An Upstate New York bakery is taking a big step toward a smaller carbon footprint. Bread Alone, a nearly 40-year-old bread maker in Hudson Valley, has spent four years renovating its Boiceville facility where the business was originally founded. That site will soon reopen in January as a 100 percent net zero energy operation, powered by ground- and roof-mounted solar panels.
The relaunched 8,000-square-foot facility will produce bread and pastries for all of Bread Alone's café locations—in Boiceville, Lake Katrine, Rhinebeck, and Woodstock—as well as 12 farmers markets across New York City.
"We all need to electrify our lives as much as possible and then produce from renewable resources all the electricity that we consume,” says Nels Leader, CEO of Bread Alone and son of the company's founder Daniel Leader. "The climate crisis is really ground zero of how we can be a responsible producer."
But it isn't only food businesses that can help the earth by considering the environmental impacts of the kitchen. Leader notes that even home bakers can take meaningful steps to generate a smaller carbon footprint—and join efforts to combat climate change.
"It can start with a really small gesture," says Leader—perhaps even something as simple as "converting, in your home, a gas appliance to an electric appliance, and then working with your utility to support renewable energy production."
Home bakers can also think from a perspective of sustainability when determining where to buy ingredients. Leader explains that Bread Alone works closely with transparent suppliers that use organic grains and prioritize freshness, such as Farmer Ground Flour, a mill in Western New York. "Their values align [with ours], and we hope that our purchases from them help support their growth," says Leader.
To mark the launch of its new-and-improved facility, Bread Alone plans to unveil an updated menu, including both newly developed recipes like a buckwheat Pullman bread, as well as updated classics like a 100 percent sourdough levain.