The Double Batch
On Tuesday and Thursday evening, groups of area residents stopped by Rev. Mike and Alecia Pretzer’s home at 114 4th St. SE to receive their weekly bread.
The Pretzers began a second three-month session of their community supported agriculture program, The Double Batch, earlier this month. On Tuesday they bake a different kind of bread for each week of the session and participants pick up the breads from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday or Thursday evenings.
Participants in the session agree to sign a contract and pay either $45 a month or $130 for the whole session and are provided a bread board and towel, which they must bring to each pickup and return at the end of the session. Pretzers reserve the right to contact participants should they not be able to bake on Tuesday or Thursday.
The Pretzers narrowed down their ideas for it, and formed a business plan while taking a FARRMS (Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resources Management and Sustainability) course. Prior to that, they were selling baked goods at the local Farmers’ Market. Being a bread CSA in an uninspected, non-commercial kitchen, what they produce cannot include meats, custards or similar items in the products.
Currently 18 people get their bread from the CSA. While the Pretzers have not ruled out expanding to accommodate more people, both Mike and Alecia prefer how it is set up currently.
“The way this is set up, we have a lot of control over it,” Mike Pretzer said.
Alecia added: “I can bake from home, and while the bread rises I can still do laundry, practice instruments, get a lot of other things done and I’m here when the kids (Madalyn, Matthew and Mya) get home from school. It fits our schedule well, and people seem to enjoy it.”
The name “The Double Batch” came from their daughter, RHS freshman Madalyn.
“We never make a single batch of anything,” Mike said.
But their bread baking in multiple batches started before joining the CSA?Program.
“Shortly after we moved to Rugby, I discovered I had a sensitivity to corn. I couldn’t buy bread in the grocery store if it had high fructose corn syrup in it,” Alecia said. “Mike found a recipe which could make six loaves at a time. We thought we’d try it for a while.” Eventually, she felt better, and the family had more than enough bread for themselves. They began selling at citywide rummage sales and farmers markets.
Both Mike and Alecia started baking at a young age, but Mike said the two of them together have a lot of fun baking.
After this session is concluded on April 30, another session won’t start until September. In the meantime, the Pretzers plan to continue Farmers’ Market sales. Also on the table is baking for a Relay for Life event in the spring.
The first session of Pretzers’ bread CSA was in September through November 2014. At the time there were 12 participants in the program.
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