“They just can bring a forklift over if I don't order enough!” she says. “It's just wonderful to be able to say this flour is milled right next door.”
A self-taught baker inspired by naturally leavened breads, Rachael started her journey into baking when a slow winter back in her native Wisconsin left her with lots of time to experiment with yeast and flour. “I had already met Scott and Renee at the Breadfarm and become friends with them,” she remembers. “So I ended up bringing their starter and just getting really into it on my own. “I converted a pantry into a little heated room as a proof room and just did it over and over and over!”
Soon thereafter, she found herself in the Skagit Valley. “I loved the food here,” she says. “I loved the agriculture. The environment. It has everything.” At the Breadfarm, Rachael got a chance to hone her skills. “I worked there for ten years doing both the bread side, and then the last few years, I did all pastry and pastry prep, and really learned the ropes”
After a local school closed during COVID, Rachael started baking professionally in its empty kitchen and set out on her own. A few months later, a good friend, our very own Kevin Morse, told her about available space one driveway over, and Water Tank Bakery was born.
Thanks to that friendship, Rachael has been baking with our flour since our mill opened, and now it's the only grain she uses. “It just creates (bread that's) so much more moist and (has such a) good flavor profile. It makes everything taste better. And the shelf life of the bread is much higher because of all the oil that's maintained in the flour.”
For Rachael, baking fresh bread with flour made next door from grain grown just down the road is how food should be. “I want to be a piece within a food system that provides better nutritional quality products but is also part of the community and provides the opportunity for customers to actually eat what they see growing in the fields and have that connection with the land. I feel just incredibly blessed.”
As Rachael's closest neighbor, we do, too!