Community from Scratch: Wide Awake Bakery

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

wideawake koskiTry this sometime: Come into the West-End store on a Tuesday or Friday afternoon, when Wide Awake Bakery has just made a delivery. There will be four freshly baked varieties to choose from. Buy a loaf of their bread. It will cost you six and-a-half bucks for the loaf. It will be worth it. Unless you are very lucky, the bread will be the best you've ever eaten. That might be all you care about, but there's a lot more to your loaf than meets the eye. It was made with grain grown a few miles away in one direction, and milled a few miles away in another. It was baked with heat from wood grown next door to the bakery. And to say it was crafted with love might be an understatement.

Like many of the world's great ideas, Wide Awake Bakery was conceived over a great meal shared among friends. Three people — Stefan Senders, who began baking bread at home as a release from the stress of his academic career, his wife, Liz Brown, and their friend Thor Oeschner, a local organic grain grower — were enjoying a meal together, with one of Stefan's loaves at its center. He had baked it with flour from Farmer Ground, at that time a new project of Thor, miller Greg Mol, and Erick Smith of Cayuga Pure Organics. "This is the best bread I've ever eaten," Thor told Stefan. "You should start a bakery and bake with our flour."

Stefan's response? "I thought, 'That's a really stupid idea.' But I was kind of intrigued." He stayed awake all night thinking about how to make it work. He talked to his wife the next day, and told her, "This could actually work!" Putting his anthropology background to work, he started calling bakers — all over the world. "They were incredibly generous. And what's really amazing is I never heard a negative story. They were all incredibly positive," he said. "There was tremendous satisfaction and belief that they were doing the right thing."

Read more: Community from Scratch: Wide Awake Bakery

The Trials and Tribulations of Mr. Natural

By Joe Romano,

Marketing Manager

mr-naturalFlakey Foont: 
Mr. Natural! What does it all mean?
Mr. Natural: 
Don't mean sheeit...

Back in the sixties, when underground comics were in their heyday, a mystical guru named Mr. Natural was created by the counterculture comix artist R. Crumb. "Stick with me folks, I've got all the answers" ... "Heaven? Well, it's a little corny, if you ask me" ... "If you don't know by now, don't mess wit' it" — these were just a few of the stabs at insight made by the little bearded huckster. Chock-full of empty aphorisms, Mr. Natural was more hype than substance, more con man than wise man, exhorting his disciples to eat only his line of "Mr. Natural Brand Foods."

It seems he was onto something. When applied to food, the term natural is the perfect scam. It is wholly unregulated and devoid of meaning. The average consumer is not aware of the term's insignificance, equating it with organic, at least on some level.

And now, because the term natural is as dubious a guide to nutritional enlightenment as Mr. Natural himself, some courts have seen fit to protect the consumer.

According to CBS News, Kellogg's will stop using the labels "All Natural" or "Nothing Artificial" on Kashi products. The company will pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit in which it was charged with misleading people with those phrases on products that contained a variety of synthetic and artificial ingredients.

Read more: The Trials and Tribulations of Mr. Natural


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New in Grocery


bigstock-a-variety-of-winter-squash-smAdam Morris,
Grocery Manager

As always, we've got you covered for Thanksgiving, from the main course to the sides and everything else.

All right, members, you know the drill. ... It's Thanksgiving time once again! This year, just like every year, we have everything you're looking for to complete your holiday table right here in the Grocery Department. Organize your meal around either a local turkey or a number of main-course vegan options. From there, we've got stuffing boxes or ingredients, tasty, high-quality organic pumpkin and organic cranberry sauce in cans, organic baking ingredients, and every other fixin' you might need! For the record, it's never too early to start thinking about the next round of holidays coming up soon. We'll be rolling out some tasty desserts and treats to keep the holiday celebration going and going and going and going. ... And if you haven't yet, look for our new and improved Co-op Basics list, found at the front of the store. The Grocery Department is full of bargains perfect for pantry-stocking.


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