- Title: USA: New York bakery goes organic, from the building materials to the baked goods
- Date: 7th August 2006
- Summary: VARIOUS OF KITCHEN STAFF MEMBER WORKING WITH PASTRY CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS ON DISPLAY CRANBERRY SCONES ON DISPLAY
- Embargoed: 22nd August 2006 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Industry,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA79MCXD08KT7T3M93MZY9WHG7S
- Story Text: A bakery in the East Village of New York City is not only making organic products, but much of the store interior is made of recycled, biodegradable, natural materials.
The store's owner and chef, Maury Rubin, started his career in the pastry industry after a five-year stint producing a baseball show for a U.S. television network.
"It was doing this very intensive for five years, wanted to take a break, took a break in Paris, took a pastry course just for fun -- you can say a sweet tooth was in the middle of the whole transition -- took a pastry course, loved it, stayed in Paris and ended up being an apprentice for a year in some very good bakeries, came back, wanted to open a bakery," Rubin told Reuters.
The result of his dream was The City Bakery, opened in 1990, in which Rubin used organic flour and ingredients long before the green food movement became more mainstream in the U.S.A.
Then came his latest store venture, a bakery with no obvious name, but which has become known as the "Birdbath".
The floor is made from cork, the counter from bamboo and recycled denim, one of the walls comprises recycled wheat and sunflower seeds and the quaint till, which is circa 1936, was found in the basement of the building.
But does environmental responsibility mean economic disaster?
"I think it's economically viable. This little shop here, modest as it is, 240 square feet, it's the size of a very generous closet probably for most people. But this, this is a footprint for a little, successful business. In general I think there's a sort of knee-jerk, oh you're going to use sustainable, organic, that's too expensive. You can make it work, you really can. It just takes thinking through and planning, but it's available, I think it's available to work from the ingredients side and now from the building side," said Rubin.
Rubin is planning to fit solar panels on the roof of the building, which will provide about 20% of the store's energy needs. He believes that this is what businesses should look like in the near future.
"If I had my druthers, it would be a re-emergence of the family farm in America. This is really, everything that we do, City Bakery is very much, and now Birdbath, is very much based on the notion that industrial, corporate agriculture has, has replaced family farming in America and that is bad for people, animals and the planet."
The "Birdbath" is Rubin's contribution to his dream of an environmentally more sustainable, responsible society. It's also a sweet contribution to New Yorkers who enjoy the delicious muffins and cookies produced by the bakery.
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