SOMA Spotlight: Mother-Daughter Baking Team Joan & Kia Palmer of Palmer’s in Maplewood

by Joy Yagid
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Joan and Kia, owners, of Palmer’s Sweetery, in Maplewood NJ.

Name?

Kia Palmer  and Joan Palmer

What town do you live in, and how long have you lived and worked here?

Kia and Joan: We were residents of Maplewood for 12 years. We’ve owned Palmer’s in Maplewood for 5 years!

SOMA or MapSO?

Kia & Joan: SOMA.

What do you do?

Kia: I’m a Pastry Chef / Bakery Owner.

Joan: I’m a retired NYC Principal / Bakery Owner

Why do you live/work/interact here?

Kia: I moved (or should I say…came here kicking and screaming from Brooklyn in the 90’s as a teenager…lol). I decided to open up a bakery here, because after years in restaurants, I wanted to share my love of food with the community I’d grown to love. I wanted to be able to meet new people and form relationships, not just send plates of food out to guests while I stayed in the kitchen.

Joan: I moved to Maplewood for more space, and because I wanted more of a suburban environment. A few years after retiring, my daughter asked me if I wanted to be her partner in the bakery. Although I had no professional baking experience, just decades of cooking at home, I love a challenge, so I signed on to be her right hand woman.

What is your favorite cookbook?

Kia: “The Modern Cafe” (by Francisco Migoya). It’s a book written by one of my former Chefs. He is an amazing mentor that I learned a ton from. 

Joan: “Breakfasts & Brunches” (by the CIA). There is a phenomenal white sangria recipe in there that I adore.

If you could say one nice thing to the residents of SOMA/MapSO, what would it be?

Kia & Joan: We’d start with a huge THANK YOU!! We would not want to be anywhere else. SOMA folks are amazing, we get to witness such kind acts, support and caring on a daily basis. One Sunday, two families stood in front of our bakery and split a box of our donuts with each other. They were strangers, but shared with each other, because it was the last box left! Where else would that happen??? It’s why we love our community.

If SOMA was a pastry, what kind of pastry would it be?

Kia: A French Macaron. A little difficult at times, but when everything falls into place, it’s perfect.

Joan: A donut: it’s fun, sweet, and ever-changing.

What’s your favorite show to binge watch?

Kia: Right now, it’s “Call The Midwife”. 

Joan: I love watching “As Time Goes By”.

What’s your favorite place to go on your day off?

Kia: I love to venture out of SOMA and try new restaurants. I recently visited Chofi Taco in Union City, NJ. Omg!!! Their birria tacos were amazing!!

Joan: I love to be in the sun whenever I can, so you can usually find me sitting on a park bench with our family dog, Bella.

What’s your favorite way to relax, when you can? 

Kia: Pre-pandemic, it was definitely the spa for me. Being a small business owner, and working on your feet for 12+ hours a day really wears on you. Pampering yourself is a must!

Joan: I’m usually on the go, but last year really taught me the importance of slowing down. I really enjoy being at home and spending time with my loved ones.

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