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The Dirt

Purple Tree Cafe to open Brick & Mortar

By: Emme Dunning for The Dirt

Purple Tree Cafe, a pop-up bakery in Davis with a passionate mission, plans to expand to a brick & mortar location in Sacramento early next year.

Their cafe will be housed at the UC Davis MIND Institute on the UC Davis Medical Center campus, where the non-profit will be able to expand their offerings of coffee and pastries to a more broad selection of food.

Most importantly, leaders say, this expansion will allow Purple Tree Cafe to continue its mission of supporting people with disabilities in employment—while providing a permanent space for community connection and engagement.

Chances are, if you’ve spent a Saturday wandering around the Davis Farmers Market, you’ve heard of Purple Tree Cafe.

Purple Tree is more than a business, it’s a force in the community—and it operates fundamentally differently in the way it hires and supports employees.

It was established with a unique goal: to provide delicious vegan and wheat-free baked goods to the community of Davis while also supporting employment and fostering inclusion for people with disabilities.

“It’s really people first and not product,” associate director and operations manager Kelsey Fortune told The Dirt. “When you come to Purple Tree, we are going to do everything we can to support you in your employment.”

Jordan Fong, an employee who has worked with Purple Tree Cafe for the past four years, has felt this difference firsthand.

“[I love] baking with all my co-workers and supervisors,” Jordan said. “We’re like a tight-knit family.”

In the modern day workplace, and especially in food service, this sentiment of support is not always prioritized. Fortune emphasized that another goal of the organization is to influence these practices across the industry—ultimately creating more opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

Purple Tree’s decision to specialize in vegan and wheat-free baked goods was intentional, consistent with their philosophy of aiding underserved communities.

The non-profit works to fulfill its goal of bringing people together not only through food, but also music and art. Purple Tree partners with local restaurant Delta of Venus to host monthly Hootenannies in collaboration with the Downtown Davis 2nd Friday ArtAbout. The event begins with a performance from The Team Davis Singers, a disability inclusive singing group, followed by local performers and an open mic.

Purple Tree Cafe’s new location in Sacramento will open early 2024.  Purple Tree Cafe is at the Davis Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8a—1p.

Learn more at their website, here.

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