Monthly Archives: September 2014

Breaking Bread with Shelby Kibler

2013-06-13 20.41.40It was just over a year ago when the opportunity arose to sit down and chat with Shelby Kibler, his wife, Julie, and their young son Esau. He hosted a lovely summer supper for us, and at that time, we discussed his vision for Field & Fire Bakery. This is a Throw-back Thursday post celebrating the bakery’s one year anniversary in the Grand Rapids, MI Downtown Market.

Kibler is a former manager, baker, and product developer at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, MI, working there for 12 years total. Originally from Stanton, MI, Shelby started out as an apprentice to a pastry chef in Sterling Heights, MI. He learned his bread baking craft at Grand Central Baking in Portland, OR and then during his two, six-year stints at Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Between those, Shelby worked in restaurants in San Francisco and Davis, CA.

The wood-fired oven bakery is different than any other that I know of in the area. We’ve been enjoying that difference all year! The list of products is not the difference: high quality artisan breads and sweet and savory pastries, such as Michigan blueberry or ham and cheese croissants.

But, Field and Fire is about healthy lifestyles. “The three of us live healthy lives, and I want to support others in that lifestyle,” said Kibler. “There will be very little sugar in the products with lots of whole grains.” There are both yeasted and sour dough breads; his real passion is sour dough.

“Getting the right ingredients takes time and commitment; my vision is to connect with farmers to grow the grains that I need to mill fresh daily,” said Kibler last year. “There will be as much organic and local ingredients as I can find, as I make connections to piece the puzzle together over the next couple of years.” He’s already made good on his word by purchasing Michigan-grown, organic grains in Ferris Organic Farm in Eaton Rapids.

So far they are pleased with the quality of their products and the warm reception they’ve received from the people of Grand Rapids. Their breads are made with mostly whole grains, mostly sourdough, and 100% organic grains, seeds, milk, and milled flour. “Our newest addition is our whole grain, sourdough, wood-fired Cinnamon Raisin Bun. No one else is making that,” said Julie Kibler, who does marketing for the bakery. “People love it. We love it!” Continuing, she said “We feel a little sad that the pizza didn’t work out, but you never know what the future holds”

As a baker, Shelby’s goal is to produce products with the best flavor and results while staying true to his food values. So, what did they serve us for dinner? A lovely chickpea stew, side of beets, his own home-brewed beer, and, of course, bread. He mentioned that the first bread served was three days old. I thought ‘who serves a food blogger old bread?’ Shelby Kibler does, because he knows it still tastes great. And, that was the point. The other bread was a fresh-baked 10-grain sourdough – also awesome.

Field & Fire bread is available beyond the bakery in the Downtown Market. The first outside company to champion them was Nourish Organic Market in Grand Rapids. After that, restaurants started to ask for it. Eat Field & Fire bread at these Grand Rapids Restaurants:

Nourish Organic Market
The Green Well
Donkey Taqueria
Bistro Bella Vita
The Winchester
Brewery Vivant
Derby Station
Osteria Rossa

Field & Fire Hours –
Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
Sunday 10am-7pm
Learn more on their Facebook page.

Listen here for my interview with Kibler about stone ground wheat.

Listen here for my interview with Kibler about sour dough bread.

Delicata Squash Fries

delicata squashMy quest to eat healthy food includes fries! Not the type you typically think of; I make them from delicata squash. I love this long, small, sweet-tasting squash cooked in many ways. Here’s my fry recipe.




1 medium delicata squash
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Ketchup or aioli for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 450 – 475 degrees.
2. Wash the squash well using a vegetable brush to remove soil.
3. Cut the ends off, and then cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and membrane.
4. Cut into about 3/8 inch slides, and place on a baking sheet.
5. Toss them with olive oil. Spread them around so they don’t touch each other.
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Then, flip them and bake for another 5 minutes – or until soft through and roasted as desired. I like mine to be starting to caramelize.
7. Sprinkle with salt and serve with ketchup or aioli.


delicata squash fries


Heidi’s Farm Stand and Bakery

Heidi's Farmstand and BakeryWhile traveling in the Lowell, MI area to visit Pink Arrow Microfarm, I came across Heidi’s Farmstand and Bakery. I’d seen advertisements for them here and there. I had to stop! They’re located near the I96 Lowell exit.

I went inside their small building and saw lots of Michigan. They have private label foods in jars, a bakery (doughnuts, breads, pies, and muffins), fruits, and vegetables. Curious, I inquired about the source of the produce – while ordering a maple blueberry doughnut.

The vegetables and flowers are grown on site, a young woman told me while pointing out the window. My eyes roamed as I took in the acreage. The fruit is locally grown but sourced at other farms. After my purchase, I walked around shooting a few photographs.

I learned from their website that Heidi’s is owned by three cousins who’s grandfather bought the farm in 1949. The goal stated is to bring fresh, home-grown, and local food to the community and to create an opportunity for the 3rd generation to stay on the farm.

Visit them when you’re in the area – or make a special trip to their corn maze this fall.

inside Heidi's Farmstand and Bakery

jarred products at Heidi's Farmstand and Bakery

donuts at Heidi's Farmstand and Bakery

Heidi's Farmstand and Bakery


My Favorite Cold Tomato Soup

This is my favorite cold tomato soup. It’s based on a recipe from the book Eat Raw Eat Well by Douglas McNish. To eat this soup with Michigan tomatoes in the winter takes a bit of summer planning. I freeze whole, cored tomatoes in the summer – when they’re at the height of flavor. Then, I thaw them and use them in the soup.

Red Pepper Tomato Bisque
makes four cups

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1.5 cups seeded red bell pepper
2 stalks chopped celery
1/4 cup soaked cashews (soak for at least 20 minutes, depending on your blender’s strength)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup filtered water (as needed for consistency; if you are using tomatoes you froze, there should be no need to add water)
3 Tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients in blender at high-speed until smooth and creamy. Can be refrigerated for up to three days.


tomato soup_ raw

Raw Tomato Soup Garnished with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fresh Basil



Pink Arrow Microfarm

I met Jane and Armand Aronson at a supper club, in Grand Rapids, where they told me about the microfarm they had recently started. It was February, and they invited me for a visit this summer. It turns out that we have a favorite book in common about eating for optimal health.

The farm is Pink Arrow Microfarm in Lowell, MI. Their tagline is Fighting Breast Cancer with Organically Grown Foods. Intrigued, I visited.

Pink arrow is a common theme in Lowell where the local football team, the Red Arrows, dons pink jerseys annually to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Pink Arrow Microfarm is located on the 25 acre Aronson homestead. Most of it is a hoop house installed last year to extend the growing season. They’ve lived on the land since 1978; the farm started after their retirement in 2013. They focus on growing foods with high nutritional value, such as kale, garlic, herbs, and tomatoes.

Starting as a family garden, Pink Arrow became a mission when a friend made contact looking for organic vegetables for another friend who had a stage four recurrence of breast cancer. She’s doing well now, and the farm was born.

“We’re partially about information and education and partially about vegetables,” said Armand. “The information is global, and the vegetables are local.”

Armand is continuing to experiment with different crops, including flax seeds. They sell their produce at the farm and at the Ada Farmers Market. The Ada market is open on Tuesdays 11:00 – 4:00.

pink arrow microfarm

pink arrow microfarm

peppers at Pink Arrow Microfarm

kale growing at Pink Arrow Microfarm