Since its founding 15 years ago, Avalon International Breads has become one of the most important destinations in the Detroit foodie landscape, an oasis of yeasty and sweet aromas rising from a side-street storefront in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.
But from the very beginning, Avalon has always been about more than just bread. The company measures its success with a triple bottom line – “Earth, Community & Employees” --their motto, “Eat Well. Do Good” summarizes their mission of offering the highest quality foods while supporting the growing, cooking, production and eating of food that is good for our bodies and good for the planet.
At Avalon, that means using only 100 percent organic flour, baking fresh every day, and whenever possible, buying their ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. Avalon also pays employees a living wage, including health benefits, and generously supports local efforts to create a city that is “just, sustainable, and inclusive.”
So, it’s really no surprise that Avalon’s newest enterprise is a café at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
“Henry Ford is among the hospitals that are leading the way in providing healthier food options for their patients, employees, and visitors,” according to Kathryn Savoie, the Ecology Center’s Detroit community health director who is working on the Healthy Food in Health Care initiative.
"We are excited to welcome Avalon Bakery to our retail shops along Main Street at Henry Ford Hospital,” according to John Miller, director of culinary wellness at the Henry Ford Health System. “The response from our employees has been very positive. "Avalon's employees take pride in sustainability and community at its core, which is one of the many reasons we feel it's a good fit for us."
Business has been great since the café opened last month, according to Avalon co-founder and owner Ann Perrault. “It's a challenge for a small business like us to add another retail space and service it from our existing one on Willis, so we appreciate the patience in this learning process,” Perrault said. “It will be a treat to make available more products from Detroit as we grow, bake and create our own food and jobs in our city.”
And the frosting on the cake? The café is open to the public, increasing access to healthy food for residents in the surrounding community as well.
Here are two easy, seasonal recipes supplied by Avalon International Breads.
Shea’s Michigan Farm Bread Salad
(best made with all fresh, local ingredients, of course!)
‘Summer in the City’ Bruchetta
EcoLink — August 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center
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