Lane's Creative Director Joff Casciani Explores California And The Pacific Northwest
When visiting the extraordinary San Francisco Farmers Market (with my partner Kimberley Bell, who owns Small Food Bakery), we had a chance to meet with legendary Californian bakers Della Fattoria. After a quick chat about sourdough and the sharing of a few Instagram images, head honcho Edmund invited us back to his ranch and bakery to check out their set up.
A few miles outside of San Francisco we arrived in at Weber Ranch in Petaluma, Sonoma County, the location of their family home, an extraordinary wood fire bakery, an agriturismo and a small holding. We were received with a warm welcome by Edmund and his wife and baker Kathleen.
Edmund and Kathleen Weber founded Della Fattoria in 1996. What was initially a hobby for Kathleen blossomed into a thriving artisanal bread business. Each evening, Edmund would stoke that single oven's fire and Kathleen would work into the night preparing the bread dough and baking. In the early hours of the morning, she would load the bread into a van and deliver the bread to select destinations in Napa and Sonoma counties.
As the business grew, so did the number of wood-burning ovens and the number of loaves baked grew to as many as 1000 a night!
This truly artisan bread is still handmade and fired in a wood burning oven, which is an extraordinary sight in its own right. Edmund and Kathleen are almost certainly the true Californian pioneers of sourdough, establishing a ‘real bread’ production in California over 20 years ago. Their hard work has paved the way for the baking revolution that is being championed by high profile bakeries such as San Francisco’s Tartine.
After comparing notes on bread production and sharing a glass of homemade wine, we were invited to their local restaurant for a truly delicious meal of local produce. It is always a great pleasure to meet such nice people doing such important work.