Born and raised in the Tri-Cities area of Detroit, Michigan, Marylee 'Boo' McIntyre grew up gathering bushels of berries, apples, apricots and what ever other fruits were in season with her siblings to be used in the creations her grandmother and mother would bake from the day after Thanksgiving through the December holidays. Over the years, baking became a way to relieve stress and get grounded.
Marylee's first encounter with the desert was visiting neighbors from Royal Oak, MI, who had a place in Lake Havasu, Arizona. Marylee and her then husband loved it so much, six months later they were living there. A lake in the middle of the desert was fascinating to Marylee. At that time, the largest employer in town was McCulloch Chain Saws and neither Marylee or her husband were able to find solid employment. Then his employer invited him back to Michigan and so they left the desert.
During this tumultuous time in the finance industry, Marylee worked in a number of roles in finance. At the last job, after being asked to train her replacements, Marylee left and found her way to the desert. A man she'd met online lived in Joshua Tree and Marylee thought, 'What the heck? Might as well give that a try." Unsuccessful in her attempts to find work in finance here, Marylee turned to baking and was making treats sold by a local Joshua Tree cafe.
After about five years, Marylee began to visualize having her own bakery - and so, it is. Boo's Organic Oven opened it's doors in July 2019, offering sweet (pies, cookies, pastries and cakes) and savory (pot pies and hand pies).
We talk about business challenges during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic (Winter/Spring 2020) and of unfortunate incidents of racism that Marylee has had confront to protect her employees.
A self-described city girl, Marylee likes to hike in the desert, but prefers not to go alone, "The trails in the desert are not as well-marked as those in greener areas... I sometimes find myself getting turned around." The night sky, the silence and watching sunrise and sunset are Marylee's favorite things about desert living.
A grandmother of 13, Marylee says one of her granddaughters back in Michigan has the family baking bug, though she hasn't yet made the trip to grandma's desert bakery.
And, if you want to know how she got nicknamed 'Boo', you'll have to listen to the episode.
Check out Boo's Organic Oven here.