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As the farm-to-fork capital, Sacramento is known for its array of food and drink offerings that only continue to grow, along with the city’s appreciation for them. While it seems a new restaurant or brewery opens every time we turn around, it is far less often (if hardly ever) that we hear of a new bakery opening its doors. So we were thrilled when we first heard Faria planned to open their own location. While Sacramento has her spots –Freeport Bakery, a Sacramento staple for more than 30 years, Pushkin’s Bakery for all things vegan; Ettore’s Bakery and their magnificent, layer upon layer cakes; and Estelle’s Patisserie for their decadent pastries, we still find ourselves asking, Where are the bakeries in Sacramento? In response, Sacramento has several new bakeries lining up, ready to share their wares with eager patrons seeking all things beautifully baked, from mouth-watering pastries to naturally leavened loaves, to take home with them.
Enter Christopher Beattie, owner of Faria Bakery. While there may be several new bakeries looking to open in Sacramento, Faria Bakery is actually not completely new to the scene. Starting out small, Chris and lead baker Grace Kerfoot have been baking bread and pastries for Sacramento out of his home for the past two years. Starting out with pop-up events, weekly farmers markets, and a bread subscription service, they built up a steadily growing, loyal fan base of patrons as they worked towards completing their brick-and-mortar space in Oak Park. We sat down with Chris to talk about Faria and what Sacramento can expect from its newest bakery.
Chris, tell us a little about you, Grace, and Faria. How did you get to where you are today?
It was honestly a long pursuit of passion. It has been a hobby for about ten years. I started by baking pizza and different things on the side, while I had a normal 9-5 desk job, and I would take these week-long vacations, but really I was going to the San Francisco Baking Institute and taking classes there. I was accumulating all of theses classes and resources, “But for what?” they would ask me, and I would always say, “I don’t know.” I just knew that I liked it and that’s what I’m going to do for now. It was when my wife took a residency job in Sacramento that it forced me to make a decision, and that’s when the farmers markets started. It’s interesting because Sacramento is so close to San Francisco, but the bread culture from the bay has never really cemented itself in Sacramento; I found that was an interesting opportunity, so we started doing the farmers markets and that kicked it off.
How has the response been?
The feedback and the support we’ve gotten from the community has been incredible. It’s not necessarily easy to get our stuff: you have to go to the farmers markets, or get a bread subscription, like, there are some hurdles to come get a loaf of bread, and people have been so amazingly supportive and patient. It has given us the confidence to ask, where do we go from here? How do we scale this up from our little home bakery, to something more sustainable? And…here we are!
What do you think makes Faria special? What are you excited to bring as Sacramento’s newest bakery?
I think, to be honest, we’re just excited to be a part of this bread revolution in Sacramento. By no means are we the only ones. Sacramento deserves good bread. There’s a couple bakeries, like Niche Bread & Company and Majka Pizzeria & Bakery, that are opening in Midtown, and there’s also existing small, cottage bakeries, like Lizzy’s Bakehouse. What we do is focus on naturally leavened bread. We are trying to bring full grain bread, and locally sourced grains, and to be a part of this interesting story, this bread revolution in Sacramento of these artisanal bakeries. Sacramento is such a great place because we do have all these farmers and millers right in our backyard, which is an interesting challenge for the baker–to use wheat and products that are grown right here versus what is popular and trendy in baking culture right now. Instead, what is at my disposal? What is more sustainable? It may not be my favorite wheat, but it’s much better for harvesting, which is important as we’re always in droughts. So, yes, you have this chocolate chip cookie or this naturally leavened bread, but you could also do it with teff, or with this Patwin Flour that’s grown and milled by an amazing miller in Capay Valley; so all of a sudden you now have this loaf of bread that not only tastes good, and is also nutritional, but was also grown, milled, and baked all within a 45-minute radius, which I think is pretty cool and something that we’d like to offer to Sacramento. This is, I think, our greatest contribution to Sacramento, which is to find ways to share our love and passion for all things baking, [while also being sustainable].
For those who haven’t tried Faria before, what do they have to look forward to?
So right off the bat our staple was our bread, and now our pastries are on equal footing with the bread. When we started, we were just very focused on bread, and pastries kind of came along and now have also presented themselves as successful vehicles for alternative grains. There’s a lot more pressure and technical challenges to getting a loaf that’s nice and tall, that has volume, cause then you could make a sandwich with it. Whereas with cookies and other things it’s much easier to slip in alternative and whole grains cause you’re not depending on that structure. So, you’ll see our loaves of bread, ranging from baguettes, to country loaves, to a few different examples of whole grains, as well as some fun things with inclusions like olives, in addition to a full pastry line up.
After we get our bearings, we hope to also offer a sandwich program and then some happy hour stuff in the evening as well. All of those things will showcase whole grain, locally sourced stuff and, to be honest, things that we’re interested in too. I think there are times where we do get push back from the customers, like, “Uh… what is this? Why does this rye feel like it’s a 6 lb. brick?” And we’re like, “Trust us! Take it home and try it,” and they will come back and be like, “Oh my God, it’s amazing!” I feel like it’s a fun challenge, too. Understanding that yes, you do have these staples and things that everyone loves, but also forcing the things that we’re interested in, and people have been amazingly supportive in that category too. It’s a balance of both– incorporating things that people expect and just trying to be creative… and surprising people too.
And for those of us who already know and love your bread and other offerings, anything new we should anticipate/get excited about?
Well, as I mentioned, it actually all started with pizza. So when we were in college, I had this teeny little electric convection oven. We would get some dough from Trader Joe’s, some tin foil, and we would spread out our little Trader Joe’s dough, and a little sauce…and like, no one knew at the time; they’d be like, “Oh, this is so lovely.” And it just escalated from there. I became obsessed with making pizza dough, and that eventually led to bread, and then the whole world sprung open for me. So, I think one thing that maybe people don’t know or realize about me is my own background in pizza. So, in addition to sandwiches and happy hour, we plan to have a once-a-week pop up in our own bakery doing pizza. We would have a pizza of the day, from pan pizza to Neapolitan-style pizza.
I’m super excited about doing pizza because it’s something that is very hard to do as a cottage bakery or sell at farmers markets, but now we have a nice big beautiful oven in a bakery, so it’s much easier.
So we’ve talked about Faria’s amazing products: bread, pastries, etc., but tell us about your new space. Why Oak Park? What do you love about your space there and what should Sacramento know about it?
Oak Park was always a very easy answer it just wasn’t always a very easy solution. I live four blocks from the bakery, so being able to just walk to work, and that simple joy. And with a bakery, there’s a lot of interesting hours, so it lends itself right off the bat as being very efficient. But more importantly I think that, once I moved to Oak Park, there is a very strong sense of community here and I’ve developed that through our UC Davis Med Center Market and at Oak Park, in that you see the same faces in the neighborhood. And like, in the morning, you have people stop and say, “Oh hey, that’s the guy I buy bread from!” And I’m like, “Sorry I’m covered in dough, as usual.” But that is, honestly, the greatest part that we underestimated, which is just how awesome of a tight unit Oak Park is, specifically. You have all of all these other small businesses like KC Kombucha who also live a few blocks from their small business. You have Strapping; Susan, the owner, lives around the corner in the neighborhood, too. They’re all champions of all the other smaller businesses. They’re constantly reposting each other, advertising, and spreading the word, and that was just, sheer blind luck. I didn’t know that; I was just simply looking for something in my neighborhood, and I loved the community; what I didn’t know was what a huge supporting cast we were going to get from all the other local businesses. And it’s just cool to see all these other local businesses come online too. You have Fixins, you have Oak Park Brewery. All these things are starting to open up around us. And it’s fun, we’re all kind of coming up together. So yeah, I’m super excited about Oak Park and I think it’s becoming a nice little, fun destination for folks that don’t necessarily live here, too. You have all these different food things that maybe aren’t available in midtown, East Sac, or other places, and we’re happy to welcome everyone here.
Tell us about the design. How did local company WOOL Design Studio come up with the concept?
I met Emily and Kaila at a pop-up event. I think Kaila had a cheese danish in hand, and was like, “Oh, by the way…we’re designers.” And it was just one of those things where I was like, Oh, add it to my list. They were very patient, and when we eventually got around to meeting, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but they put together this incredible proposal, and every single feature I was like, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…” I’ve been very thrilled and fortunate to work with them. I’m very excited about how the space turned out. They were given, in terms of space to be creative and do their job, a very limited space. Most of the bakery is dedicated to baking; our front of the house is very small, and yet they were like, no, we’re ready to take on the challenge.
Having seen the progression of Faria Bakery in Sacramento, starting from the passion for baking in a home kitchen, to the beautiful bakery and kitchen in Oak Park today, we couldn’t be more excited to see how Faria continues to grow here in Sacramento. In addition to their full bread and pastry line up, Faria will also now offer a full coffee and espresso menu from Mast Coffee, which you won’t be able to miss as the gleaming espresso machine is one of the first things you see when you walk through their doors. And for those of you who had the opportunity to take one of their bread-making workshops last year, we’re excited to announce that they are officially back. For more information on Faria Bakery, including their new offerings, their grand opening, and all future workshops and events, follow along on their Instagram, and their website.
Stay connected with all things Sacramento and beyond.