The Story of Rise Up!
When we first came to Oregon in 2007 we built a small, old-world style (Arab origin) cob oven with the help of our friend and local cob builder Coenrad Roghman. Jo started every Saturday morning by loading wood into the baking chamber and lighting the fire that would keep the oven hot for 10+ hours after the coals are removed. Then he began the invigorating process of mixing 80 pounds of dough by hand! We were testing and tinkering with recipes and “keeping our chops up” as my dad likes to say.
During the next couple years we devoted most of our time to designing and constructing the bakery. The bakery is part of a structure shared by the rest of the Full Bloom Community and includes a communal dining room, kitchen, library/lounge, office, and kids loft. It was built by our friend and local French-Canadian pole-framer John Difrusica, who also is known for his wilderness survival skills and funky bass playin’. Other local carpenters joined his team including: Matt Musselwhite, Autumn MacIvor, John Mehta, Matthew Garrity and Silus Murphy Ellis, all of whom we maintain close working and friendship relations to this day. We also sanded and stained a lot of the lodgepole pine ourselves. Rogue Valley Electric did an amazing job giving us power and David Kennedy plumbed the building brilliantly. Then Lydia Doleman brought in her talented strawbale team to build up the walls and Ashland’s Lomacatsi finished them off with multiple coats of lime plaster. Each loaf of bread we bake literally were born of a community endeavor.
During the process of constructing the bakery walls - the oven was built into the building. At almost 13 feet in diameter, and 7 feet tall, the Rise Up! oven has a mighty presence. Spanish made and built by two visiting Spaniards over 8 days in September of 2008. This wood-burning masterpiece uses about a cord a month to keep it between 350-550 degrees all the time. Our wood is harvested sustainably from local sources. The most amazing feature is that the stone hearth rotates “lazy-susan” style to make loading it with 90 to 150 loaves a breeze. We know it is well worth the investment, saving labor, wood, our air, and our backs.
By July of 2009, the recipes were ready, our wood-fired baking skills were honed and the oven and building were finished and ready to go thanks to the amazing work of so many skilled artisans in our local community, friends and family. To this day we are grateful to them all. We wouldn’t be where we are without them, nor would the bread.