After rolling in the dough and making new friends at the Kneading Conference, the Maine Grain Alliance put out a challenge to bake bread for all the volunteers of the 2013 Common Ground Country Fair. In previous fairs they would get day old bread donated. The opportunity to have freshly fermented and wood-fired artisan bread on-site would be something special. So another chance to bake a large batch of bread with a merry band of bakers? Heck yeah, count me in! That was all I needed to volunteer and be a part of the experience.
So after a few gorgeous days of little sleep and lots of mixing dough, we hit and actually surpassed our commitment of 1000+ loaves of wood-fired goodness for the fair’s volunteers. After two days of what seemed like torture for every fair goer whom came to us wishing to buy our bread – Saturday was the day they finally got to try it. On this occassion we mostly lived-fired fougasse and pita breads for visitors to the Maine Grain Alliance booth to sample. This was lots of fun. There were many happy people stopping by drawn in by the aroma of wood and wheat.
Common Ground Country Fair is somewhat unique in the Northeast in that it can get upwards of 60,000 visitors over the 3 days of the fair. 60K is a huge number of people getting out to support organic agriculture and it was a beautiful sight to behold (despite a few parking complaints). To help the fair run smoothly, it takes roughly 2000 volunteers. I hope that when our farm and oven get going, we can help put together such a fair in the Adirondacks and North Country. Then we could assemble another “band of bakers” giving away the staff of life for the betterment of the community.
“It’s important to have really good bread baked by a local outfit. Bread is the staff of life. It is the core of our existence.”
– Dusty Dowse, Maine Grain Alliance