Fresh Ground, Jason Beyer
Prescott Farmers Market: Tell us about who you are and where you’re from. Have you always lived in Arizona?
Jason Beyer: I’m from the Chicago area, La Grange, Illinois. I’ve lived in Wisconsin and Nevada, and I’ve been in Arizona for about 10 years.
PFM: What do you sell at your booth?
JB: I sell bread and coffee…right now that’s about it. The bread is doing really well! I sell a little produce in the summertime. I plan to grow decorative Indian corn and maybe radishes.
The coffee beans I use are either roasted in Prescott Valley by Prescott Coffee Roasters or the beans are from [fellow PFM vendor] Manuel’s farm Cafe de Doña Ella. Both vendors have high standards, including fair trade-certified and organic. I’m grinding the coffee on the spot to make for market customers. Last Saturday, a customer brought a prototype of a coffee grinder powered by a solar-powered electric drill! I’d like to upgrade to something like that.
PFM: How long have you had your business?
JB: I started my business at the beginning of summer market. May 5, 2017 was my first day selling. I worked for Whipstone Farm, mainly at their market booth, for about 5 years before that. While not recognizable, I was in charge of all bread production for 2 years at Pangaea Bakery.
PFM: I’ve always meant to ask you about the name of your booth. Why “Fresh Ground”?
JB: The name of my business is a reference to freshly ground coffee beans, as well as the soil I plant my crops in. It also refers to the fresh ground rye and whole wheat used in my Yavapai Sourdough.
PFM: Tell us about how you get ready for the market.
JB: Baking the bread takes several days of preparation. Basically every day of the week, I am making bread. I’m always either feeding the starter, or making the bread itself. Sourdough bread is started several days before it’s baked. Right now I’m working with a small mixer, with the goal of getting a bigger mixer soon.
I load my truck the day before the market. On market day, I wake up at about 2:00 A.M. to bake bread all morning, using my 1 oven. I’m hoping to get a bigger oven space in the future.
PFM: How would you explain cultured sourdough to someone who doesn’t know about it?
JB: In my experience sourdough starter seems to create a better bread — it contributes more flavors, and gives the cultures more time to work on digesting the wheat gluten. It makes a good rustic bread. Sourdough starter is a living thing, filled with wild yeasts. You have to keep it alive and care for it daily, whereas commercial yeast is generally used for quicker breads, such as baguettes.
Note from PFM: More information on sourdough starter can be found at this external link.
PFM: What’s special about your business?
JB: My bread is baked the day of the market — it’s extremely fresh. It uses organic flours and a culture that is grown constantly. The flavor of my bread is great.
PFM: What are your plans for the future?
JB: I want to have more consistency and make more bread, to sell during the week and potentially expand to other markets I started a GoFundMe page to expand my home bakery. Right now the funds are headed towards a bigger mixer. My current mixer feels really small — it feels like it could break at any moment. In the future, I’d also buy another stone, as well as an additional inexpensive oven for my kitchen.
You can support Jason’s GoFundMe to expand his home bakery HERE.