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Petaluma’s former nickname was “the egg basket of the
world.” It was here in the late 1800’s that the first chicken
incubator was invented, enabling Petaluma to dominate chicken
and egg production throughout the first half of the twentieth
century.
Today, Petaluma’s rich tradition of food production
continues in places such as
Della Fattoria Bakery.
The name “Della Fattoria”
rolls of the tongue perfectly,
conjuring up images of the old
country in a time when things
were easier. Translated, the
name means “of the farm” and
that’s exactly what you get
when you deal with any aspect
of the Weber family business;
from their hands and hard
work, their toil into their soil,
from the harvest to production
– everything comes from their
land and their heart.
Walking into Della Fattoria
is similar in nature to strolling
into your favorite local bar.
You half expect a collective “Norm!” cheer sooner or later.
Everyone seems to know everyone else and the atmosphere is
full of warmth and indulgence. The aroma alone is enough to
get the heart racing; rich café mocha tries to overpower the
wafting sweetness of organic whipped cream. But, in the end,
both are summarily defeated by the distinct whiff of fresh,
wood fired, hand- shaped bread.
Indeed, the entire Della Fattoria experience is simple but
sublime. With a full range of artisan breads and pastries, the
bakery also offers a broad menu including oatmeal, salads and
numerous sandwiches. If anything, Della Fattoria is transcendent.
Similar to a European café, the atmosphere and legendary success
of the farm/bakery is directly attributed to the Weber’s sense of
farm, family and food.
P
etaluma, California is located along Highway 101 in
southern Sonoma County, about 40 miles north of
San Francisco.
Family farmers are being forced out of business at an
alarming rate. According to Farm Aid, every week 330 farmers
leave their land.
As a result, there are now nearly five million fewer farms in
the U.S. than there were in the 1930’s. With established family
farms shutting down, they are not being replaced by new farms
and young farmers. Very few young people become farmers
today, and half of all U.S. farmers are between the ages of 45 and
65, while only 6% of all farmers are under the age of 35.
Why are fami ly farms
important? In addition to
producing fresh, nutritious,
high-quality foods, small family
farms provide a wealth of
bene f i t s for the i r l oca l
communities and regions.
Perhaps most importantly,
f ami l y f armer s ser ve as
responsible stewards of the land.
Unlike industrial agriculture
operations, which can pollute
communities with chemical
pesticides and excess manure,
small family farmers live on or
near their farms and strive to
preserve the surrounding
env i ronment f or future
generations. Since these farmers
have a vested interest in their communities, they are more likely
to use sustainable farming techniques to protect natural resources
and human health.
The epicenter of the Della Fattoria experience is the 14 acre
farm where the Webers continue to grow gardens, raise livestock,
bake bread and host epicurean, farm fresh getaways. At their
core, they are a family “of the land” which in today’s society is
a rarity.
As expected, a family of farmers, bakers, and culinarians is
hard to pin down so our visit to Della Fattoria consisted of
running around with Elisa Weber, the cafe’s general manager,
her brother, Aaron, head baker, and parents and founders
Kathleen and Edmund Weber. Lots of fun, great people and
incredible food!
32 Pastry & Baking
North America
Bakery in Focus
Of The FarmBaking
Aaron Weber
By Campbell Ross Walker
Bread images by Ed Anderson