Blair Marvin , co-owner of Elmore Mountain Bread, captivated those who came to Moco’s recent ‘A Local Taste’ on Wednesday. The room was filled with the heavenly aroma of just-baked bread —literally, it had just been baked that day— which sat in a crate on the table beside her. When she took out a loaf or two, and started cutting samples, there was a collective sigh from the group.
Blair and her husband/business partner, Andrew, started Elmore Mountain Bread 12 years ago. It was fascinating to hear the history of the business, which began with how they serendipitously came to buy a house with a big barn that had a working bread bakery in it and launched a business with only a few weeks of training by the former owner.
As their business has grown so has their commitment to the localvore philosophy. They faced skyrocketing flour prices and weathered the gluten-free storm through innovation and sticking to ‘keeping it local’: Not only do they now source their organic wheat from local farms- something that is beginning to happen more among bread makers, but they limit the distance they will travel to hand-deliver the bread, to 50 miles. They hand-shape and bake 600 loaves on each of the 3 days a week that they bake. The days are 16 hours long and they deliver as soon as the bread can be bagged.
How do they bake so many loaves at a time? It’s all about the 9’ x 11’ oven with automated loading that Andrew designed and built (the old oven fell apart from being so heavily used) and the flour mill also built by Andrew, which mills the fresh wheat berries, as needed, right there in the bakery. The couple believes in open source— sharing information— and there is a vibrant community of bread makers that believe in what they are doing and
want to help the local bread movement grow, by sharing their knowledge. The evening ended with Blair cutting into a loaf of an experimental bread that they had baked for the very first time that day.
It was a wheat bread made using the entire ground berry- nothing had been sifted out in the milling. Not only was it light and moist - not always two words not always two words used in the same sentence as ‘whole wheat,’ but it had a sweet and tangy taste and a crust that was delicious. We were happy to be guinea pigs for this, and everyone left with a few loaves from the crate. Thank you Blair, for your enthusiasm and generosity!
*All photos generously provided by Blair Marvin.
This is the second in the series 'A Local Taste,’ where guest speakers in the community share their passion (and samples) for what they do. We hope you’ll come to the next one on Wed. March 30th when Brave Coffee Roasters of Stowe will be giving us A Local Taste.