Something healthy and delicious is about to hit Rochester in the form of breads and baked goods: the opening of Small World Bakery’s storefront location.
On Saturday, Feb. 28, 389 Gregory Street in Rochester’s South Wedge will be abuzz with quality food, music and good company to celebrate the Small World Bakery’s grand opening.
Small World Bakery was formed by a group of local bakers who came together to make nutritious and environmentally friendly foods in the Rochester area. Their bread products are 100 percent organic (and increasingly made from local ingredients). They have a goal of baking with purely New York State products in the near future.
‘The local movement is a big thing,” junior Eli Rubin, one of the bakers, said. ‘The “locavore’ is on the rise.” The ‘locavore,” a person whose goal is to eat only local foods, is an increasingly common creature in this region.
The locavore movement can be seen on campus as a push for local foods such as apples and bagels and local coffee, like Coffee Connection sells at Connections. Off campus, farmer’s markets have been sprouting up in different pockets of the city, such as the South Wedge Farmer’s Market. In addition, there is also the West Side Farmer’s Market, which is right across the river from UR.
This local foods movement is what has allowed Small World Bakery to expand and flourish in its short period of existence.
Small World Bakery began a year ago as a private bakery utilizing all organic ingredients. At its start, it had just one or two bakers.
The bakers made bread loaves honey wheat, country grain, black bean raisin (Rubin’s favorite), oatmeal, rye bread with caraway and fennel and sourdough breads among others. They also make bagels, including poppyseed, garlic and rosemary and cinnamon raisin. They will begin making challah bread and matzah bread soon.
Their small operation is ever-changing and evolving, depending on seasonal foods, connections with certain farmers and their crops, the bakers’ interests and the requests of customers.
‘They had giant zucchini bread muffins that tasted like the ones my grandmother used to make,” senior Cali Reise described. She bought Small World Bakery goods at the West Side Farmer’s Market last fall. ‘It was really delicious. Soft, sweet and moist on the inside with a slightly crunchy crust.”
One item that Rubin said is popular is gluten-free bread.
‘There are a lot of people, especially in the South Wedge, who are either allergic to gluten or choose gluten-free diets,” Rubin explained. ‘Apparently, we have the best gluten-free bread in Rochester… Most gluten-free bread is dry and dense, but ours is fresh and lighter. We’ve stumbled upon this recipe that’s like magic.”
And that’s the way the bakery works: employees there love to cook, try different recipes, take suggestions from customers and see what is good and desired.
Small World Bakery is personalized almost like a catering service at times. ‘We’ll make what you want,” Rubin said. ‘The other day we got a call from someone wanting an organic coffee crumb cake for a brunch party. We don’t normally do that, but we put it together for them.”
The beauty of the small business makes this individual attention the cornerstone of their success. ‘We’ve got grain and an oven,” Rubin said. ‘Sure, we can make what you want.”
From their private baking premises, Small World employees then take their goods to farmer’s markets in the Rochester area, where they sell loaves at prices cheaper than those of Wegmans bread. Also, all the profit returns to the bakers and farmers without a middleman.
‘It’s a way of building up the local business,” Rubin said. ‘There’s something really cool about knowing and seeing the person who farmed your food. Looking at them and thinking, “That guy busted his back to get the grain to us.'”
The local farmers are the ones benefiting directly from the purchases. ‘It helps their farms grow, helps us grow and then everyone can get real nutritious food,” Rubin explained. ‘It’s win-win all around.”
Now, in the winter months, it can be harder to find local foods, since farmer’s markets are less frequent. However, Small World Bakery has been selling its goods at the Long Season Farmer’s Market, which meets once a month through the winter in Rochester.
‘We sold out in under an hour,” Rubin said, in a mixture of disbelief and excitement. ‘The Long Season Farmer’s Market is like smashing a month of farmer’s markets into one day. It’s crazy.”
Small World will continue to sell at farmer’s markets, in addition to opening this storefront location. The South Wedge is an artisan district where walking a few blocks gives you a sense of enjoyment instead of danger. People are more than happy to see students, especially those at Small World Bakery.
The bakery shares its premises with Mez Caf which opens at 6 p.m. when the bakery closes. Sharing the space with a coffee shop will help the bakery inherit that ‘coffee shop vibe” where people can relax and enjoy wholesome foods.
‘People can get together there and talk about anything food, diet, rain, sun,” Rubin said. ‘We were sitting around at dinner the other night, a bunch of people from the bakery, and I looked down at my plate and realized that everything on it was local. We hadn’t even tried to make an entirely local dinner. It’s getting easier to do that now.”
Feel free to check out the grand opening this Saturday. Live music from local band Wild Roots, as well as UR acoustic instrumentalists, will be performing on and off during the afternoon.
Take the Red Line down to Gregory Street. Conveniently, the bus route goes down Gregory and passes by the bakery on Saturdays.
Ryan is a member of the class of 2009.