Title: “Traditional Methods Makes Better Bread”
Guest: John Gates of Nashoba Brook Bakery & Ermont Inc.
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (1s):
Well, Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs, everyone. My name again is Jeffrey Davis. I am the host of Radio Entrepreneurs and CEO and founder of MAGE, LLC management consulting firm to entrepreneurial organizations and leaders. A, you know, I’m pretty excited. I don’t know if it was a year or so, maybe more than a year, or if it must of been more than a year or so, because I also got to tour that I had John Gates on this show, CEO & Co-Founder of Nashoba Brook Bakery and CEO & license holder of Ermont Inc. But I have to tell you a, you know, as, as they went into COVID it, and I’m an eater and a shopper and a foodie by anyone’s definition grew up in the food business. I, you know, I was, it just caught like most of your looking at shortages shortages to many things that I had to stock up on some things.

Jeffrey (47s):
And as I went to my grocery stores that I frequent over the last year and a half, the one thing that always seemed to be everywhere was Nashoba Brooks, bakery products. So somebody was doing a good job. Stocking is supplying and, and doing a great job during this thing. And it’s great bread for those who are healthy. Anybody who does nutrition knows that if you’re going to eat bread, they make bread the right way. So Welcome back, John and a thank you. And I’ve got to hear how you were able to manage shortages and through, through this whole pandemic and really what’s going on in your business.

John (1m 24s):
Yeah. Thank you, Jeffrey. You know, the, the pandemic was essentially good to know. Shoba in many ways, it did reorient our business. We use to make a lot of pastry and we would deliver a pastry to cafes throughout the greater Boston area. And all of those cafes shut down for an extended period of time. And so our pastry business dried up and we, we essentially moved away from that. I’m not sure we’re going to go back into it. It, it, it brought us back to the core of what we do, which is we make real bread the way it’s been made for 6,000 years. And what that means it is all of the Lebanon. It happens in our breads with few exceptions on it, a couple of varieties, but all 11, when that happens in our bread is powered by wild yeast, the yeast, it grows in the air and your studio and in my house, the air outside, and, and pretty much everyone who is listening in their environment.

John (2m 16s):
And we captured that wildebeest 23 years ago, and the silver Brook bakery using a great model with grapes that we picked from the banks of a vintage Schober Brooke, literally, that’s a true story, right? Outside the facility and with the wild yeast that we ended up capturing. And that powers our dough. What that does for us is we make long fermented doughs. So with commercial Baker’s yeast, you mix the dough, it rises quickly. You throw it in the oven, it freezes the metabolic process, which means that in most cases, particularly when you’re using a lot of whole grains, you get an undetectable, whole grain and wheat balm and your belly and your, your body can’t process it with sourdough, which is what we’re talking about.

John (3m 0s):
That’s the way a bread has been made for 6,000 years, you get a long fermentation process and then a fermentation process breaks down in the gluten, in the flour. It reduces the fighting acid. It makes the nutrition in the wheat flour bioavailable to your body. So like you were intimating. If you talk to a nutritionist, one of the first things they’re going to tell you is cut useless, white carbs out of your diet when you tell them, well, I have the sourdough, a real sourdough bread bakery that I like. They were going to say, well, that’s actually really healthy, good food, because that fermented process creates a goodness. The healthiness in the food, it makes it easier to digest. It gives it more flavor and it makes it more nutritional.

John (3m 42s):
So quick story, quick facts, or I know I just spoke a lot and I’ll shut up in a second. I want to talk too much. So tell me to shut up if you need me to, well, I didn’t

Jeffrey (3m 50s):
Have a question for those people. If someone has the gluten-free allergy, is it possible that they would not be triggered if they had your sourdough bread?

John (3m 59s):
So I really appreciate you asking that one thing I’ve tried to be really careful about is people who are a have celiacs disease, which means you have a, an actual medical intolerance for gluten. I don’t want to recommend our bread to people with a, with that kind of intolerance. People who have gluten sensitivity have written to us written to me specifically, but to the bakery and said, I read about your slow rise process. And I tried your bread and I can eat bread again. I’m not getting the bloated tired, a headache, lethargic feeling that I got it, gastrointestinal distress that I got when I would eat gluten in the past when I eat the bread.

John (4m 42s):
Because again, this fermentation process over for us, you know, it’s a twenty-four hour process. When the time we make the, the sourdough starter ready the night before, and then we mix the dough and then it’s another 14 hours before it goes into the oven. That long fermentation time is basically breaking down the complex carbohydrate in the wheat flour and making it so your body can digest it

2 (5m 5s):
Well. Interesting.

John (5m 7s):
So the story is going to tell you is just real quick bread. It’s been made for 6,000 years. The process of bread. It tracks the process of civilization. It started and the Tigris Euphrates river valley in the middle east, when people cultivated week and started making bread, all of a history of making bread until the middle of the 20th century was wild yeast power. There wasn’t a such thing as a commercial bakery, Fleischmanns started selling commercial Baker’s yeast made in a factory to the us army to make quick bred and the message of tents after world war II to all the bread company is all over the world. Is Spain, Italy, Germany, France in the United States, all of the places where people eat a lot of bread, they said, wait, if I use commercial Baker’s yeast, I can make bread in two to three or four hours, as opposed to this, you know, old world way that takes 12, 14 hours.

John (5m 56s):
Well, you know, the signs started spinning well or whatever the currency was started spinning in their head. And they went, oh my God, I’ve got to switch to this other kind of yeast. And sourdough bread. Culture is all over the world, disappear. And there were a few great examples. If your listeners, or you want to look up Penn Paulin in Paris, fantastic bakery, amazing backstory. They kept their sourdough culture to show Brook bakery. We have that culture. We have a yeast and we’ve been growing and, and preserving for twenty-three years. It powers all of our breads and it makes this better version of bread that I was describing. It,

Jeffrey (6m 35s):
It, it almost makes me want to sort a dump the interview and to drive off to my local store and get some bread. It also makes me wonder about what I would have historically considered to be my healthy bread. But, you know, when I go out and buy a multi-grain or a whole wheat bread, if it’s using a commercial yeast, I’m still sort of existing sort of living in to a world is a healthy world than a non-healthy world, I guess, the, to a halfway house. That’s

John (7m 4s):
Great. So if you think about like people who sprout greens or, or you think about different kinds of fermentation light, that the whole ideas is this the most simple way to put it as its sort of unlocking those grains where otherwise you’ve probably heard stories of people who eat a lot of brand all the time, but your body can’t digest it in a form where its just raw a brand. It essentially just passes through you. Or if it doesn’t, it creates a big problem in your gut. But when you win you subject those grains, the fermentation you no like soaking them over night or allowing them to sprout before you consume them, it makes it possible for you to get all the nutrition and all the benefits of eating those grains.

2 (7m 46s):
Wow. You know,

Jeffrey (7m 49s):
This is in your only business and have a limited time, or do you want to speak at all about your other business through the pandemic? How it all, how it’s been doing?

John (7m 55s):
Sure. So Ermont is a medical only a cannabis facility. We we’re a vertically integrated company where we have a, a grow facility at our location in Quinsy. And we have a fantastic location for patients because we’re right off a furnace Brook Parkway on what is effectively America’s busiest highway over 240,000 cars a day pass within 500 yards of our facility. And as a medical only dispensary, I, my suspicion and I’m obviously not the only one who thinks this is the Charlie baker. It doesn’t really like cannabis. It doesn’t like the idea of cannabis being a business. And the state he was on record is being opposed to a adult use of cannabis.

John (8m 37s):
But the medical use of cannabis increasingly is viewed that you could just look at the, the state of things in the country. It’s viewed with a positive, a lens by most Americans. And we see real people getting benefit from cannabis. So in the pandemic, Charlie said, well, medical cannabis is essential. Adult used is not. So all of the adult use dispensary’s it got shut down during the height of the pandemic, right? Is his thing was well, people from out of state are coming in and they’re going into these places and they’re buying cannabis and there may be bringing disease in to the Massachusetts. So he is shut down the adult use dispensary because of that, the medical spit dispensary’s as a result, we got an influx of people.

John (9m 24s):
Everybody went out to their medical providers and they went and said, Hey, you know, I’ve been using this informally as a kind of health benefit, but now I need a medical card. So we saw our business increase it Ermont through the pandemic. And you know, a big thing that we tried to do Jeffrey is we try to take care of people. We feel like that’s what distinguishes our brand within that cannabis space is that we have people who take care of customers and patients. And when people come in, we try to give them knowledge about what can be a health benefit of using cannabis. That’s a, that’s a big distinguishing factor for us. Well,

Jeffrey (10m 1s):
You know, for our listeners, a nice assume everybody is listening. John Gates is an example of an entrepreneur who found his way through the pandemic, did better through the pandemic, despite government a maybe, and ambitions for other things and a is providing a, what I would consider to be a better product for our market and for our futures in the shoebox books. And I’ve tried the product many times. I’m a, I am a confirmed bread eater every morning. I told you my mother was a diabetic and she liked me to have complex carbs. And I’m addicted to what I would say is cards with peanut butter. It’s always been a favorite since my childhood. I love that’s one of my favorite energy foods and natural energy, a especially peanut butter.

Jeffrey (10m 45s):
But you know, John, if someone is looking for the Shoba or even a Ermont, how would they fined either of these products is again for me and to show a buzz everywhere. Now it’s like everywhere I go, I find, I feel like I’m faced with your face everywhere I go now.

John (11m 1s):
Sorry about that. I apologize. I’m so Ermont is a simple Ermont Inc. And Quincy, you can look us up on the web. A if you’re a medical patient, you know, come see us, we’ll take care of you. Where are we have a, we have a great range of product. We grow our own cannabis and we, we grow it really well and have an excellent menu and an excellent variety and to show a natural. Yeah, that’s right. And this show has a much more diffused a distribution. So it in basically all of the major, a grocery store outlets and the greater Boston area, or you’re gonna find us, they are obviously some exceptions, but certainly in all of the whole foods, M in all the Hannafords around the sort of a rim outside four or 95 in inside for ninety-five, you’ll find us in Crosby’s markets, Donalds markets, I’m in the fruit centers and hang them and Milton in a, all of the sort of larger farm stand grocery stores around the greater Boston area.

John (11m 59s):
You’re going to find the shopper, Brook bakery, M and a lot of gourmet stores. And in some of the restaurants where hopefully people are going to continue to be able to go out and eat. Even as this Delta variant comes back as a threat, you know, you’re gonna find our bred on the table and a lot of those places as well. Well,

Jeffrey (12m 16s):
And I think a true to your mission. If you’re eating the Shoba, you not only, you know, it, you can taste the difference, but you can feel the difference. And a that’s really the key to your positioning. John, we hope you come back sooner and we don’t wait a year and a half for you to come back to the radio show. We really appreciate what you’re doing and your products. And I want to thank you again.

John (12m 39s):
Thank you, Jeffrey. Really, always a pleasure to see you and let’s have another coffee and a chauffeur Brook bakery some time.

Jeffrey (12m 44s):
Well, that’s a quite an offer. I enjoyed it a lot and I enjoyed the tour. And so I will definitely take you up on that and remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs, and we will take a break. We’ll be right back after these short messages.

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