Interview with Breadworks
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Rick Cave and Annette Wojciechowski in their store, located directly behind Midtown Guitar Co. on 4th Street in Yachats.
|Annette Wojciechowski and Rick Cave of Breadworks|
TYG: So how did you guys come to Yachats?Rick: Well, I came to Yachats from outside of Park City, UT. I had sold my house, and had the opportunity to live on the Oregon Coast, something I'd wanted to do my whole life—I'm a born Oregonian. So I headed to the coast; I'd been to Florence many times, and I'm from Southern Oregon, so I'd seen all of the southern Oregon Coast. I'd probably been here when I was a kid, but didn't remember it. So I headed north from Florence, and found here! Spent a couple of days here, went to Waldport, left there, went to Newport, came back here, and the evening I came back here I was led to a property management place and ended up with a house three days later—on 3rd Street, a block away from the ocean. It was like I was told to be here—that's how I got here! [laughter] And I've been here seven years now.
TYG: Seems to happen to people a lot around here.
Annette: I found Yachats 19 years ago, because we had friends whose parents had lived here, and who moved here. They told my husband and I, "You have to come to Yachats! You have to come to Yachats!" So we came to Yachats and we bought a property up-river 19 years ago. However, I never got a chance to live here until three years ago, when I came here to take care of the property that is now my former husband's property. So I finally got to live here after so many years! So I'm pretty happy to be here! There was always the will to get here, but it's not always so easy.
TYG: There seem to be a lot of people who come here with weird fortuities... that's not a word! [laughter] So, how did you guys get the idea to open a bakery?
Rick: Well, when I was in Park City I had the opportunity to learn to be a baker. I'd been a professional stage manager for many years, and quit doing that and became a property manager. I went to work for a company that owned a hotel and a restaurant, and I got to work in the restaurant, and got offered learning to bake! And I went, "Uh, what am I, stupid? Yes!" [laughter] So years later, after a couple or three different companies, the last one being an artisan bakery that made twenty different kinds of bread, I moved here. And in the move here, it was, you know, "What am I going to do?" And it just wasn't kind of right, so I fixed broken houses for many years, and pretty much forgot about baking. And a couple of years ago I decided to make a Christmas dinner for my family in Eugene, and just went around and collected every kind of seafood I could find. Because I live on the coast! I start preparing this huge dinner, and ... dinner has to have bread, so I baked a bunch of breads and stuff! Couple of months later I had purchased the purple mixer under here, in Ashland—my recipes are for ten loaves or more. And so all of a sudden I'm baking in my house! And selling out of my car! I was baking pretty much every Friday, and selling bread out of my car—and it paid the rent! And I was still fixing broken houses—it was just kind of a side thing, and my back bedroom was a small, tiny little bakery. Eventually my landlady told me that you can't have a commercial thing going in a house, and I had to quit baking. That's what actually gave me the impetus to find a space. So I researched gluten-free bread for about a year, while aggressively looking for a space. Annette was a good friend of mine, and she started working with me...
Annette: ... fixing broken houses! [laughs]
Rick: And we have had a really good working relationship! And one day I was walking down the street and met Frank Male, the owner of these buildings, and kind of popped off, "Can I make one of those little shacks a bakery?" And he said, "No, they're going to be houses for people." And so I thought, "Well, that was a try!" And a couple of weeks later, I get a message saying, "Hey, why don't you look at this space, which used to be a kitchen?" So I did! Because I knew that Annette would come on board and help, I ended up making a deal with Frank and leasing the space, and literally re-doing the whole space. The ceiling was falling off, the lighting was nothing—it was a scary space. [laughter]
TYG-Graphic Design: The whole building—when Frank came in, he made a lot of renovations!
Rick: Yes! So with help from a lot of friends, and Annette, and a loan from my brother who believed in my vision and in me, we were able to put this together, and look toward the future!
TYG: Certainly an awesome space!
Annette: We like it! It's manageable.
Rick: It was fun to be able to take a space, and go, "We're making it a bakery," and basically design it to where it works for us.
Annette: Well, we designed it with all of our needs in mind.
Rick: And the constraints of the building—where the plumbing is, that kind of thing.
TYG: Where's... Oh, there's the sink—I'm blind!
Annette: We have a big wash sink way back there. That's the dish-washing sink.
Rick: And then that's a hand-washing sink [by the sales window], and this is the food preparation sink [by the back door.]
Annette: Yes—to be certified, there have to actually be three, separate areas for all of this to happen. Let alone actually making your bread!
TYG: That makes sense!
TYG-GD: That's a beautiful [wood] counter! But that's your only stove?
Annette: That is our oven. But it's a beast! [laughs] Yes! It's huge in there!
Rick: I can bake 15 loaves of bread at a time!
TYG: Wow! Can we look?
Rick: Oh yes! [we open it up] And it [takes] full sheet pans. And hopefully one day we'll have to get another one. We'll put it underneath it.
TYG: Is this one unit? You'd have to do some redesigning to get another one in there.
Rick: Well, they actually make some that are a double unit. When we get that big I'll just replace this one with a double unit.
TYG-GD: Is it really insulated?
Rick: Very. But it heats this place up. In the summer the doors have to be open. We bake the bread at 475°F.
TYG-GD: So, what does a typical baking day look like for you guys?
Annette: Well, Rick gets here maybe about 4 o'clock in the morning. We prep the day before. A typical baking day requires us to come in the day before and prep our different buckets depending on whether they're sourdoughs, or yeasted breads, or flavored breads. We get all those prepped so they can have a good rise. And then he's here at four in the morning throwing all the boules out [laying out balls of dough] and getting that all prepped. I come in about seven, and some of the baking is done. I'm usually making some sort of specialty item, so by that time he's now finished, and I can have the space for whatever I'm baking. Because it is a small space. [they both laugh]
TYG: It's bigger than I imagined though—I didn't realize how deep it was.
Rick: Yes! And having the table this size makes it so there's enough room for the both of us to work on most projects. Some of the projects I do take the whole table.
Annette: And that's why the first part of a regular baking day is definitely with Rick here to begin with. And I've come in and learned that process, so I can participate. So then generally we try to have everything baked off by nine, hence our "nine-ish" hours—nine-ish to two-ish. And then we sit in the window and have a hoot! [laughter] It's quite fun—I really enjoy that part, the interface with the public. It's fun—but he's been up for hours by then. He stays till the end of the day, which is usually about three. We try to close around two—we're usually selling out by then. And then there's the clean-up.
Rick: And then the prep for the next day.
TYG-GD: What days do you sell?
Annette: Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Rick: And those will be our hours through the winter. Come Spring/Summer, that is likely to change.
Annette: We'll be adding more days.
TYG-GD: [to Annette] So what is your background in bread cookery?
Annette: I have a picture of the very first cherry pie that I ever made. I was about twelve—Grandma taught me how to bake, and I'm just good at it. Actually, my passion and my reason for being in here is because I have my own agenda [laughs], and I'll be offering the community sprouted beans and seeds: sprouts, micro-greens, and juices, come summertime.
TYG-GD: I think you'll have a lot of demand for that!
Annette: I believe so.
TYG-GD: So, are you making sprouted breads and stuff like that?
Annette: Well, we do a sprouted bulghur, and we'll do more of that as I get my ship on board, then we can combine some things. But the focus has been getting the bakery going. My piece is a little simpler to implement, but we had to have everything in place first. That's up and coming soon, actually! I was going to wait until summer, but I think the sprouted beans and seeds could go now, as we're going into the time of year when there's not much healthy to eat.
TYG-GD: So what kinds of breads do you offer?
Rick: We offer chocolate-chipotle-lime, a very esoteric bread that makes a phenomenal French toast and peanut butter sandwich.
TYG-GD: Hmm! Is it more like a Mexican type of chocolate?
Rick: Yes, it's a dark chocolate. It's not a sweet bread at all. It's kind of spicy—almost a bite-type chocolate. We make a cheese bread and a Kalamata olive on a regular basis, and because of repeated requests I've gone to a sourdough—I rotate between a straight roasted garlic sourdough and a roasted garlic and rosemary sourdough. We've made bulghur breads—a very hearty wheat bread, sourdough rye...
Annette: ... and anything that's fun, like the holidays or the Celtic Festival, it's like, "Ooh, let's make some Irish soda bread." You know, it's fun to play. That's why I made the lemon poppy seed—I thought people coming to the Art Quilt Festival might enjoy that. Trying to be inspired by the events going on in town!
Rick: And that's something we look at! What events are happening, and like Annette said for the Celtic Festival, we did two different kinds of soda bread! And people went nuts over it! And we got requests the next week! "Can you make that soda bread again?" [laughs] And that, to both of us, is an amazing feeling.
Annette: Yes, that's really fun, to make something that people are like, "Oh, yesyesyesyesyes!" [laughs] Like his pretzels, and the stick bread.
TYG-GD: Mmm, like German pretzels?
Rick: Yes! My mentor was a Swiss chef. And the way he taught me, was: on some things he'd give me a twenty minute lesson; you'd better write it down, it's on the menu next week—and I was gifted with the ability to play with it for a week. With the pretzels... That actually took almost two months, to come up with a decent pretzel. One of the things is that we were at high altitude, which makes a difference in baking. The other was him—just the general, "It has to be something spectacular." And the fact that that was the way he taught! He said, "There's a goal here. So go ahead and make it, hand it out, test it." And so I learned the ability to create recipes. That is one of the things we will be doing here, is make something, and if people like it, we'll make it more!
Annette: Yes! I just got an opportunity to travel to Sicily, so we're thinking about making some pasta. That would be a fun thing. That's what I want to do: If I'm going to be in here, I'm going to have fun. Let's make something, try it out!
TYG-GD: You have such a beautiful table, you should make phyllo dough!
Rick: Oh, we will—and gluten-free, too. Like I said, I researched gluten-free for almost a whole year.
TYG-GD: And you've found a way to do it?
Rick: Oh yes! It's rather expensive, which is why we're not doing it yet, but it's something we're looking forward to providing.
Annette: And also some gluten-free treat type stuff, too. Maybe some sprouted crackers... I played with making home-made mustard for the pretzels, that was fun. It's kind of like, "What are we inspired by?" Because both of us, we have this baseline thing going, but for the rest of it...
Rick: For the mushroom festival, we did chanterelle mushroom gravy and biscuits!
Annette: We've been playing with that idea for the winter months—you know, it's all a creative process.
Rick: And listening to our community—we have a small community!
TYG-GD: And cakes? Did you say you did cakes?
Annette: But if you need a cake we know somebody who does beautiful cakes.
TYG-GD: There are a bunch of people in Yachats who do cakes, too...
Annette: There's actually a new couple in town, and I think she's got that niche filled. [to Rick] Right? We're not going to take on cake-baking.
Rick: Oh no.
Annette: We've never discussed doing that.
Rick: I trained as a pastry chef, but we're going to be more bread-centric. I really don't intend on being a French-ish bakery. Do things that other people don't.
Annette: Our latest request... "Are you doing Thanksgiving rolls?" [deliberate pause] "Why yes, we are!" [laughter] We played with three different recipes, and we've chosen to make a potato roll. [laughs] By the end of the day, I'd eaten so much bread...
Rick: Oh, and we'll be providing all the bread for the Lions' Crab Feed in January! That's going to be a lot of bread—they're ordering almost a hundred loaves, big ones. And we're making stuffing for the Ladies' Club! Cubed herb and non-herb, and we added a little bit of rye.
TYG: What made you decide on this layout? Was this the only way to work with the space?
Rick: Well, the hood vent [over the stove and oven] was in the building. And there's a grease trap behind the wall here [between the guitar store and near the south door] that is plumbed to that corner of the building. There was no sink there when we moved into the building—there was plumbing to here. But it didn't go to the grease trap, and it was a huge sink.
TYG-GD: I guess I don't know what a grease trap really is—I've heard the term though.
Rick: It's a big box that has a couple of partitions in it, and the water flows from up here to down here [as it moves across the partitions]. It lets the grease float, and the water drains from the bottom.
TYG: It's a filtering system, essentially.
Rick: Yes, and it's something that's required by the health department. So having that plumbed to over here in the corner, and that corner being the perfect space for cleaning, I was able to find a sink—after a lot of looking for the triple basin sink, which is required by law—then I modified the space and built the steel [splash-guard] that's up to the wall. I did all of that—all the curb work around it. And the big table we were originally going to put [on the opposite wall], but we'd have been looking through the stained glass window [into the guitar shop] so it just worked out better [to place it along the west wall]. [laughs]
TYG: You have great outlet access on that wall too.
Rick: We have plenty of electricity for the smaller units, yes.
TYG: I'm guessing there's 220 power in here somewhere.
Rick: Yes, behind the stove. And the big stove is gas. I had gas brought in so that I could specifically determine cost—what it costs for baking. If I put it as an electric one, it would be part of the bill for the whole building.
Annette: And we really got the idea one day for a walk-up window, and it just ended up kind of working out! We talked with Frank, the land-owner, and so we designed the patio and built the awning over it.
TYG-GD: It's adorable, with a bench and flowers and everything! And... [looks closer] a bear! [a little figurine]
Annette: It is, really! [laughs] Yes, somebody just left that last night, actually. We came here this morning and that was there.
TYG-GD: There's one question I have: What is your hardest bread to make? Or trickiest?
Rick: [under his breath] The hardest one...
TYG: It's probably a good thing that you don't have an immediate answer... [laughter]
Rick: Honestly, I've made all of the breads that we're baking right now for a number of years, and except for small modifications because of being at sea level, they're not really hard for me...
Annette: He's really fast at it, too! I tried to do it one day, and eventually he was like, "Okay, I've got to get this done!" [laughter]
Rick: There are one or two that I've made that I'm not particularly fond of, but I don't eat them anyway. A lot of the product I make I taste, but I rarely eat.
TYG-GD: That's better for your waist-line, I guess! [laughs]
Annette: I eat a lot of it, I do. [laughs] I'm like, "Oh, that scone. It broke." [laughter]
TYG: Great! Thank you so very much for your time!
Annette: Thanks for calling on us!
Interview with Emily Crabtree of ???
Help Emily Crabtree choose a name for her new record store, which will be opening the week before Christmas above the Midtown Guitar Co. shop! You can e-mail Emily with your pick at email@example.com. She brought a list of names with her to the interview, which are as follows: Perpetua Records, Spindrift Music, Vortex Vinyl, Siren Songs Music, Wild Coast Records, Sunset Music, Tsunami Sounds, or Gem & Wave Records. Or feel free to suggest your own!
Emily: Alright! I'm pulling up my list. I didn't know if you'd done this before with your paper, but I was hoping you'd be up for it, to have a little contest of sorts, and to give my e-mail to people and have a list of names. I'm really struggling! I don't have a name yet, but I brought my list, and it's long. My creative writing classes are paying off, but unfortunately making it much harder to narrow down! [laughs] My hope is that you would be up for asking your readers to e-mail me what they think is a good name.
Emily: So I was here [at the Drift Inn] maybe two months ago, brainstorming and writing down ideas, and this very lovely couple beside me were like, "What are you doing, writing in a book? Who does that anymore?" And I was like, "Well, I do. And I'm doing it because I'm opening a record store!" They gasped, and said, "Oh, did you hear? Vinyl sales are actually surpassing sales of CD's, and they've never really gone away." As someone who's been very much in the music industry on the low end, underground scene, records are always there, and tapes! In one of my old bands, if we hadn't made tapes we would have gone broke on tour. But instead, we were able to sell them, and people could hold them in their hand. There's a really sweet thing about that that makes people have more intention with their music. That's why I love the idea. So each name could be either Records, Vinyl, or Music. So I'm trying to decide which one. People love alliteration. But their suggestion was that if I use Vinyl, people these days don't know how to spell. [laughs] And I was like, "So sad!" but also, "That is true..." So, there's that.
TYG: My two favorites are Perpetua Records and Spindrift Music!
Emily: Because I want the name to be simply something that people just know as Yachats. Because I want to start the business to make our community be more vibrant. That's why I want folks to be able to weigh in if they feel like it.
TYG-Editorial Assistant: So why do you want to open a record store?
Emily: Because I love music. And because I thought about if I'm just sitting in a shop, what would I want to have around me that would never be boring, that would ceaselessly be entertaining? And it's music, to me. And when you have a space that has music, you can do so much more to have live music. Or even just simple things: I'm going to have a speaker that will play out to the street—because I want people to have people be like [snaps fingers], "Oh, what is that?" and to feel a groove and feel good about their day. To me, I think that music is this beautiful kind of art that involves every other kind of art. There's the physical record that you hold in your hand, the person that made the art on the sleeve; the people that wrote that poetry; the musicians that recorded it—I just think that it's this beautiful epicenter that's all braided together to create something that we all can enjoy. And I've been on people's records, and recorded music, and been in my own bands—and that was so satisfying, a distinct feeling that I didn't get anywhere else in my life. My hope is that I can kind of cultivate that for Yachats.
TYG-EA: Why vinyl?
Emily: Good question! [laughs] I guess my earliest memories were my father's vinyl collection. He had a big papa-san chair and a huge 70's headphone set, and I think I was around twelve, when I really just needed some space to myself, to not have to listen to all the noise in the world, and to really be able to just center and focus and sort of trip out. And it was sitting there for hours and having that space given to me was just ... Even the tactile [memory], the way it feels to just pull it out: it's really a good feeling! And I love records because they don't become trash, like a CD does. Even the ones that become scratched—I'm refurbishing the space, and I'm going to use those. You can make cute stuff out of them, shoot a BB gun at them... [laughs] And there's this warmth to it—it takes a little more intentionality, which I really like. You can't just... I can be somewhat ADD, so a record really makes me focus. I can get up and move around if I want, but... just let it ride. Just let it ride, you know? I like that. It just feels like something I hope other people can get back into, as well... Generationally, the music industry sort of tried to tamp down the fact that people were even still collecting records. I love people being nerdy about the thing they love. Folks have always been like that about records.
TYG: Nowadays, people have pretty much given that up, in terms of the "trying to suppress it." I mean, we bought a new record player! It's actually quite a cool piece—it's got a 4-way function: radio, tape, CD, and records.
Emily: They're great! My hope is that it will help generationally bond people a little again. When I tell people I'm doing this, every age person seems to have an emotional connection to that idea. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I wish I'd never given away my record collection—it makes me think of this time in my life..." and I'm like, "Well then, come in, and let's do that again for you!" So I'll always have refurbished, vintage record players for sale. And I want people to be like, "Oh, I haven't listened to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk in forever!" and I can say, "Well, you should, because there are some hilarious jammers on there." Like where they are gets so weird—I think on that album they hired an entire marching band, and rented out a football stadium? I was like "Oh my god, you guys have too much money." I'm glad they did it, but the songs are ridiculous. I want people to have that time, I think. And especially in a world where everything is so digital, here's a moment where you don't have to be. So, we'll see! I'm definitely not getting into it to make my millions! [laughs]
TYG-EA: So, are you thinking mostly new, or used, or...?
Emily: So right now, I have a good friend that runs a record store in Portland—shout out to Jared! I put a call out on Facebook (of all places), and he got back to me. He owns Clinton Street Record and Stereo and has always done really well. He's a DJ, and sells refurbished audio equipment. He said he looked through all of his records for doubles, and he said, "I've got a great deal for you, I want to help your company, we've been friends for a long time and I really believe in your vision." So I bought my first big bulk amount. So up there in the space right now I have over 250 records. I have 100 45's, and 200 tapes. I like to think I have good taste in music, so I'm going through my own record collection, and I'm going to release some things that I know I couldn't live without at one point, but it's okay—I don't need to have two Nancy Sinatra records that have the same songs in different orders. I can pick the one I want, or maybe I'll sell that one, because there's a Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra record that has duets. It's one of my favorite records ever, and I'm like, I could never get rid of it. But the idea of selling it to someone who will either find it fresh and new, or someone who already loved that music and is getting to know it again, is a way to feel really good about cathartically getting rid of things I love.
TYG: It's like a way to pass it on.
Emily: Right! Tom, my husband, asked "[in a dramatically tearful tone] Are you going to sell all our beautiful records? " "Yes, baby, I am." Not all of them, but maybe. It's like, maybe it was my favorite sweater for five years, but I haven't worn it in two. You can pass it on, you know. [laughs] [To be continued.]
The Yachats Gazette will continue our conversation with Emily Crabtree in the 97th issue in January. Don't forget to send in your preference for a store name!
As well as Breadworks and Emily's store, we want to remind our readers that Dark Water, the famous Yachats souvenir shop, has moved from its previous location near the Drift Inn to the front south portion of the Midtown Guitar Co. complex. Store co-owner Noah Goughenhour had just a few remarks to share:
"We opened on November 24, and we turn on our OPEN light 1 to 5, everyday. We are still a family business: Dave worked on fixing up the interior, Su will be doing more buying, and I will be helping customers. The space is smaller than our previous spot, so we had to select what we show, our stock will continually change. Frank and Kathy offered us a space in Midtown when we found there were no commercial buildings open for rent. There is a lot more walk-by traffic at this new location. We expect that being next to the Commons events, the farmers market and part of a complex with other shops should be a good mix and inviting to new customers."
We wish every one of you a wonderful month of December, and thank you for supporting us for yet another year. Next year will bring Issues 97, 98, 99, and 100--and then it's off to college!