cookies

Special to Phoenix.org

By Coty Dolores Miranda

Customers strolling Saturday’s Downtown Chandler farmers market, or Sunday morning’s farmers market in Ahwatukee, have found a sweet spot at the Madisyn “Maddie” Newell’s bakery booth.

The Chandler High School sophomore has been a cookie vendor at the Chandler market for two years and branched out to Ahwatukee’s farmers market six months ago, where she has been a welcomed addition.

Her first cookie baking experience was working next to her paternal grandfather, who remains an avid baker of cookies.

“Baking cookies has kinda been my whole life,” the vivacious Madisyn says, taking advantage of a lull at Sunday’s Ahwatukee Farmers Market. “I first baked when I was 4 or 5.”

She says her maternal grandmother, now deceased, was another baking mentor.

“We baked together. My grandparents on both sides were really into baking, and I loved helping them even when I was really young.”

Little did anyone suspect that the youngster, who turned 16 April 7, would parlay the knowledge gleaned from those hours in her grandparents’ kitchens into her own business — and one that has garnered fans at both weekend markets, where small samples of her various offerings are offered to those walking by.

The young entrepreneur handles a busy schedule with baking and studying for finals.

Sporting her No. 15 jersey, Madisyn is also a point guard with Chandler High’s junior varsity girls basketball team and plays this summer with its club team.

“I love playing basketball; I started playing when I was in seventh grade at Willis Junior High,” she says.

Unfortunately for cookie monsters of all ages, Madisyn is shuttering both stands after June 4 so she can attend summer school, play club basketball and avoid the heat.

“I definitely will return this fall,” she says. “I just have things I want to do this summer, and there’s just not enough time.

“I will be helping out at a local brick and mortar, too.”

An air conditioned one, she adds, smiling. 

She says baking cookies is a passion she inherited from her paternal grandfather.

“My grandfather on my father’s side, John Madisyn of Mesa, has always baked cookies and he gives them to his neighbors and members of his church,” she says. “Granddad is still baking; he does trial cookies with me.”

Trial cookies are often seasonal and holiday centric, like her popular fall pumpkin cookies. 

Her booth at both farmers markets is arrayed with a tempting display of cookies that include chocolate chip, crinkle cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, peanut butter, gluten-free keto selections, and several more. 

She has garnered many regular customers, many of whom she knows by name.

“I come every Sunday morning, and I never forget to buy myself one of her snickerdoodles,” Ahwatukee Farmers Market regular Andrea Barry says as she stands in the short line a May morning, eyeing the wares.

“I eat just a couple bites while I walk around, and it’s nice that she sells bottled water for only a dollar,” she says. “I always buy a snickerdoodle, and I know I should try some of the others. They look so good. It’s just I really love her snickerdoodles, but I only buy myself two for the week so I don’t overdo it,” she laughs.

Barry admits she’s been known to buy many more.

“Last February I bought a dozen mixed cookies from Maddie and took them for the teachers and staff at my son’s school. It was such a hit, and I think she got a few more customers!”

According to Madisyn, word of mouth has been a boon to business at both sites.

“Word of mouth and repeat business,” she says, smiling as she hands Barry her paper-wrapped snickerdoodle, “has really helped us grow. Of course the cookies are all delicious, and that keeps them coming back.”

Summer hours have kicked in at both farmers markets. The Downtown Chandler Farmers Market, located in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park West at 3 South Arizona Avenue, is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as is the Ahwatukee Farmers Market, located at 4700 E. Warner Avenue in the parking lot.

Summer hours for both run June 1 through September 30 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.