Once a week I get on my bike and I ride to one of the local stores that stocks Community Loaves sourdough. I go out of my way to get this bread, because it is THAT good. Last Sunday, I wound up in the back garden of the Community Loaves bakery for their pizza night. It was there that I met the bakeries owners and creators, Sarah + Meredith. These two girls have passion for bread. Not to mention that they are two of the sweetest business owners that I have ever met. They are committed to consciously sourced and sustainability-focused baking and creating sourdough bread and hearth-baked goods that are made with labor-intensive traditional techniques. It was in the back garden that I saw just how much their creative culinary talents are making beautiful waves among the local community of Jacksonville. Now that they have opened their store front bread shop, who's to tell just how big their waves are going to become. Tsunami's I think. Their store is located on 1120 Edgewood Ave S, Jacksonville, Florida. Thankfully for me, this is still just a short bike ride away.
What projects are you currently working on?
We just opened up our bread shop, so it feels like we just completed a big project. Now we are just getting to live with our creation (!) and appreciating what we have done. We do miss the power tools though.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Bakeries in Europe, whole grain recipe books, locally available goods, traditional ways of making grain more nutritious and digestible (thank you Nourishing Traditions).
Tell us a little about your baking style:
Rustic. The crusty, dark look we get from our hearth oven. Treats that aren't too sweet, savories that aren't too heavy. Processes that take a long time with just a few simple ingredients, rather than using quick, processed foods.
Was there a specific moment for you where you realized that you wanted to be baking and creating bread?
Meredith: It was Apprenticing in a bakery and falling in love with the rhythms of baking, while simultaneously getting excited to move back to Jax and making lists of ways to make my life here my dream life. Owning my own business and using my new skill of baking made perfect sense.
What is a typical day like for you?
Coffee and a hot kitchen. We take turns mixing and shaping the dough and baking the bread. And now with the new storefront one of us is serving customers while the other is working in the kitchen. The constants are working with dough, thinking about what we would like to make next, and a lot of cleaning dishes and scrubbing floors. Dog walks and meals are squeezed in.
If you could travel to any part of the world right now, where would you go?
Meredith : It is hot in this kitchen right now, so I am going to say on a lake in a northern climate. Or talbot island.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
Black eyed peas and greens and a grain from Anson Mills.
What is the most difficult part about working in the baking industry?
Meredith : The physical labor. We both whine about back aches and I'm wearing wrist braces, but at the same time I like showing off my arm muscles. Ha
The best part? People loving what we make. Being capable of running a business and creating a product that we are proud of.
What do you love most about Jacksonville?
The historic neighborhoods, the river and the ocean, being so close to family, the growing food scene and getting to be a part of it.
What are your sweetest daily moments?
When things go smoothly and according to plan. Dancing in the kitchen when we are busting ass and having a good time.
Looking back 10 years from now, what would you like to see?
We have sold the business, made millions, and bought an estate in France. OR we have found a way to continuously alter this business to fit our changing lives and this city embraces artists and small markets and old communities and starts addressing its segregation and we never have to drive through the suburbs again. But I'll probably still be scrubbing the floors.