Julie Johnson delivered a box of donuts to Hilltop Lumber on Tuesday morning. Johnson delivers free donuts to Ottertail businesses each spring before she opens Ottertail Bakery. 

By Chad Koenen


With a box full of donuts in her arms, Julie Johnson made work a little “sweeter” at several Ottertail businesses last week.

    The longtime Ottertail Bakery owner delivered free donuts to just about every Ottertail business last week as she got ready to officially reopen her local bakery for the spring. Just as she has for the past several years, Johnson tested out her fryer’s for the first time in several months and went to work to create that perfect twist and glazed delicatessen. 

Julie Johnson presents a free box of donuts to Nikki Lohse of First National Bank in Ottertail last week. 

The idea to give away the free donuts started about eight years ago when Johnson started closing down the Ottertail Bakery for the winter months. In order to get rid of all of the donuts, without just throwing them away, she started giving away her test donuts to area businesses when she turned on the fryer’s for the first time each spring. 

“I just wanted to make sure my fryers were up to par. I just decided I probably should figure out a way to get rid of all of them,” she said. 

Of course few people would turn down the opportunity to get something for free, let alone one of the more tasty creations in Ottertail each year. So last week, just as she does each spring, Johnson spent time prior to the first Thursday of April knocking on doors and visiting with local businesses about the upcoming year. Armed with a box full of donuts, Johnson brought a bit of tasty cheer for all of the businesses in the greater Ottertail area, and gave them a reminder that spring has finally arrived.

“I try to bring them to all of the businesses that are open. I try not to leave anybody out. It’s just a nice way to get rid of the donuts and let them know we are open.”

Julie Johnson