From Rome with Love will join us for the remainder of our first farmers market season and WE cannot be more excited!! GFM will return on Friday May 7 from 4-7pm on the green space of Blair Middle School!!
Here is an 2018 article about Lauren and her small locally owned bakery business From Rome with Love
Want a different bread? Try the olive and feta loaf, From Rome With Love.
By DAVID MACAULAY CORRESPONDENT | AUG 22, 2018 AT 10:00 AM
Lauren Ezzell was waiting tables at Eurasia Café in Virginia Beach at the age of 39 when she had an epiphany.
"I turned 39, and I thought, 'Do you want to be waiting tables when you're 40?' " she recalls.
The inspiration for Ezzell's future was rooted in her past.
She remembered baking as a child with her family in Rome, New York, and the long-running joke about setting up a bakery business. From Rome with Love was born. Although Ezzell's family is Italian, the Rome in her business name is the city in central New York where she lived until moving to Virginia Beach at the age of 7.
"Basically, if you live there you are either Italian or Polish," said Ezzell.
This summer, Ezzell set up a stall at two farmers' markets in Virginia Beach, where her breads sell out fast.
The business was inspired by the Italian cookies her family made back in New York.
"It was based off my family's Christmas cookie recipes," she said. "My mother and all of us kids used to make cookies and give them to people as gifts. You really can't get cookies like that in Virginia. They are just Italian, homemade, hand-made cookies. I call them small-town secrets."
Ezzell worked in the restaurant business in Virginia Beach for the past two decades before setting up From Rome with Love. She ran her business while still waiting tables and later worked as a merchandiser with Frito-Lay.
"I started doing it as just a holiday thing, and it took off. I started playing around with fermenting dough and bread and then I started formulating these novelty bread recipes with the roasted garlic and the olive and feta loaf. People just love them," she said.
After Ezzell started selling her goods at the farmers' markets this year, she gave up her day job to concentrate on From Rome with Love.
"I needed something that would fulfill me nd make me happy. I decided to take a chance and make this my future," she said.
Since May, she has been selling her breads at the Old Beach Farmers Market and the market at King's Grant Baptist Church.
Ben Rawles from Richmond is a fan. He has a home in Virginia Beach and visits the Old Beach Farmers Market when he's in town.
"It's excellent," he said. "I have bought it two or three times. I like both of the breads."
Despite the products' popularity, running From Rome with Love remains a challenge.
"There is so much preparation and so much goes into it. It's also been a struggle financing the business on my own and not having a brick and mortar where people can come to me," Ezzell said.
After the farmers markets close for the season, Ezzell will concentrate on the holidays, when she ships out cookies and other baked goods.
She has not been back to Rome in 12 years but will be returning to New York in September to be reunited with some of the family members who inspired her to bake.