Well-known for his menu’s prominently featured artisanal bread selection, Executive Chef Erik Johnson’s authentic farm-to-table dining destination in Cloverdale, Trading Post Restaurant, has launched a bread subscription program.
Working in much the same way as a farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Bread Club members commit to their participation in advance, offered in monthly or 12-week auto-pay cycles (with the latter option being called the Baker’s Dozen, rewarding members with their 13th week free). This subscription structure enables Trading Post to source the best ingredients, hire skilled and creative bakers and, ultimately, provide a consistent offering of the highest quality bread to the community. Striving for zero waste, Trading Post aims to bake only what is needed, allowing subscribers to be guaranteed the freshest products.
When asked what precipitated the founding of Trading Post’s Bread Club, head chef Erik Johnson says it was “necessary, more or less.” Back in its earlier days, Trading Post operated a bakery daily, selling all kinds of loaves, jams, and honey to the good people of the Sonoma area. The venture soon proved to be financially unsustainable, in addition to leading to great amounts of bread waste each day.
“The bakery was well-received, but the financial side of it didn’t work,” Johnson explained. “We needed to find a way to reinstate the bakery.”
Enter: The Bread Club. By catering explicitly to customers’ exact orders, the Bread Club falls in line with Trading Posts ethos of minimum-to-low food waste. Immediately upon rollout, the club garnered dozens of members, causing a positive stir and creating demand for the restaurant’s baked goods in a way that makes much more sense than churning out loaves blindly each morning. Johnson explained that in more rural areas such as Cloverdale, the “city bakery concept” simply does not translate. In small towns, there are not as many people to thin out the product as there would be with, say, a bakery like Tartine or The Mill.
Working alongside founding Baker and Partner Aaron Arabian, bread is baked on Tuesdays and Fridays by Trading Post’s new Bread & Pastry chef Kacie Camilli, Cloverdale native and experienced baker at the iconic Healdsburg SHED. Bread Club members have three options for picking up their freshly baked goods: either at the Trading Post restaurant on Tuesday mornings between 9am-2pm, at Dahlia & Sage Community Market on Tuesday afternoons from 3pm-8pm, or at the Trading Post on Fridays, all day, 10am-9pm.
Keen on celebrating regional ingredients, Trading Post’s Bread Club menu includes baguettes ($4), country loaves ($6.50), sliced wheat pullman ($10), sliced rye pullman ($11), and fruit & nut bread ($16). With subscription services on the rise across the board, it makes sense for an environmentally-conscious, anti-waste business to adopt the model in order to suit their own needs. What’s more, the club fosters community and builds loyalty, prompting subscribers to invest in the service.
The Bread Club isn’t the only new venture on the horizon for Trading Post, however. An adjoining “Bread & Coffee” cafe is in the works for later this summer, which will offer an assortment of breads, savory pastries, and local Flying Goat coffee. The idea is to encourage customers to come in on a more regular basis, rather than just a nice dinner every now and again. The cafe will be a meeting spot, a watering hole. Essentially, a place to get your daily fix. There, the team also plans to capture new subscribers for the Bread Club by luring them in with featured breads and pastries. Based on the quality of Trading Post’s food, this shouldn’t be too difficult a task. For as well as the team knows bread, they know service, comfort, and the meaning of a high quality meal just as well.
The menu at Trading Post is simple yet profoundly impressive. From their salads to their pastas and meats, every starter, side, and entree is well-thought-out and flawlessly executed in the kitchen. If you’re having trouble deciding what to order, just order everything, and package up extras for the most glorious leftovers of your life.
// Trading Post is located at 102 S Cloverdale Blvd. Cloverdale, CA; thepostcloverdale.com. Photography by Isabella Welch.