Great Harvest prides itself in using quality, wholesome ingredients
“By being a positive catalyst for growth in the lives of our staff and continuing a rare food tradition, we are changing the world for good” ~ Pablo Teodoro
Warrenton residents may know Pablo Teodoro as a person who has dedicated countless volunteer hours to assist and support the local community. But, Pablo is also the owner of Great Harvest Bread Company, located on Main Street. His journey to this business led him down a path that truly focuses on quality ingredients and on the people he serves and works with.
From a young age of 18, Pablo found himself fascinated by all things related to business. Initially he worked for a car dealership, but after 22 years in this profession Pablo knew he wanted something different which was his own; something important.
“I knew I wanted to open my own business,” shared Pablo. “I wanted to own a place that was fun, fit my values, and required creativity.” While he was between careers, Pablo dabbled in sustainable farming and even became involved in sustainable farming advocacy efforts in Virginia. He also realized the community needed a place to sell produce. As a farmer he helped create a very successful farmers market.
Around that time Pablo learned about Great Harvest Bread Company and researched all aspects of ownership. He discovered they offered a whole grain concept which appealed to his inner farmer. Pablo shared, “I had a personal values list that was important to me and Great Harvest’s list mirrored mine: freedom, family, individuality, health, and I was excited that there was a focus on beneficial whole grains – a high food value.”
Since Great Harvest opened its doors on tax day in 2010, Pablo and crew focus on producing the best possible baked goods, using only quality ingredients. “The big-name bakeries and all grocery store bakeries buy their products frozen and par-bake them, or make them from a box. But not here at Great Harvest,” he shared. “We choose a time-tested, old-fashioned, slow-food, from scratch method that yields real flavor without including unpronounceable ingredients.”
Ingredients are the most crucial component for everything baked onsite. “We use the most simple, raw ingredients we can find. We buy non GMO (genetically modified organism) soy -free eggs from Whiffletree Farm, where chickens are pasture raised utilizing organic practices. This type of environment really has a positive impact on the quality of the eggs,” shared Pablo. Although the cost of these eggs is higher than other eggs he could purchase, the outcome of the product is worth it him: “The eggs are the invisible and important part. The decision to use these wholesome ingredients is a decision we made because I want to feed people healthy food.”
Another essential ingredient is the milk: ”I decided to buy milk from Trickling Springs Creamery as all their milk comes from grass fed cows.” This is a rare find in the milk industry according to Pablo. He also shared that the milk from Trickling Springs is flash pasteurized – minimally pasteurized. The creamery also bottles milk with no additives. Pablo noted, “I support businesses that I know are doing great things for our world. This milk is a better ingredient for our customers and employees to consume.”
Another crucial ingredient Pablo obtains locally and sustainably is butter. “We get it from Main Street Farmstead in Stuarts Draft, VA. Virginia butter from Virginia cows,” he said. “We pay a little more, but we support another farmer and keep the money in the state. And of course the butter tastes amazing!”
The biggest ingredient, wheat, is chosen with great care and just for Great Harvest. “We deal with family farms in Montana which are located in the ‘Golden Triangle’ where the best wheat is grown. Each lot of wheat is independently tested so we know it is non GMO and pesticide free,” Pablo described.
“All the flour is milled by us – here in our store. We have a granite stone mill in the bakery. Because we make our own flour the flavor really stands out; the freshness is synonymous with nutrition,” he explained. “The flour still has active enzymes and phytonutrients and offers nutrition and flavor you cannot get from pre-packaged store bought bread.” The way Great Harvest processes the flour enables some people with gluten intolerances to enjoy this bread without discomfort because of the methodology used.
Pablo expressed, “This is bread the way it ought to be – the way it used to be. We are doing something in the bakery that is fundamental to humans; an ancient process that is intrinsically valuable.” He also shared, “We are creating food experiences here that are difficult to find elsewhere – it is authentic, it is real.”
Sarah Kamphuis, an employee at Great Harvest said, “I love working at the bakery because we mill our own wheat and bake bread without chemicals or preservatives. Just wheat, yeast, water, and other natural ingredients.” She also said, “The most popular bread is our Dakota bread with pumpkin seeds, millet, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Customers really love the simplicity of ingredients in a world of packaged and processed food where reading the ingredient labels on other breads is shocking and scary.”
Great Harvest also uses a delectable ingredient – honey. This is used in making all the breads Pablo and his crew bake each day. Honey is also the most expensive ingredient used but is a healthier choice. “We use 25 pounds of honey per day,” he explained.
Putting people first is a priority for Pablo and everyone working at the bakery. And to serve as a daily reminder to himself and his crew, Pablo posted the values and mission statement on the wall. Over the years, Pablo has received notes from previous crew members letting him know about their lives. “Many of them share how they would not be who they are today if it were not for the start they had at Great Harvest,” he shared. “This is an amazing thing and I want all my staff to know they have the strength and permission to go out and do fantastic things in life.”
“For myself, I want to be challenged and proud of what I do. I want to be seen as a positive influencer within the community, and to feel pride in the way I feel connected to everyone who comes in,” described Pablo. “I know my food is enjoyed by people that I know and care about. I also want my employees and customers to feel that pride.”
Great Harvest Bread is located at 108 Main Street in Warrenton. For more information visit their website (warrentonbread.com) or call 540-878-5200.