Adventures with Bread Friends
a ✈️🥖 story & announcing donations from April
Good morning bread friends.
Last week I had a wonderful adventure, and I’m really excited to share the story with you. But first… here is a link to pre-order bread for this week's Thursday pick-up. Thank you to those of you who choose to buy bread from me. 😊
So on Friday of last week, I had an incredibly fun day! My good friend Andy is a pilot and is part of a local flying club. This means that he and ~20 other locals with pilot licenses all share the cost/maintenance of two little single-engine planes. As someone deep into my own hobby (baking), I enjoy seeing how much joy this flying hobby brings my friend. And something that I’m learning is that for every commercial airport in this country, there are dozens of private/noncommercial airports that little planes can fly to for little adventures.
So on Friday morning of last week, Andy and I made a somewhat last-minute decision to go surprise a friend of ours who lives a ways away but was having a big day.
Our friend Trevor Brown was bringing his dream to life by opening a storefront bakery, and we wanted to be there for his grand opening. We both know Trevor and his family from when he lived in Madison (the 3 of us worked together ~8 years ago). Today, they live in Onalaska, WI, which is ~150 miles away from us in Madison and part of Wisconsin's beautiful "driftless area”.
Note that I didn’t say that Trevor was opening a bakery. He has been running and operating a wonderful cottage bakery for a few years now, which fully counts as a legitimate bakery in my book. But their family decided that the next step on his journey was opening a storefront bakery, which is an exciting decision and investment that I wanted to celebrate with them.
Trevor doesn’t fully know how much of an impact he has had in my life. While he and I (and Andy) were working together at a videogame company… I noticed Trevor would frequently bring in homemade sourdough with his lunch. My wife had been making bread for years, but something about his explanation of the naturally fermented bread became so fascinating to me. In 2017, he generously took the time to teach me to make sourdough bread and gave me some of his starter to keep practicing. Someday I’ll have to write more about all the personal reflections I’ve had over the years while watching his journey from a career in the tech industry to a career as a baker. For today, I’ll over-simplify my reflections by saying that Trevor has been one of the people I know who has been a shining example of the joy that can come with self-awareness.
Okay… so… Andy and I decided to fly to Onalaska to visit Trevor, his partner Sarah, and their two lovely boys to witness the grand opening of Opus Bakehouse.
We had a great time getting to taste some of their wonderful artisan loaves, pain au chocolate, and croissants – all made entirely with Meadowlark Organics flour. They also sent us home with a generous box full of cookies, scones, and cinnamon rolls - which were remarkably tasty and really highlighted his ability to let delicate flavors shine in his baked goods.
Spending time flying with a friend and celebrating with an old friend was a really wonderful way to spend a day.
If there is a take-away from this story, I think I have two lessons that I want to hold onto. The first is that breaking routine can be really helpful. I found that I was in a bit of a funk at home and at work, and this spontaneous interruption to my week was really transformative for my mental health. The second reminder from this experience is that it is a good idea to show up for the big moments in our friends’ lives. It felt so great to be able to celebrate this moment with Trevor & Sarah, and they clearly appreciated that we made the trip to be there with them. My wife and I often talk about the value of “doing life with people”. In this case, these friends are not local anymore and it is harder to casually “do life” with them… but showing love to a friend during a big moment in their life feels right.
Finally, I’m excited to share our donations for April. As you know, Bread & Justice is a micro-bakery on a mission. Each month, we select a social justice nonprofit to donate 100% of our profits to. For the month of April, we partnered with The Nehemiah Center For Urban Leadership’s Reentry Services. Through all of the bread and donations that you all gave, we will be able to donate $347 to support their work to provide a wide array of culturally competent and culturally relevant programs to meet the needs of men who are returning home after jail or prison. Unfortunately, here in Wisconsin black men are quite disproportionately jailed & imprisoned. Thankfully their wrap-around services (Housing, Mentoring, Employment Support, Court Advocacy, & Case Management) greatly increase the likelihood that the men that go through their program will successfully transition back to society and reclaim their role as contributing members of our community. It is an honor to support this work - and I’m deeply thankful to all of you who made it possible by choosing to buy bread from me last month.
your friendly baker :)