Slice of Life

Paul Versluis

Hot Stuff: The components for Deer Creek Hen House’s Llopis oven sailed from Barcelona to Kansas City in 1999. Following the two-month voyage, an Old World Spanish craftsman constructed it brick-by-brick. The oven began producing 24 varieties of golden, fragrant Farm To Market breads and rolls, with customers emptying shelves as quickly as they were replenished. Cranked up Monday through Sunday at 6 a.m. to 400 degrees, the massive oven bakes Kansas City’s favorite artisan bread throughout the morning. It cools down once a year, for yearly maintenance, when it’s dormant for a week.

John & Mark Friend hard at work at the Farm To Market oven in the Deer Creek Hen House.

Daily Bread: The Farm To Market-trained Hen House baking team, headed by Armen Bagiyants, produces more than 500 signature pieces such as sourdough, Italian rolls and crusty baguettes.

Dough Boys: Mark Friend is co-founder and president of award-winning Farm To Market; son John is vice president in charge of operations of the company’s 7,000 square-foot Waldo facility. Perfuming the neighborhood with the tantalizing smells of fresh-baked bread since 1993, Farm To Market has a reputation for its spectacular sourdough nationwide. Mark is regarded as one of the foremost experts in the science of the tangy, chewy bread. Father and son eat the stuff each day—sandwiches piled high with salamis and provolone slathered in mustard.

Community Spirit: Hen House Markets across Kansas City were early innovators in the locavore movement with the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” program. Farm To Market is a leader in using local ingredients for its European-style products. The two companies collaborated in 1999 to provide a unique experience to enable shoppers to grab fresh, hot loaves straight from the oven or sliced breads like the über-popular Grains Galore.

By the Numbers: In 2011, the 46 Farm To Market employees produced more than four million pieces of bread for restaurant, caterer and grocery store accounts. At the Deer Creek Hen House, bread lovers snap up sourdough, Grains Galore, baguettes and French rolls by the dozens.

Look for Farm To Market’s popular seasonal favorite, Irish Soda Bread, at the Deer Creek Hen House through March 17.

Categories: Food, Reviews