Thursday, May 2, 2013

Our New Baker, Jerry Sheehan, by Melinda

Wow, have we got a great addition to our off-farm offerings this year--fresh-baked, artisanal breads made as much as possible from locally sourced, organic ingredients.  Their estimable baker is Jerry Sheehan, who will be offering samples at the Open House and Plant Sale (see here) on May 11th, and then selling to us through the season.
Wheat harvest, Tacuinum Sanitatis, 1400s

Among Jerry's offerings are French baguettes, Raisin-Walnut Whole Wheat bread, Bavarian pretzels, NY deli-style rye bread (using whole dark rye flour), peasant bread (whole wheat & whole rye with sourdough), French country white (with sesame seeds and sourdough), Italian focaccia and ciabatta (oh, be still my beating heart!), American-style pullman sandwich loaves (with whole wheat & organic honey), and organic 8-grain pullman sandwich loaves. (For the origin of pullman bread, click here.)

The top-of-the-line ingredients Jerry uses include a range of flours from King Arthur Flour, a Vermont-based company founded in 1790--see here for more about King Arthur products and issues of social and environmental responsibility.

Annville Mill, Lebanon Co., PA,Daisy Organic Flours
As well, Jerry sources more locally from Daisy Organic Flours in Lebanon County, just north of Lancaster, producer of 100% organic wheat, spelt, and all-purpose whole wheat flours. Daisy Flours' Annville Mill dates back to earlier than 1740 and is the oldest continually running flour mill in the U.S.  Back in those days, Pennsylvania was one of the country's breadbaskets, an identity that was eventually undermined by the completion of the Erie Canal, which made it cheaper to buy grains from the midwest and ship them back east.  Daisy Flour and its Annville Mill are among the shining exceptions to that corporatized, "bottom-line" mentality. For Daisy Organic Flours, see here.  For the history of the Annville Mill, click here.

Among Jerry's other ingredients are organic Montana-grown rye berries milled here, organic raw honey from Lancaster County, and grey sea salt from France.  All of his sourdough breads use sourdough starter that Jerry cultivates, while a straight dry yeast is used in the baguettes, ciabatta, and focaccia breads.

Jerry's own background is fascinating. He grew up in Delaware County; studied at St. Joe's; lived & worked in Germany for three years; traveled extensively in Germany, Spain, France, England, & Ireland;  & lived & worked in Mexico for almost three years. During much of this time he was in international accounting and finance. Then, about 4 years ago, he had an epiphany, taking up the creation of Euro-style artisanal breads and American rustic desserts like deep-dish apple pie. Jerry's altogether a Renaissance man, and we're lucky to have him as our baker. We can't *wait* to taste some of these scrumptious-sounding breads!


  1. I love the way you often incorporate art with the articles.

  2. Thanks, Pat, for the comment and the nice compliment. I'm glad you enjoy it! I love those funky old mediaeval manuscript drawings.