At the bottom of the Old High Street of Falmouth, Cornwall, the staff at Stones Bakery are busy gathering steady praise for their established art of bread baking.
Lightly dusted in flour, its owner and in-house baker, Oli Kingdon and his wife Rosie, are assisted by their small team in this retro-styled ‘shop’. Offering a selection from the everyday farmhouse to specialty granary loaves, their breads come from ovens less than 10 feet away from where they’re shelved and displayed; hot and ready to be grabbed.
From 2009, Oli and Rosie’s business grew from weekly market sales at Falmouth and St Ives’ farmer’s market. After realising the impracticality of freshly baked produce being exposed to the Cornish elements on cold, wintery (or worst still, rainy) days, the couple found somewhere to really set up shop. Now, just five years in, Stones has what Oli refers to as a ‘core’ of followers.
As a bakery, it has been ticking the boxes for creating loaves that are guaranteed to be free from artificial flavourings, ‘improvers’ and are instead crafted to stay naturally fresh from core to crust by only adding the ‘good stuff.’ Nuts, both fresh and dried fruit, herbs and spices and a lengthy time to ferment are just a few tricks to their trade and is what makes their bread revive the belief of quality home baking.
With the shop door usually slightly ajar, Oli and his selected staff are always open to customer feedback and requests:
“We have input from customers and input from what we want to make as well so we try to meet somewhere in the middle.”
On a normal day, he explained how they replicate as many of the eight or so different styles of loaves they have on offer as they can.
“You need to get as many of that eight as possible… because we make everything fresh daily, you can’t really afford waste so we ended up cutting them down to a limited number for a batch. When it turns out that it [a trial loaf] is not worthwhile for the time it takes and the labour, it’s not worth it.”
They also stock freshly baked cakes, sticks, petite pastries and both sweet and savoury tarts made with just as much care as their specialty breads and their windows, usually stacked full of the daily goods. What is also a nice touch is their pride in showcasing their ingredients (i.e. half-opened bags of organic flour) and the apron-clad, hard working staff. It creates a unique package deal that appeals to not just the regulars, but the casual passersby and holidaymakers, too. Dash into Stones to grab a freshly baked loaf of your choice and bring to the counter. What you’ll have tucked away is a handcrafted work of art, still warm from the Kingdon’s ovens.
Words and Photographs by Kelsi Farrington
Published on Frais Magazine, July 2013