Bohemian baking brought to the Lake

Czechoslovakian native brings authentic Bohemian baking to Osage Beach

Mitch Prentice
Special to the Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
Marketa Marikova-Thompson shares her grandma’s recipes and Bohemian heritage with Lake of the Ozarks.

The thought of travelling half-way around the world to live in the middle of Missouri might seem a long shot for many European residents. For Marketa Marikova-Thompson, that long shot became reality.

Fast forward to 2021, Marketa decided to open a farmers market booth alongside her partner William selling authentic Bohemian pastries and baked goods. The route she took to get to this point is anything but ordinary, but the shoppers who have tasted her treats are glad it happened the way it did.

Marketa grew up in Czechoslovakia, which is now the Czech Republic. She says she began baking at a young age with her grandmother and cousins. She says her grandma would work the fields around their town then come back to their home to cook and bake.

“We would bake every Saturday. It wasn’t really a weekend until we had cake,” Marketa said.

Working in the kitchen with her family led her to want to become a baker full-time, but she says her mother convinced her to become a cook instead.

“My mom said that if I were to become a baker, I would only bake. But if I decided to cook, I could bake as well. So I became a cook and never ended up baking again until I started again during this farmers market,” Marketa said.

Marketa says that, after years of cooking, she went on to become a geriatric nurse. This would be the profession she stuck with until she made her first trip to the United States. She made the journey and met up with friends in New York. She says that the ease of travel in the US kept her coming back on a yearly basis. She says she ended up traveling to over 25 states.

On many of her trips, she says she travelled the country alone. During a trip in Virginia, she met William who she would eventually move to Missouri with at the end of 2019. She says that one morning she decided to try baking some old recipes again and was successful. She says that William talked with her about starting to bake again and the idea came together to sell at the Osage Beach Farmers Market.

Now, halfway through the market’s 2021 season, the baked goods Marketa is producing have been a hit. The vendor stand she and William manage is constantly flooded with new and returning customers, no matter the weather. She says she will prep the baked goods four days out of the week and will start baking them around 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning before the market that starts at 9 a.m.

“It makes me so happy. People come up and say ‘Oh, it smells so good’ and ‘Oh, these are so delicious’,” Marketa said.

Through all the long hours and early mornings, she says the customers make all the work worth it.

Marketa partially credits the authenticity of the recipes and heritage behind the baking for the success she’s had. She noticed that, in the United States, residents tend to appreciate authentic cooking and baking. She’s considered opening a local bakery, but admitted that she would need help to launch it full-time. On top of that, the high-quality ingredients she uses to bake would be a costly endeavor. Even so, it’s certainly a possibility.

At the end of the day, the joy of sharing her grandma’s recipes and the Bohemian heritage with Lake of the Ozarks market shoppers is worth all the effort.

Marketa and William’s baked goods stand can be found at the Osage Beach Farmers Market most Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

A selection of baked goods that can be found at the Osage Beach Farmers Market on Saturdays.