A Woman of Heart, with a Mission: My Mother, Lynn Gordon
by Jennifer Gordon Rasmussen | July 25, 2020
I’m proud to say that Lynn Gordon, founder and co-owner of French Meadow Bakery & Café, is my mom. Yes, she’s a real person: a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a friend, an aunt, and a longstanding leader and member of the natural food industry and the Minneapolis uptown community. My mom has worked night and day for over 35 years to provide healthy and organic food and service to the community. She is passionate about her work and the product and service she provides. She is 100% committed to her business and what it stands for. Her approach and demeanor is not always spot-on or conventional, but it all comes from a deeply rooted passion to provide the community with the best possible product and service. It may sound corny, but my respect for her is such that for me, every day is Mother’s Day.
My mom started French Meadow because she was passionate about healthy living, helping people, and making a positive impact on the world. Her own mother died when she was 15 years old of ovarian cancer, which triggered something inside of her to focus on helping others live longer lives through diet and nutrition. When I was very young, she studied Macrobiotics (a healing diet) and became a certified Macrobiotic cooking teacher. She would go to the homes of cancer patients and cook for them, and eventually held Macrobiotic cooking lessons in her own little kitchen. She was a single mom of 3 children trying to educate people and help people live healthier lifestyles and heal from various illnesses. She found that many of her students had allergies to yeast and dairy and could not eat bread, which led to the start of French Meadow Bakery. After intensive study in traditional French artisan baking, she created an organic, yeast free, dairy free, sugar free, oil free bread and became the first certified organic bread bakery in the country. My siblings and I would help my mom bake and package bread in our kitchen and deliver our organic bread to local co-ops in the Twin Cities. My grandpa Bob, who recently passed away and whose photo is displayed as a tribute in the café, also delivered French Meadow bread in his broken-down van that he purchased for $50. French Meadow became my mom’s 4th child. She was, and still is, as dedicated to the concept and business as she is to her own children. Her intention, motivation, and message has never changed or varied. Nor has her hard work: During the first two years of business as French Meadow, my mom even continued to teach the cooking classes in our home two nights a week. Her never-ending commitment was to provide organic, natural, sustainable food to the community and to people all over the country.
Like many driven entrepreneurs, my mom is a creator, innovator, and perfectionist. She expects a lot from herself, from her children, and from all of her employees. As a single female, my mom’s road to success was not easy. She has come across many people who tried to get in her way or who said she was crazy because she meditated, practiced yoga, and ate organic food (all things that are now “trendy” and embraced by many). She is truly a pioneer in the natural food industry and has given so many people who were terminally ill or suffering from severe food sensitivities the opportunity to live healthier lives. Running a restaurant has not been easy, especially in the beginning when her concept was not embraced by most people. She had to fight many battles and work very hard to stay afloat, but was passionate about her mission, determined to provide the community with a place to gather and eat healthy food in a comfortable and welcoming environment.
I share this because I want everyone to know that there is a good person with a good heart behind this business. No social media hate campaign will stop my mom or those who have worked very hard to launch and maintain the business that has supported their own families and the community for so many years. The validation and support we’ve heard from loyal French Meadow customers is overwhelming, and we are very grateful for that now as always. Shame on the people who falsely accuse and share hateful comments on social media in an effort to tarnish and destroy a business and the human beings behind it. Whatever grievance they may or may not have, everyone should know that my mom, while strong and demanding of herself and others, will always listen and try to find the right solutions. Please be kind, and know that there are real people behind French Meadow Bakery & Café / Bluestem Bar who continue to work every day to bring the healthiest, highest quality food to our beloved community.