Pages in this Folder:

Related Folders:

See also Department Site Map


This website was developed in 2001 thanks to a grant from the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.

Notice: This web site is an information post and a forum for the community that uses the park, and to some degree for the surrounding neighbourhood. The editor of the web site reserves the right to post parts or all of any letters sent to the web site. If you do not want your letter posted, please let us know when you e-mail us, and we won't post it.


For the basics, see
- Website & Privacy Policies
- How To Get Involved
- The Role of the Park

Search options:

up to a month to index new postings
web search

Search Editor:
local & up to date but simpler
See Search Page

Department Site Map


posted April 3, 2004

Correspondence with Bellingham, Washington State, April, 2004

Just before Easter I got a letter-to-the-editor from Jeff Bode, a baker in Bellingham (near Seattle). He had read in our market news (posted on the farmers' market page) that we wanted to lower the prices of our park bread, and he wanted to know what we were charging. He also said he's interested in doing a public oven in Bellingham. I wrote back:

Hello Jeff, what a funny world in which you, from clear across the country, know that we're fiddling with bread prices over here.

In the end, instead of lowering the prices, the bakers increased the weight of the loaves. We charge $3.50 a loaf for most breads, $4 a loaf for fig/anise and pumpkin seed/sesame seed bread (anything that has pricey igredients). Of course that's in Canadian dollars and so it's not the same as it would cost in the U.S. Our new and really good baker thinks we're a bit strange to sell the bread for those prices since we can sell it higher, but that's not really the idea we had when we set this oven thing up. Peasant food (e.g.good, artisanbread) isn't meant to migrate completely into the stomachs of the affluent. The most fun we have with our bread is to sell it by the slice at the rink snack bar in the winter, 25 cents a slice with butter. That's less than a whole loaf would go for, but it's worth it, to see all the shinny hockey kids stuffing their faces with organic bread instead of chips or MacDonald's (we're across the street from a mall).

I don't know if you've seen our oven web page since we posted the photos of how the oven was built, but they might be interesting for you if you have to persuade some municipal staff and need documentation:

Then Jeff wrote back in more detail about his efforts to make good bread:

Thanks, Jutta. Yes, I saw those good photos. I heard about Dufferin Grove Park from Alan Scott, in July 2000 correspondence after I had a similar idea. So, of course, and thank God, you're fiddling with prices by now. Whereas, I'm still haggling with bureaucrats; but of course, Bellingham is 1/12th the size of Toronto, so the concentration of building officials per square cm is higher.

I share your philosophy, about what prices ought to be, but the market here most definitely does not. Although Bellingham is in one of the poorest counties of Washington, currently, in direct sales, my 0.4 k boules fetch US$5.00; I sell more 0.9 k boules for $10; and decorated 2.0 k go for $25-30. But these are not even brick-oven breads. I bake in two conventional gas Vulcans with tray-size baking slates. The only masonry ovens here are used by pizzarias, although the WoodStone factory that makes them is right here! I don't think these prices could last, and I intend to lower them once I've got my brick oven going, but sometimes, I despair that what true peasant bread prices would really take is a village of serfs.

Last summer some folks and I who founded the local Slow Food convivium had a booth at a farmers market, to promote Slow Food and the market. Two chefs showed up early, got farmers to donate ingredients, and went back to their kitchen to prepare ... yummy bruschetta-like bread toppings. Meanwhile I baked. Then we went to the booth, I grilled slices, a chef topped it, and we handed out slices free to all comers, along with recipes and the message that this is what you can do with food you can buy here. Of course, that was popular; but it was also incredibly rewarding, just as you must feel feeding those teenagers.

Anyway, your detailed story of how Dufferin Grove Park was reclaimed, is bound to be useful in dealing with the city. You folks have created a wonderful precedent.

hosted by | powered by pmwiki-2.2.83. Content last modified on May 20, 2006, at 07:46 PM EST