Barn Owl Bakery is Sage Dilts and Nathan Hodges. We are a small family owned and operated bakery on Lopez Island in Washington State. We're committed to the highest quality organic ingredients and all of our baked goods are naturally leavened. We're setting up a new bakery space on Midnight's Farm and need your help building our wood fired brick oven.
Thanks to a collaboration with David Bill, owner of Midnight's Farm, we have an incredible start on our new bakery. A solid foundation, frame, roof, and solar panels all went up in a mad dash this summer. Now we will outfit the building with everything we need to make our dream of a small, simple bakery a reality. The first step is building our wood fired oven.
How we got started:
We moved to Lopez a year ago from Berkeley, CA where Sage apprenticed with baker, Eduardo Morrell, at the Marin Headland Center for the Arts. Working with Eduardo she learned to make naturally leavened bread and baked goods with simple ingredients using traditional techniques and saw it all baked in an Alan Scott wood fired oven. When we arrived on Lopez, Sage began baking batches of test bread in our barn apartment in a tiny home oven. She gave away the sometimes misshapen loaves to our new friends and neighbors. Within a few weeks she was baking more bread than we could give away, so she painted a sign and got a spot at the Farmer's Market. Ken saw us there, loved the bread, invited us to use his wood fired brick oven, and we were soon up and running, baking several times each week out of Ken's beautiful oven. Thank you, Ken!!
Over the last year we've really launched ourselves wholeheartedly into our baking business and made hundreds of loaves of bread for Lopez. From our weekly bread subscribers (thank you!), to being tucked in the CSA bags along with the gorgeous produce of Blake and Julie at Supernatural Farms, and baking loaves for community dinners, events, and potlucks, our bread became a staple for Lopez.
About our bread:
We buy most of our flour from Fairhaven Mills in Burlington. Their whole wheat bread flour comes from Eastern Washington and the soft wheat we use for scones is grown within 100 miles of Lopez. Sage mixes, scales, and shapes the dough all by hand using the age-old techniques for artisan bread. Nathan manages the oven to be ready and hot when the bread has risen. The wood we use in the oven is from the beneficial thinning of thick island forests.
We're committed to making our bread using local ingredients and are working with grain growers and researchers on Lopez to grow grains for our bakery at Midnight's Farm. Our scones and pizzas are made with seasonal, locally grown produce and meats.
We sell our bread at cafes and restaurants on the island including the Bay Cafe, Vita's, and Vortex. We have an outpost on the south end selling at the Islandale Market and have won over the island's gluten sensitive folks with our naturally leavened, vegan, gluten free hearth loaf. It's been amazing how open and generous Lopez has been. We could not have gotten this far without the encouragement of the awesome people who call this island home. Now we need the help of our wider community to help us grow and create our own baking space and wood fired oven.
What the Kickstarter funding will do:
A permanent home for Barn Owl Bakery means more reliable, consistent baked goods for our community, but it also means we're taking a big leap and investing in the long term infrastructure of our baking business. We will finish the building itself with handmade windows and wood siding milled from trees on Midnight's Farm.Then we'll make the space complete with sinks, the shaping bench, shelving, racks, a proof box, a mixer, and, the real heart of our little bakery, the wood fired oven.
We've got a solid plan for our oven based on the Alan Scott style of black oven. This style of wood fired brick oven is both the most ideal and accessible oven for our bread. Brick heated with wood makes traditional bread as it has always been made, using renewable source of fuel. We've painstakingly built our oven brick by brick in our modeling software so we know exactly how it all fits together. We have our complete materials list and we're ready to place the order. We even have our wood chopped!
With your help we can get our little bakery up and running and continue baking delicious, nourishing, bread for our community and the islands.
Risks and challenges
Although this oven design has been built very successfully by non-professionals, we have to take extra care to make sure our oven is solid and functional for years to come. To do this right we have built the oven piece by piece in our modeling software. During the actual building process we have access to a professional stone mason as well as a few folks who have built similar ovens for feedback and hands-on labor.
To be able to get the oven up and running as soon as we're funded we are excited to have small community work parties with local friends and builders who have expressed an interest in helping to lay brick, pour concrete and vermiculite, and apply stuccoLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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