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Eli Colvin’s One Man Revolution

I recently had the exciting opportunity to visit with Eli Colvin, owner and operator of Revolution Bread in Petaluma. His bakery is located on Open Field Farm, a diversified farm with cattle, sheep, chickens, vegetables and a CSA. The farm grows rye in their front field, wheat in another, and plan to expand their fields for more wheat in the near future. Eli loves being a part of growing because it connects him to the entire process. Artisan bread has exploded in the past few years and people are recognizing the importance of using local, high quality products and this inspired Eli to start his own bread company.

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Revolution is a one-man operation, with Eli making about 800 loaves a week and often working 14-hour days. He loves anything to do with fermentation, especially bread. His favorite part of fermentation is that it is always changing and a good challenge. He started his career in restaurants, and then got an opportunity to work at a bakery in Healdsburg. That was 24 years ago, and since then he has continued to hone his craft of bread baking. The science and unpredictability of baking keep him thoroughly immersed in what he does. Watching him work was impressive!

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Eli’s focus for the last several years has been artisan bread making. He switched to using local, dry farmed, and sustainable ingredients. His ingredient choices are just like a chef choosing to use locally produced ingredients for maximum flavor, just like our philosophy at Lowell’s. He also loves supporting local farmers who are producing these goods and who are driving the sustainable movement. Eli chooses ancients grains to get away from industrial farming. Ancient grains also provide variety and good flavor in his loaves. For the past 5 years Eli has been milling the grains himself daily. This ensures the bread has more nutrients, minerals, and better flavor. You really can taste the difference. The sourdough ferments for more than 24 hours, which results in a sharper, more nutty flavor and chewy texture.

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Eli created the loaves served at Lowell’s just for us! The wheat in our breads include Khorasan, Yecoro Rojo, and Sonora. For Lowell’s we asked for a specific style of bread and Eli tweaked the recipe until he felt he got it right. I have never met anyone who cares so much about his product and craft. When you eat his bread you can tell it is truly artisan and is something you won’t find in the grocery store. The good news, you can find his breads and other goodies at the farmer’s markets in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma, as well as Green String Farm in Petaluma. Or try his bread on our new Bruschetta A Uovo, our daily Tartine, or simply with butter and our house made jam!

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