At My Table: Artisan Bread Goes From Passion to Career

Casey Hardi, bread baker at the iconic Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, one of northern California’s first wood-fired oven bakeries, has a passion for bread. A 2009 Davis High graduate, Casey attributes his love of bread-baking to people he learned from growing up in Davis, the garden program in its schools, his mother’s kitchen garden and a local baker and mentor.

Della Fattoria bakery, located in a rural red-and-white barn on the outskirts of Petaluma, was founded in 1995 by Edmund and Kathleen Weber. It pushes out more than 1,000 loaves of bread a day, sometimes 1,300, mostly for use in the downtown Petaluma Della Fattoria Café and local retail and wholesale accounts.

Casey works at every station in the bakery. When I caught up with him, he had his headlamp on and was putting loaves of bread into two side-by-side wood-fired brick ovens, about 20 feet deep and 10 feet across. He was doing the baker’s dance, weaving in and about fellow baker Eduardo Rojas, to avoid being burnt by the hot ovens as the two worked quickly to check each loaf lest they burn.

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