Why Reserve, From La Brea Bakery Brand Manager

Given our size in the baking industry, it shouldn’t shock anyone that we have someone dedicated exclusively to sourcing flour. We buy a lot of it every year and her job is to make sure that we get the best price for the right spec and that it comes on time. It is a massive job and relies on working with third party suppliers who source wheat from all over North America, blend it and then resell it on a commodity market.

In late July of last year, we were all tracking weather in Three Forks, Montana because we heard there could be a late hail storm headed that way that could wipe out the entire year’s crop! Seemingly out of nowhere, we were hugely invested in that place and its well-being and how it tied back to our foods.  Any other bakery wouldn’t care because flour is flour and they can get that same flour from any one of thousands of farms across North America that was blended into the commodity market. But suddenly, our crop was at risk and it could hurt our chances of making the breads that we wanted to make.

It’s something that gets lost in the conversation of food across this country. There are actual people that are growing these crops across the country and their livelihood, hard work and passion is at risk every single day. Imagine being a farmer with a few acres of grain and selling into the commodity model each year. The model doesn’t care if a hail storm wipes out your crop. It only slightly adjusts the supply side of the equation and keeps on moving. In truth, farmer gets blended out in that model.

The Reserve Line focuses on the idea of Farm First. Focus on the farmer and make sure that the equation is equitable for them and the back bone of America’s supply chain and community is looked after. In all honesty, it makes it harder for our procurement team to manage our supply chain and our team now have weather alerts setup for Montana. However, the benefits of knowing where our food comes from, who is growing it and the satisfaction of supporting a community of farmers makes it all worth it.

Some of the best innovations in the industry have come from breaking a model. Challenging the status quo. I could go on and on about the likes of Apple and Amazon, but I won’t. To me, we are just at the beginning. It is a great step forward to share these breads with you and tell you they were grown in Big Sky Country, Montana. Here’s to reinventing the model of how we think about bread and how we eat it. It is going to be exciting.