Hot days, Breadfriends, hot days!
It’s the steaming summer now, that’s for sure. One hundred degrees in the shade, and storms on the way. The doughs are on the march!
As most of you already know, we have a lot going on here at the bakery—solar installations, new trainees, classes, some breaks for the hot bakers, and we work daily with a challenging flour situation that is confounding bakers all over the country. It’s a full-life of work and play, I can tell you.
But these are not the stories I want to tell in this letter.
Today it’s a simple message with two parts. I want to welcome the many new crustfund members to the Bakery, and I want to take a minute to remind everyone of how the breadshare works. I know… most of you have heard it all before, but maybe not.
So.. on the first point: WELCOME! We are thrilled to bake for you, and we look forward to meeting you at the distributions. You’ll see. At first it seems like you just walk in and get your bread. But take a minute. Talk to your bakers. Tell us what you like and what you’d love to see. Tell us about the bread your grandmother used to make, and about the bread that’s been eluding you at home. We want to hear it. We can’t always tell exactly how it wiggles its way into our baking, but it does. You need more yeasted breads? They’ll likely start showing up. Just gotta have a potato bread? Suddenly it’s on the roster. Sometimes it takes a while, it’s true. We’ve been meaning to get that onion bread in the oven for a while now (!!), but we’ll get it. Hang tight. But keep us in the loop!
And on the second point: THE BREADSHARE. THE CRUSTFUND. What is this thing? What isn’t it?
The Crustfund or breadshare is somewhat counter-intuitive. It seems straightforward: you pay us in advance and we bake for you. Like a “bread-club.” It SEEMS that you are paying in advance for bread.
IT IS NOT! You are NOT paying in advance for bread.
That’s right. You are NOT paying in advance for bread.
I hear your cry—For WHAT, then, AM I paying in advance?
And here is what it is: You are contracting us to PERFORM A SERVICE for you. You are saying, in effect, “I pay you in advance so that you will perform the service of baking for me on a particular day.”
So what’s the difference?
Every day, we go to our list and we find out who has contracted our services for a particular day. We see, perhaps, that we have been called upon to bake 50 loaves of bread. So we do that, and we deliver the bread to the agreed upon site.
At that point, we have performed the service you contracted us to perform.
And you pay us for that.
It may seem like a subtle difference, but note that IF you were paying in advance for bread, if you did not get your bread, you would be “owed” a loaf of bread. Because that’s what you paid for. But when you pay in advance for the SERVICE, then what matters is whether WE perform that service, not whether you get your bread.
I know all you experienced breadfriends have heard all this before, but it can’t hurt to hear it again, and in any case, the new folks need to hear it, too. I can tell you that I do have to explain it often.
I ask you to take a moment before you call to ask for a loaf to make up for the one you forgot to pick up. Think it through. See what you are saying with that call (You baked a loaf of bread for me, but I forgot to come get it. Will you please bake me another one?).
All that said: if you forget your loaf, you are always welcome to call me that evening to see if I have a leftover loaf at the bakery. I often do, and when I do, you are likely welcome to come pick it up. Heck, I’ve even been known to deliver if it’s convenient.
I don’t like coming home with bread; I want you to have and enjoy your loaf!
I hope this helps clarify. If I can do better or speak more clearly, please let me know.
And that’s all, for now.
With thanks for your camaraderie, friendship, and patience,