The road to Williams from their previous life in San Rafael, Ca was full of interesting twists and turns. In the late 1980’s Dennis was a computer systems manager in the Bay Area and the family enjoyed traveling to Mendocino on weekends where they fell in love with the bread at one of their favorite restaurants. They learned that the bread was baked in a wood fired brick oven built by Australian-born Alan Scott of Ovencrafters.
In 1993 Dennis and Pat found a beautiful piece of property located in Williams and purchased it with the idea of someday building a home and moving to Oregon. They wanted both of their sons to finish school in the Bay Area. Dennis occasionally considered other career ideas, but never imagined the stretch from computers to bread baking.
Fast forward to 2000 when Dennis and Pat participated in a weekend oven building workshop on an organic farm in Sonoma County with Alan Scott. Becoming disenchanted with the company he worked for when it changed hands, Dennis began to consider a serious life change. Dennis and Pat took a two week course in bread baking in the fall of 2001 at the San Francisco Baking Institute and dedicated themselves even further by building a small brick oven in their back yard. When the first breads came out of that oven, they were completely hooked!
kids were out of school, it was time for a change. Just down the road
from their parcel of land in Williams, they found Pennington’s Country
Bakery had a brick oven in a barn to rent and a house next door….also
for rent. It was an opportunity to learn what they could accomplish as
full time bread bakers. Dennis quit the computer business (and a long
commute); they sold their home and moved to the little house next to the
barn. Applegate Valley Artisan Breads was born in the fall of 2003. For
the next year, they baked bread, watched their new home being built and
traveled to the three area farmers’ markets each week selling their
bread and making contacts for future accounts. After a year they moved
into their new home and continued to commute to their rented oven, 4 miles
down the road. Having been spoiled by being able to walk across the driveway
to go to work, even a 4 mile commute was no fun. The last piece of the
puzzle was achieved in 2005 when they built their own bakery and brick
oven right next to their home in Williams.
From the new bakery, Dennis and Pat have a most spectacular view of the valley. They are just a few short steps from home to work and the fragrance of fresh baked bread.
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PO Box 139 Williams OR 97544
© 2008 Applegate Valley Artisan Breads