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Business: Songo della Terra
Columbus Farmer’s Market,
501 Brown St., downtown
For 20 years, Melissa Ammon, a stay-at-home mom, has dedicated her time to baking and living close to nature. She’s taught cooking and baking classes for more than 20 years, including on vegan and Mediterranean cuisine.
With the help of her seven children, who range in age from 11 to 22, Ammon bakes a variety of artisan breads for the Saturday morning Columbus Farmers Market. Incorporating a range of ingredients in her breads, from garlic cloves and almonds to olives, Ammon said they are a “simple way to add a graceful elegance to any meal.”
Talk about the process of creating your items, the time, supplies and skills involved.
Artisan bread baking is as much an art as a science. The basic ingredients are simple: flour, yeast, salt and water. The skill comes in not only knowing how to convert those simple ingredients into a nourishing and palatable bread, but then controlling the variables such as time, temperature and hydration to make those same four ingredients consistently yield all the variety we enjoy. Chewy, crusty, sweet and sour.
When do you begin baking?
It starts on Friday. We try to have the doughs culturing and souring overnight. Market prep starts between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Saturday mornings.
What are some of the staple items you offer shoppers?
Berries and cream bread is a European-style sweet bread that contains no sugar. There also are the Tuscan garlic loaf, country olive and roasted walnut breads.
What do you like about being a part of the market?
The interaction. Customers and other vendors become friends. It takes a town and makes it a village.
What’s been one of your most memorable experiences participating in the market?
One morning we had an unexpected torrential downpour. We gathered as many people under our tent as possible and stood around drying off, talking and munching bread together.
What types of conversations do you have with shoppers?
A little of everything. Food inspires memories. We hear reminiscences of everything from mom’s home cooking to travels abroad, expectations for the weekend to problems with getting children to eat.
Do you think people are becoming more interested in locally produced items?
Yes. I think the reasons are diverse. Health might top the list, knowledge of what you’re feeding your family, but I think there’s an element of community as well. Local food makes one feel more centered, part of the rhythms of the land you live on.
— Staff Reports
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