Saturday, November 14, 2009

Asheville’s Farm & Sparrow – Baking with Integrity

What could be more ephemeral than bread? Like the mayfly, it has a very short shelf life.

Today, however, I'm not focusing on the ephemeral nature of dough, but the opposite—the timeless quality of a craft baker who doesn't view baking as a trade, but, as it had been for most of human history, as a public duty. I'm talking about Asheville's David Bauer, the baker/owner of Farm & Sparrow.

"Bakers were expected to extract a certain number of loaves…They could not make up recipes according to whim, but had to tailor them…to the needs of the community," writes Bee Wilson in Swindled. Farm & Sparrow is a throwback to the days when bakers and customers interfaced without a middleman--just as Wilson describes in her book. The wood-fired craft bakery that David runs produces rustic breads, pastries, and other specialty products.

Dave does more than bake our daily bread: He respects the integrity of the foods available to this region through a seasonal menu rotation, hands-on methods of production, and a strong commitment to Asheville's local food and cultural economies. It's old school baking at its best.

I'm a huge fan of David's bread, and the more folk who become aware of what he's doing to bring back the traditional role of baker in our society the better off we'll all be. Thanks, David, for our daily bread. My family and I enjoy it immensely, and I applaud your commitment to providing it.

Photograph from A Year in Asheville.

[x-posted from ephemera ]

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