The CSA (community supported agriculture) model is a great way to support your local farmer by paying upfront for a season’s worth of produce.
Two CoHoots have added a special twist to the CSA concept with a CSB (Community Supported Bakery). Read about this exciting adventure via an article in the local newspaper (see below).
CoHoots have been the lucky recipients of April and Craig’s learning curve and continue to be loyal customers of the new CSB (which also sold fresh-baked goods at the Rainshine Farms Tuesday farm stand just outside CoHo’s garden).
Wild Yeast Bakery is currently taking bread subscription orders for the month of February from customers in Albany, Corvallis and Brownsville.
Orders are due by Feb. 1 and are $30 for the month; one loaf per week. New subscriptions will be solicited seasonally.
Orders can be sent in via email at email@example.com, or Facebook, facebook.com/pages/Wild-Yeast-
Bread will be ready for pickup between 4 and 6 p.m. Fridays. In Brownsville, the pickup point is Bramble House Restaurant, 209 Templeton St. In Albany, it’s the First United Methodist Church, 1115 28th Ave. S.W. In Corvallis, it’s the bakery itself, 1975 S.E. Crystal Lake Drive #192, or delivery can be arranged to south Corvallis homes.
CORVALLIS — Bread of life, miracle of the loaves and fishes; pick your Biblical bread metaphor and Craig and April Hall Cutting have probably heard it.
When two full-time pastors go into the bakery business, those kinds of comments just come with the territory.
“I’m not preaching or doing liturgy about bread,” April explained. “I’m just making it now.”
April, 59, is on leave from her job as pastor of the United Methodist churches in Sweet Home, Halsey and Harrisburg. Craig, 61, formerly the pastor at Albany United Methodist Church, is still chaplain for both the MacLaren and Hillcrest juvenile correction facilities.
Both of them, however, see baking and selling handcrafted sourdough bread made with local, organic ingredients as their next full-time career.
The Corvallis couple have established a business, Wild Yeast Community Supported Bakery, and are currently taking subscription orders for February for customers in Albany, Corvallis and Brownsville.
For $30, one loaf per week through February will be delivered to pickup locations each Friday in each of the three cities — or delivered to your door by bicycle, if you’re lucky enough to live in south Corvallis.
The two began in July with just a handful of subscribers in their 34-unit cohousing community, CoHo Ecovillage. They also sold loaves at a farm stand just down the street from their unit.
Interest quickly spread to Brownsville, where April is a member of the Brownsville Art Association. At first, the couple weren’t going to expand to Albany as well, but then a friend from Craig’s church showed up in mid-January, handed over some cash and said she was buying bread and that was that.
Depending on how subscriptions go this year, the Hall Cuttings eventually may look for a storefront and a commercial kitchen. For now, however, it’s just the two of them in their Corvallis kitchen, doing everything by hand.
“This is the high-end big mixing machine that we have,” April joked, waving her flour-covered fingers over a huge bowl of dough.
Both Craig and April learned to cook and bake as children, and both baked frequently for the collective households they lived in as younger adults.
Some four or five years ago, Craig in particular developed a passion for sourdough artisan bread. He researched methods and starter cultures, practiced and perfected the methods.
“I’d been enjoying eating it, and wanted to figure out how to make it,” he said.
On Jan. 1, 2012, the couple took a few vacation days to visit friends in the Portland area and think about their jobs and futures. April knew she wanted a change from her 10 years as a pastor but wasn’t sure of a new direction.
That’s about the time their Portland friend, a baker, held up a copy of a book he’d just received: “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast.” The Hall Cuttings looked through it and bought their own copy. At a bakery in Astoria shortly afterward, they began to talk bread in earnest.
“‘Did you ever want to do this?’” Craig remembered April saying. “‘Maybe we should do this.’”
And, April said of Craig, “There he was, reading bread books again. That’s not his first book about bread.”
Craig uses any of three different starter cultures in the breads the two make, which, he said, “is why we call it Wild Yeast.”
Offerings include multigrain, toasted walnut, olive and a 65 percent rye sourdough. All the grains are organic and as local as possible, which April said is what makes the business stand out.
The organic white flour comes from Utah as the couple doesn’t have a local source for it. But the whole wheat and rye are both from Greenwillow Grains, grown in Tangent and milled in Brownsville, and the multigrain is from Camas Country Mill in Eugene.
With Craig still working full time, April is the main labor force in the business. She usually bakes one or two days per week, with each baking day producing 24 loaves, “about all I can manage by hand.”
She’s found she needs to make at least two customers a priority, however: Craig and herself.
“Like the cobbler’s children who go barefoot, we often finish a bake day and we have no bread,” she said, laughing. “We’ve had to put ourselves on the list. ‘This is mine!’”
February 2014 Update:
An intense snow/ice storm didn’t block the bread deliveries! Bread was delivered to south town subscribers by a CoHoot on skis.