ADDRESS: 1975 SE Crystal Lake Dr #192
FACEBOOK: Wild Yeast Community Supported Bakery
OWNERS: April and Craig Hall Cutting
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 2
WHAT THEY SELL: Artisan breads and baked goods
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For delicious, organic, local breads and other baked goods
April and Craig Hall Cutting are committed to community and local sustainability. Every aspect of their business has been carefully thought out – from where they source their ingredients, to where their bread is sold, to how it’s delivered and paid for. The wide variety of delicious, healthful breads, cookies, and other baked goods offered by Wild Yeast Community Supported Bakery is testament to the creativity and care that April and Craig bring to their work.
April, when and why did you decide to start your business? We started the business two years ago. A bit before that (about two and a half years ago) we would sell bread at a market in our neighborhood. At first, there were eight households that were subscribed to buy fresh bread every week, then we gained more subscribers. We decided to start this business because we were looking for something to do as a retirement project. Ever since I was a teenager, I have baked bread at home, and we wanted to keep learning to bake wild yeast artisan-style bread.
Tell us more about your products. What are your specialties or favorites? Our focus is on organic and local grains. We want people to have high quality, fresh local bread. There is also a variety of locally grown grains, which is great. Our bakery wants to bridge the farmer who grows the grain, to bring it to the customer. We make more than two dozen kinds of bread. We enjoy exploring and creating new flavors.
Our specialty is the diversity. The bread selection changes weekly. We deliver weekly to South Corvallis and customers can pick up their bread at three other locations weekly. The bakery is very personal and local. My favorite bread is Pear Multigrain. Some of the most popular breads include 100% Local Whole Wheat and Toasted Walnut.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? I am really excited to have a strong local business connection. We want people to find out about us, because word of mouth is what sells food. We are also members of the Community Independent Business Alliance.
Do you fill an unusual niche? What does your business do better than anyone else? Why should folks patronize your business? What makes us unusual is that we bring local grain directly to the customer. Customers say our sourdough bread is truly European artisan bread. We collaborate and take requests/feedback from our customers. Wild Yeast Bakery is also the only “bread by subscription” business in Corvallis.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner and how have you met them? The major challenge is how to grow (as a business) at a pace we enjoy and will get us to be an economically viable and visible business. We don’t want to be a huge bakery — we want to be local. Bakeries go in and out of business all the time. We want to stay sustainable, work hard to find new customers, yet grow a little bit bigger.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for the local independents? There is a lot of depth, mutual support, and colleagueship. Our very first subscribers wanted to support local business – not simply eat bread. Corvallis is a great city to find customers. There is a rich variety of local businesses in the downtown area and all over Corvallis.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you? It is very rewarding and encouraging to have such a personal relationship with our customers. It’s fun to keep changing and collaborating with customers, and to make people happy through food. Fresh, local grain has so much more flavor than commercial yeast/wheat. Different wheat has different flavor and life.
What is your relationship to the community? What organizations do you support and/or participate in? We participate in the Sustainability Coalition and the Eat 40% Local challenge. We also have a relationship with the South Corvallis Food Bank and have donated unsold bread from our Farmers’ Market days. Subscribers can participate in our assistance fund. If others want to buy our bread, but do not have the funds, the assistance fund can help cover their bread costs. People are very generous.
How many people do you employ? Craig and I are the only employees of Wild Yeast Bakery. Some volunteers deliver the bread if we can’t. I do 95% of the baking, and Craig and I both do administrative and outreach duties.
How important is sustainability to you and your business? Have you taken steps to save energy, reduce your use of other resources, decrease your carbon footprint, or reduce waste? Sustainability is at the heart of Corvallis. We live at CoHo EcoVillage, where residents manage and live together in a cohesive and self-managed community. We bake and operate our business out of our home. We sell our bread at the Wednesday Farmers’ Market and also at a bread share at Rainshine Family Farm. We deliver bread by bike when weather permits. Most important, we decrease our carbon footprint by sustaining local organic ingredients whenever they are available. Wild Yeast Bakery is committed to using fresh, locally milled grain.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. If you want really delicious bread made with local, fresh, and organic grain, we are your source.
(Interview and article by Amy Wilson – April 10, 2016)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).