Eduardo Morell says he’s “bringing everything home.” The baker, who lives in Berkeley but currently makes his bread working two days a week with a wood-fired oven at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, is planning to open his own bakery just six blocks from his home in West Berkeley.
The move will give fans of Morell’s artisan loaves — currently available at Berkeley’s two farmers markets — the satisfaction of buying a truly ‘locavore’ product, while allowing Morrell a healthier lifestyle. He says he currently sleeps only two hours a night after his long baking days in Marin.
The bakery will be housed in Berkeley Kitchens, an emerging commercial kitchen space in an historic brick building on the corner of Carleton and Eighth streets and — all things going to plan — should be open at the beginning of October.
“I’ve been baking at the Headlands Institute for 11 years,” he said, “and it’s been great, but I have been thinking for the past five years that I need to move closer to home. I knew at some point the odd hours of baking and driving were going to wear me down and were not sustainable for me and my family.”
The move also gives Morell the opportunity to expand his business. With a larger oven, and the help of one employee, he will be able to explore supplying his loaves to the restaurants and CSAs who have expressed an interest in the past. (Morell’s breads are currently served at Bar Agricole in San Francisco.)
But he wants to keep the bakery at a manageable scale. “I would like to keep my business focused on the East Bay,” he said. “I want it to be sustainable and at a level I’m comfortable with.”
To see his plans come to fruition, Morell needs to raise $10,000 for equipment, including a walk-in refrigerator and a bread bench for the 975 sq ft Berkeley Kitchens space, and he has launched the requisite Kickstarter campaign, which ends on August 12.
Morell’s wife, Tamsen Fynn, who is collaborating with him on the new bakery venture, is a Kickstarter veteran. Her band, Orange Sherbet, released a CD last year titled Delicious, largely supported by the crowd-funding site. The album celebrates the joys of seasonal growing, eating, and cooking in the community. Flynn also wrote a song about baking naturally leavened bread. “Eduardo’s bread is most definitely one of the reasons I married him. It is the best bread I have ever eaten,” she writes on the site.
Berkeley Kitchens is being developed by Jonah Hendrickson who previously helped transform a West Oakland building into studio spaces for artists. A sculptor by profession, the Berkeley native has been working on the project for a couple of years. Now, several tenants are set to move in to the old Nexus Gallery building. Morell says he’s already heard of a wedding cake maker, a couple of caterers and a bagel baker.
Morell won’t have a shop at the space, but zoning codes allow him to sell “incidental retail” to passers-by. He hopes that within a year he will be able to operate a full-blown store.
The baker says he’s looking forward to leading a truly local life. “I want my daughter to be able to hang out at the bakery if she wants to,” he said. “I love this community,” he adds. “People are more real, more down-to-earth.”
Baker’s dozen: To Berkeley from a brick oven in Marin (11.18.11)
Fournée bakery opens in Berkeley… finally (06.04.13)
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