Home is where the heart[h] is.
Hearth refers specifically to the floor of a fireplace, which may extend out into a room. Hearths are associated with home and family because the hearth was historically the primary source of heat in the home, as well as where cooking happens. Also, Home is where the heart is. – Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher better known as Pliny the Elder
As a bread baker, home is very much about where the hearth is. Because physical surroundings play such an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organization in our lives, it is not surprising that our sense of place is closely tied to our sense of who we are. Finding a permanent home for Bakewell Farm is presenting some challenges, in response, we think that a bread oven on wheels might be the best way to “mobilize” our efforts. Mobility provides a novel approach for literally moving our mission forward of baking bread and building community. Bakewell Farm’s sense of place and identity is about the oven’s hearth and its natural affinity for generating a gathering place. Home, for Bakewell Farm, will always be about where the hearth is.
Bakewell Farm has begun researching the design for a mobile wood fired bread oven. There are many ingenious designs available on the market. However, I am very excited to be working again with local stonemason, Randy Bollinger, for the oven’s design and construction. If you want to see an example of Randy’s beautiful work, visit Fidler & Co. (formally Pomona’s Wood Fired Café) in Biglerville, PA. Building a mobile version of a bread oven provides Bakewell Farm with the freedom and flexibility to explore different venues until such a time and place presents a more permanent home.
The primary force in this type of oven is thermal mass and lots of it! With sufficient mass, you ca ton store enough energy to bake several loads of bread from a single, extended firing. If Maintaining a live fire in the bake chamber, pizza can be made using this same oven. Yes, we’re talking delicious wood fired pizza folks! We are very hopeful that through memberships and donations we will bring this project to fruition. By design and intention, this oven will be a community oven–no matter where it is. The oven is the cornerstone that animates the broader vision to: lead the community in the care and feeding of each other by baking bread. Indeed, it is no small task, but persistently it is a humbling one that deserves our daily attention and participation. We ask that you join us in our mission of baking bread and building community!
Marc Jalbert is the former owner of the Gettysburg Baking Company. While continuing to bake for the Baking Company, he’s the founding director of Bakewell Farm, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to introduce “bread-centric” education as a means for building community while engaging in public service. Please visit us at www.bakewellfarm.org