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Community Café Culture

Voyageurs Sourdough • Green Bay

Ben Cadman and Celeste Parins, the owners of Voyageurs Sourdough, want to share their love of bread with the people of Green Bay. Parins, a Green Bay native, met the Netherlands-born Cadman while traveling across Asia. As the two bonded over their love of food, especially the different breads found in European bakeries, they wondered why many American cities no longer have bakeries. As a child, Cadman had watched his father, an executive chef, make sourdough bread from scratch. What if the two opened their own bakery in Parins’ hometown? 

According to Cadman and Parins, it’s really hard to find traditional sourdough bread because of the labor involved: a two-day process in which the dough is fermented using yeast and lactobacilli (a bacteria that converts sugars to lactic acid) and kneaded by hand multiple times before baking. Yet the two see the breadmaking process as a commitment to an ancient food that has brought people together for thousands of years.

According to Parins, the two source all their grains from local farms. “LedgeCrest Family Farm [in Greenleaf] grows ancient and heritage varietals—spelt, rye, durum wheat—and our regular bread consumers get a chance to taste that difference,” she says, pointing out how she provides tasting notes for what to look for in a loaf. “Part of our mission is to help people explore bread. We believe that people can find different flavors in different loaves, like wine.”

Today Voyageurs delivers loaves to 75 homes in the Green Bay area as well as fifteen restaurants, five retailers, and a number of farmers’ markets. Parins says their next big step is the Spring 2020 opening of a bricks-and-mortar bakery in the heart of the city, a place where people can find a little bit of that European café culture.

 “We know from experience that, of everything that goes into the food we consume, love and care are just as important as the ingredients,” says Parins.

[COVID-19 UPDATE: Voyageurs is current offering curbsite pickup and delivery options only.]

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Alex Paniagua is the editorial assistant for the Wisconsin Academy’s quarterly magazine Wisconsin People & Ideas. He joined the Wisconsin Academy in 2019 after graduating from UW-Milwaukee with his BA in English literature. When he’s not writing, much of his time is spent reading, painting, hiking, or playing guitar.

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