'Not by bread alone!' Avalon opens shop in Henry Ford Hospital

Offering healthier food options for patients, employees, visitors

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.

eat well signBut 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.

bread loaf"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!)


  • 4–5 slices farm bread (2–3 day-old bread works really well!)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t garlic salt
  • 1T of dried parsley or 2–3 T of fresh parsley
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  • (or larger tomatoes, cut in 1” chunks)
  • 8 small fresh mozzarella balls, sliced in 4


  • Liberally drizzle olive oil on bread cubes.
  • Sprinkle with garlic salt and parsley.
  • Stir until well-combined.Cover bowl for 40–60 minutes, stirring occasionally until well-coated.
  • Add tomatoes and cheese and stir again.
  • Serve and watch the smiles appear


‘Summer in the City’ Bruchetta


  • 1 loaf of Avalon Ciabatta Bread (fresh or day old!)
  • 1 pint of local cherry tomatoes, cut in half or
  • 4–5 fresh garden tomatoes, rough cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces or cut into chiffonade (little, narrow strips)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 C good quality olive oil
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cut in 1/4-inch pieces
  • Generous pinch of sea salt (1/8 teaspoon?)
  • Season to taste with pepper if desired.


  • Combine tomatoes, olive oil, basil, mozzarella, sea salt, garlic.
  • Let flavors mingle for 30 minutes or so.
  • Cut Ciabatta in half horizontally, then cut in half vertically, so there are 4 equal-sized pieces. Roast on open flame barbeque or broil until crusty but not burnt.
  • Rub fresh garlic on open-side of ciabatta.
  • Cut each half in 4–5 pieces, horizontally (they should be about 4 inches long and 1–2 inches wide).
  • Pour tomato/oil mixture over grilled ciabatta, coating well.
  • Let set for at least 15 minutes.
  • Serve on a platter or in a wide pasta bowl for appetizer or with grilled meats/fish or fresh grilled vegetables from the garden.
  • Serves 8.

EcoLink — August 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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