When my friend, Oscar Banta brought me a loaf of bread as a gift, it was in a bag marked Stinson Artisan Breads. Stupid me didn’t realize Oscar had baked the bread himself. I contacted the Stinsons bragging. They thanked me about praising what they thought was their marvelous focaccia. Then I figured it out. That brief encounter led to others.

The next time we chatted, it was at my house. A real conversation erupted. I got that sense of pride and excitement rarely evident in people. Those nasty topics like costs and profit didn’t come up till I dropped a reference or two. Their oven and baking were the big discussion points. Quality of product was top of mind for Matt and Anna Claire.

The official way of getting a loaf of bread was what I did. Place an order through Facebook and pick it up on Saturday. Wait too long and there would be nothing available. In less than two years, the Stinsons outgrew their home and their bigger oven – up to nine loaves now. They needed larger quarters.

Anna Claire, the real baker, said to me, “We have now taken up shop in the kitchen of Whistle Stop Bottle & Brew in downtown Opelika in order to give ourselves a bit more room to grow, and to begin to cement ourselves in the local food landscape.” From what I see, they are well on the way.

The Stinsons dropped in on me last week. Matt brought me four loaves from the first baking in the oven downtown. I felt so honored. The folks in my classes were also treated to a taste. We had some at lunch with fresh figs and butter.