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Community Loaves

Bread and butter, or bread and olive oil. So simple, yet somehow we keep messing it up. By messing it up, I mean you’re grabbing it off of shelves where the fluorescent lights blind you and you can’t even see that you’re buying heavily processed ingredients. I’m here to tell you your options of buying bread don’t have to come off of those shelves anymore. Let me tell you about a place called Community Loaves and the two girls behind the operation. dsc_5059

These are two young ladies named Sarah and Meredith. They have passion, determination, and a clear vision. Yes, we’re still talking about bread, but the difference in their bread is not just the ingredients – it’s the community. (Hence the name)  Sarah is from upstate New York and was in a bakery in Alaska before she came to Jacksonville. She started the business in 2012 as a bike-delivered subscription bakery. She’d bake bread and deliver the bread by bike to people’s houses. Meredith, who is originally from the beaches, had finished a apprenticeship at an organic sourdough bakery in England. When she came back home, she was looking for something close to what she fell in love with. Seems almost as if she and Sarah were meant to meet.

Since they’ve joined forces, they’ve grown tremendously. Which means, not only did we fall in love with the two girls; everyone else did too. Where they once were baking out of others’ kitchens, they needed to get their own space. After finding a spot in Murray Hill on Edgewood, their customer base grew, and so did the amount of bread they were making. During winter RAM, they’d use the slower time to test out newer products. Again receiving the positive response from all of their customers, it just came to the point of, “What’s next?” Already having a location, they formed it into a store front only a few months ago. They never dreamed of going from delivering on bike to having a store front, or even a place of their own. dsc_2247

What Community Loaves is doing is absolutely crazy to me. They are doing something so simple and beautiful, the way we used to eat bread. I’m so glad they’re reminding us what hearth baked sourdough bread tastes like. I’m glad they’re reminding all of us how food should be made and how it should be eaten: made by hand and enjoyed together.

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Since their storefront is their newest endeavor, I want to focus on that.  I personally am ecstatic that they’re in Murray Hill! I live in Murray Hill and I live so close to all my favorite places in Riverside. However, I love that the urban core is expanding. Thank you for choosing Edgewood to be your home. I’ve been going once a week ever since they opened, because I just can’t get over their delicious tarts and savory rolls. They constantly change their menu because they use local, in season products. I always have something different to choose from. I’m more of a savory type of person, but their sweet spelt tarts always look so beautiful, I just end up ordering one of each. I tell myself it’s ok because I’m supporting a small local business. While that’s the case I’m debating whether I should ask for someone to have an intervention for me. On the note of ordering two treats.. I also order two drinks. I KNOW! I think I need help. No, no, I don’t it’s just too good. I love their iced latte currently using coffee from Sweet Water and they throw in some coffee cubes. Brilliant. I also always leave with a fermented soda. Yes, fermented soda. I’m going to let you go in and ask them because they give a much more eloquent explanation of what it is.

Aside from the breads, treats, and drinks, let me just tell you that the build out for the front is mostly done by Sarah and Meredith, with some help from friends and family. Not only is it adding character, but it’s just nice to walk into an environment that these girls put elbow grease into. It makes me appreciate them and their business even more.

These girls have created a community as their name would have it, and they aren’t just doing it through baking bread, but through their garden behind the building. Every few weeks the girls hold a pizza night out back in their garden. I can’t wait to go to the next one and meet more people within my own community. They also hold sourdough baking classes, if you’re curious about the process. Be sure to keep up to date with them through social media outlets to know when pizza nights are , as well as classes.

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I hope my excitement extended to you and you’ll go and visit our friends in their quaint store front. It’s the simplicity through these girls that I promise if you hang around for awhile you’ll watch this community reveal itself every time the door opens and a new conversation is started.

Amanda Gibson

Photography by Morgan Burden

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