25 May, 2016 Newsletter

25 May 2016

“I abjure all velocity as I shatter
Each commitment, the words in vanished gold
inlaid in walls like Mexican teeth.
In the birdcage beneath my ribs
In the panic of the hummingbird
As it swallows my heart…
In the harmless crystal made
Mad on your lips, sewn by decay
And night, in the emblem
Of pedants with exploding luggage
and gauges for elegance,
In the subscription of hearts
In the strangled teeth of work
In the judgment of each word
In the end, pretend you hear me.”

Jim Carroll

Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. As you know, Bellegarde is the only bakery in between Asheville and Arizona that stone-mills its own flour. We strive to source organic grains that we mill fresh and bake into healthy and delicious whole grain breads. We are convinced that the health issues which plague our city—obesity, violence, mis-education, ecological and cultural erosion—are bound to the lack of fresh food. Food access is a systemic Policy issue: everyday that we bake whole grain bread with freshly milled flour, we tweak one more nerve in the System. Each nerve pinch is our desire to re-establish our region as a self-efficient food economy and re-create the cuisine of New Orleans with fresh ingredients…
a revolutionary Gordian knot.

We all speak the language of food and we all seek the pleasure of flavor. What more perfect medium to communicate change than with bread? Pandering to demand in a regional food system is not as important as nurturing supply: quality will dictate quantity.

Help us democratize that staff of life.

~ ~ ~ ~

Wall Street Journal: The WSJ ran an article about whole grains and breads this weekend: WSJ Article.

Bellegarde has been advocating and acting upon these ideas for the past seven years in New Orleans, without the help of sponsorship, support, or media from Manhattan. We know our customers can taste the difference, as can our farmers. The article unfortunately profiles ideas and figures who don’t need more spotlight, and who also aren’t advocating for the ecological imperative of whole grains but instead for their flavor and health benefits. In a nuanced, boutique, and inaccessible kind of way. God’s rule says that if it tastes good, it’s good for you, and if it’s good for you, it’s good for the earth. We just read it, we don’t write it. Wonderful to see our friends Nan Kohler in there as well as Jennifer Lapidus. It’s a sad sad reality that not enough women in the Movement get their day or their due; but, as the Brooklyn Bridge reminds us through its plaque to Emily Roebling,

“Behind every great man stands a greater woman.”
Or in front, really.

New Blog: At the end of May, BELLEGARDE is slightly raising prices on its whole grain country and ciabatta breads due an increase in the cost of our organic, identity preserved wheats and our work of milling flour. The cost of our baguettes will not be affected. I got an email from a local chef explaining that they were going to begin making bread in house because of our decision to charge eighty cents more for a 3 pound loaf of organic, whole grain bread made with Texas-grown olive oil. I wrote him a response, published here, and want to share it. Compared to What?  I wrote with the intention to share some experiences about our work as a whole, not just through a financial lens. I believe that the more people who understand what we do, why we do it, when, and how will have less and less trouble accepting the value of our work. It is, like racism (forgive the farfetched analogy), only those with minimal exposure who don’t comprehend; who are fearful; who don’t accept. The more you see, the more you visit and meet and experience, the less difference and the more bonds are built.

Workshops: Bellegarde has two more class dates set for the year. If we have time, I will add another workshop later in the year. Otherwise, please visit our website – workshops – for the coming schedule and make sure to email me as soon as possible to reserve your spot. Classes fill up quick. The dates will be Sunday September 4th  from noon to 6pm and November 6th at the same time.

Retail Bread: Please send me an email at bellegardebakery@gmail.com if you’d be interested in picking up bread from the bakery; we currently bake our COUNTRY BREAD Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays; we’ve also begun to bake a beautiful whole-grain RYE BREAD on Wednesdays. Pick-up is available from 7am until 1pm on any of those days. $9/each.

Acadian Miche: We are baking our beloved ACADIAN MICHE this week. It will be available only on Saturday at the farmers market or for pick up from the bakery. This bread is made entirely of organic, stone-milled flours that we mill ourselves: Oklahoma grown wheat, South Carolina heirloom rye, yellow corn meal, and brown jasmine rice grown in Kinder, LA. Email me here to reserve a loaf: $4.50/quarter, $9.00/half, $17/whole.

NOWFE: Bellegarde is hosting an event for the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience this Saturday. If you can’t make it, come by some other time! We will be pairing freshly milled, whole grain breads and flours with their compatriots in wine. The purpose: to show the community that grains (wheat, rye, corn, rice) have terroir just as grapes (and coffee and milk and cheese and music does). Baking isn’t as sexy as running a red brick restaurant with loud pop music, but our work is just as flavor driven, and great ingredients are the road. What the hell. NOWFE.

Soul Food

I see you, in love, like the flame
inherent in the match

I watch you in your facade,
patient like the lungs of a camera

and I embrace you, entirely, like soil
fallow; moist with the hubris
of seed, pregnant with desire
for harvest.