers oven-to-door delivery of baked goods by bike. Choose from breads, such as the most popular item on the menu, the Whole Wheat Sandwich loaf, and from sweets, like the founder’s favorite, the Cardamom Apple Muffin.

“It’s a gluten-free oat muffin that has an almost apple pie filling," Fikira founder Ailbhe Pascal said, who admits to being a “sucker for her spices”.

Pascal runs Fikira with one other baker, J.A. Harris, and between the two of them, they hand-deliver every order by two-wheel transit.

“I want people to see my face,” Pascal said. “I want people to know who I am as I’m coming up their block. That’s how you build community.”

Fikira Bakery partyFikira Bakery/Alibhe Pascal

Fikira hosts four parties a year for their neighbors to try their food for free, connect, and give feedback.

Pascal admits that as the business continues to grow, they’ll need to hire more cyclists. For now, Pascal wants to remain as hands-on as possible in every aspect of the bakery. To have Pascal show up at your own doorstep, Fikira currently accepts phone calls and emails every day of the week, and customers can expect a one- to two-day turnaround on orders placed. All baking is carried out at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises in West Philadelphia.

New this year, Fikira will also be taking on wholesale clients, so you’ll be able to pick up baked goods at spots like Mariposa Co-op, and as part of CSA packages with West Philly Foods and Philly Foodworks.

“The project of this year is to work with more wholesale outlets to increase the sustainability of the business so that we can create a model to redistribute our income,” said Pascal, who is in the process of mapping out a corner store initiative. The goal is to make healthier foods, like whole grain products and veggie chips, as cheap as their 99-cent counterparts at bodegas across the city.  

Fikira BakeryFikira Bakery/Alibhe Pascal

“Sweet Potato Cornbread is a popular Fall-Winter Seasonal special (pictured with some of the thought that goes into our food),“ Pascal said.

“We want to transfer the profit we take in and use it to make quality food accessible to everyone,” Pascal said. “It becomes a question of how can we replace the cheap cookies [at the bodega] with something healthier of the same price.”

Pascal has always been passionate about the topic of food justice and its connection to the kitchen, with a resume that includes everything from farming in Albany to being a full-time waiter to peeling potatoes in the back of a restaurant kitchen in Turkey. Throughout all of these experiences, the concept of food accessibility was always at the forefront of Pascal’s mind.

Even now, Fikira will use a percentage of profits from their sweet potato cornbread, daikon dumplings and other seasonal orders, to continue to work toward creating greater food justice here in Philadelphia.

“Knowing that you have access to nutrition and wellness and that it doesn’t come with strings attached, is something that every individual deserves,” Pascal said.