Rochester, Illinois is a long way from Oceanside New York – 959 miles to be exact. So, how did Fields of Sweets owner and pastry chef, Eleana Fielding, go from east coast living to central Illinois baking? With its Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on July 21, Eighteen21.com spoke with the 37-year-old wife, mother to a three-year-old daughter, and female business owner to find out.
Fields of Sweets, a name created based upon a variation of their last name Fielding, was launched by Eleana and her husband, 36-year-old Illinois Air National Guardsman Ross, as a New York inspired bakery. Eleana, pastry chef, brings delectable pastries and desserts to the central Illinois region with the prep, logistical, and major support of Ross, as the bakery is currently located out of their food truck in Rochester.
The Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island graduate, with a Bachelors of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts, said owning her own business has been a passion of hers for some time. “I have worked at different universities around the country in their baking, pastries, dessert and catering departments. When we moved to Illinois a few years ago I was a stay-at-home mom for a while, but I still had a strong desire to create and bake different things,” she said. As people learned of Eleana’s background they began asking if she would make cookies or cakes for their children’s birthdays or special events. “Eventually it seemed as though there was enough demand to open a small business at home, which we did in April of 2016. Primarily we sold our cakes, cookies, and pastries at craft fairs and farmers markets. Towards the end of the year there was demand for different items and, after talking about with my husband, we decided to purchase a food truck.” The truck first went on the road in March. “We are now regular participants at the Illinois State Fairground’ farmers market, Rochester Farmers Market, the Old State Capitol Farmers Market on Wednesday, and will be at different events and festivals throughout the summer and fall.”
Currently, Fields of Sweets specializes in cookies, cheesecakes, and pastries as well as pies and cakes. “Decorated sugar cookies and cheesecake are our top sellers right now.”
Having grown up nearby New York City Eleana loves that style of a bakery. “So, I attempt to bring that to people here to help them see what a wide variety of choices there are and how all of it is delicious.”
She said the biggest challenge as a business owner is finding out where to go to ask for guidance, developing a network of supporters and mentors that can help guide you through the process of starting a business, and ways to adapt and expand. “The biggest reward is having people come up and say how much they love my products and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Eleana’s long-term plan is to open a brick and mortar shop so Fields of Sweets can have a bakery as well as the food truck.
Fields Of Sweets, PO Box 361, Rochester IL 62563
Photo Credit: Annalisa Purser