Becoming Certified: Four of Macrina Bakery’s Breads Are Officially Organic

PCC Whole Grain Baguette

For years we’ve been using more and more locally milled whole grain and whole wheat flours in our breads, all of which are organic. They just taste better. Until our recent collaboration with PCC Community Markets on our organic Whole Grain Baguette, we hadn’t considered going through the official certification process. Sharing PCC’s dedication to local organic farms, we decided it was time to make it official for our breads that already feature 100% organic ingredients: Whole Grain Baguette, Skagit Sourdough, Sour White, and Sour White Ficelle 

Organic Cairnspring Mills Flour

Becoming certified is no small feat. The USDA’s National Organic Program sets the standards. Foods that are certified organic are based on farming methods that don’t rely on toxic pesticides, and that maintain soil fertility and replenish it with only natural fertilizers. Independent third-party officials routinely inspect organic farms and processing facilities to ensure they are meeting all USDA organic standards. Not only is it good for the local ecosystem, but it often produces the best tasting food. 

Organic Cairnspring Mills Flour

We worked with Quality Assurance International (QAI) to obtain our certification. First, we had to ensure that every ingredient, from farm to supplier, is organic and handled in strict accordance with all USDA organic standards. We also had to be sure that all of our internal processes met the same USDA qualifications. There can be no risk of cross-contamination with non-organic ingredients, which meant designing an organic-only section of our bakery, a dedicated organic-only mixer, strict tracking procedures for all ingredients, and an exhaustive cleaning process for our ovens before baking our organic loaves.  

We received our official organic certification on December 26, 2018, it took about six months to make it official. Blake Gehringer, Macrina’s Food Safety General Manager, oversaw the intensive process. The application alone was 30 pages. Then a great deal of thought had to go into everything from color-coded storage containers to new baker’s couches and intensive training for all of our bakers. 

Skagit Sourdough

I’m proud of our decision to certify these breads as organic. Walking through the wheat fields at the Williams Hudson Bay Farm, one of the largest Certified Organic and Salmon-Safe farms in the region located near Walla Walla, it’s hard not to be humbled by their dedication to organic farming. It’s not the easiest way to do things, but it ensures a healthy and sustainably grown product and promotes soil and water conservation. We’re also fortunate that we have local mills, such as Cairnsprings Mill and Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, that can produce small-batch organic flours for us. And most of all, I’m excited our customers and partners are interested in quality artisan organic products.  

Leslie 

Lamb Meatball & Cabbage Soup

There’s just something about hot soup that satisfies the soul on those long dark evenings of winter and early spring. I often keep a stockpot simmering, making rich broth from leftover bones and vegetables. I use it for light and refreshing soups meant to tease the appetite, and some (like this one) that are nourishing, hearty meals all on their own.

Classic Italian wedding soup often features the “marriage” of meatballs with greens. My recipe takes this wholesome marriage to heart and gives a nod to St. Patrick’s Day by combining lamb and cabbage. The meatballs add richness to the flavorful broth, while the cabbage adds sweetness. There’s nothing better on a chilly evening than dipping a slice of buttered crusty Macrina bread into this lovely soup. No one will believe you spent less than an hour making it!

Ingredients

Serves 5

Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs

Soup and Assembly

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shallots, finely diced
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
4 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 Macrina loaf

Directions

Meatballs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add all the meatball ingredients to a medium bowl. Mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Scoop out 20 meatballs that are about 1-1/2″ and place them 2″ apart on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown in color and firm to the touch. Let cool while you prepare the soup.

Soup and Assembly

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. When the shallots are translucent in color, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3 minutes to sweat the cabbage. Add the chicken stock and cracked black pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add the meatballs and cook for another 10 minutes.

Divide meatballs (4 per bowl) and soup between the 5 bowls. Garnish with mint and serve with your favorite crusty Macrina loaf. Enjoy!