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Artisanal Bakers in NC


Varmint
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After member artisanbaker reminded me of our great local bakery, La Farm Bakery, in another thread, I stopped by yesterday for a quick visit. I had been buying La Farm bread for some time at the NC Farmers' Market, but this was the first time I drove the 15 minutes to visit their Cary bakery. I was extremely impressed by the passion these people had with their operations, and I encourage you to visit. This is one of two great bakeries in the Triangle area, with Guglhupf being the other. I plan on spending a night baking at La Farm and will report back here when I'm done.

In the meantime, what other artisanal bakeries are there in North Carolina or in other parts of the South? We truly need to get the word out about these places, as they deserve our business.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Who made that great loaf we bought at the Farmer's market? It was great.

That was La Farm. The loaf we're talking about was a wheel that was approximately 2 feet in diameter. I'm anxious to try to make one of those suckers, but I'm sure I'll fail miserably.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I would not call them an artisan bakery, but Roma's Italian bakery on Harrison Ave in Cary makes some excellent Italian bread. The owners are from upstate NY and they distribute their bread to various local restaurants. It is a nice little family place, go for lunch and try the "Speidie" sandwich, a Binghamton, NY staple.

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It is a nice little family place, go for lunch and try the "Speidie" sandwich, a Binghamton, NY staple.

I was in Owego, NY a year or so a go for work and kept seeing "chicken speidie" on the menus. As I recall, it was sort of a chopped chicken sandwich with some sort of secret sauce. Pretty darn good.

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Speidie's come either beef, chicken, pork, or lamb. The meat is cut into bite sze chunks and marinated for 24-72hrs in a vinegar type marinade. It does not sound like much, but trust me it is excellent. The original company is called Lupo's, I know they have a website that ships speidies. Make sure you eat them on a good slice of italian bread!

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Charlotte has Nova, plus a handful of small bakers who are selling at the farmers markets, such as Angelika's. Several people have told me they like Great Grains as well. While in Asheville on a recent food story, I stopped by Blue Moon and West End.

But that brings me to another question: How do you define "artisan bakery"? I've run into trouble using the term in articles. My editors and many of my readers don't understand it, and the standards for what artisan means are squishy. Does it mean hand-made loaves, or only brick-oven baking, or use of a certain type of starter or a certain level of ingredients? If a starter is supplied elsewhere, can the bread made from it be considered artisan? Does artisan just refer to the earnestness of the baker?

We have at least two good and traditional-style Mexican bakeries in Charlotte. The cakes, cookies and breads are made on site, and they are made and sold in a manner that I am told is authentic to how you'd get it in Mexico City. Does that make their goods an artisan product?

I'd be curious to hear others' thinking on this one.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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