Fifteen years ago my wife and I opened La Farm Bakery in North Carolina as a way to honor to the boulangeries of my native France, while also integrating these glorious breads into the American South. We feel a strong connection to our community – to our loyal customers, our wheat farmer and our local miller. Our 5-lb “La Farm” sourdough boule was inspired by the loaves baked in community ovens around the French countryside; it benefits from a 3-day fermentation process to fully develop the flavor and texture, just as all of our sourdoughs do. Some of our most popular breads – Asiago-Parmesan, White Chocolate Mini Baguette, Cinnamon-Raisin-Pecan, Multi-Grain and Frenchman’s Cornbread – are examples of how America has influenced us. Bread baking is a way of life for us; we celebrate everyday by breaking bread with our customers, sharing our passion for bread through regular classes, and in my first bread book, “A Passion for Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker.” We’re proud to have been a pioneering bread bakery in America. I’m fortunate to have come from the French baking guild, Les Compagnons du Devoir, which I joined when I was 16. I spent 7 years apprenticing with European Master Bakers, and the next 10 years, consulting for professional bakers around the world; those experiences taught me how to open a bakery, how to scale the production without losing sight of quality, and the importance of teaching and training bakers so that we can cultivate an industry of bread baking in America. I’m proud of our team who literally handcrafts 1000 loaves a day with our customers in mind, and still maintains superior quality. And we’re proud that we were able to shift our entire whole wheat production to local flour from Carolina Ground, without passing the cost onto the customer. By supporting these farms, and our miller, we’re helping to sustain these new businesses, NC farmland, and improve our own breads. We’re also dedicated to teaching bread baking. We offer classes for all ages and skill levels at our bakery and even in our home kitchen weekly, and I teach around the country regularly. – Lionel Vatinet

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