A Visit with Craig Pondsford
Today a friend and I visited Craig Pondsford's bakery here in Marin called Pondsford's Place. ponsfordsplace.com
I've been wanting to meet Craig because his name is every where in the wheat and bread world, he's local AND he's the only American to ever win the coveted gold at the Coup du Monde de la Boulangerie competiton in Paris. He also gained my respect because after his conversion to whole grain flour he stepped down as chairman of the board of directors for the Bread Bakers Guild of America, knowing he could no longer fairly represent its white flour and yeast promoting members. When I told him about my respect he smiled and said, "yes, but I'm still having an affect on them."
In the course of an hour we talked about Craig's ongoing dialogue about challah with a rabbi at the Marin Farmer's Market, the frustration we have when the US ships unhealthy, processed foods to lesser developed countries which creates dependence and illness, the straw horse premise that we can't farm organically because we need to feed the world while we haven't addressed the fact that 40% of food in our country and many others is utterly wasted. Craig shared the experience of meeting customers who tell him stories of what tasting his bread is like. A veteran told him how his bread reminds him of the bread he ate in Vietnam (the French had colonized Vietnam and they never occupy a country without some effect on its food).
Oh, and the challah I bought is divine!