Tabor Dough Boy in the Rye
Written by: Teddy Siker, rising Junior at Oregon Episcopal School
Vendor: Tabor Bread
My first day working at Tabor Bread’s booth at the Moreland Farmer’s Market was terrifying—especially the first hour. I had just met my vendor, Henry, who, at 20, was only a few years older than I am, and already people had swarmed the stand. Henry asked me to start organizing the muffins and scones to make them look presentable to passing customers. It took me countless retries because I was unsure of which pastry went where and what exactly presentable meant in this context. Looking back, I can imagine the stress Henry was feeling, worried a clueless sixteen-year-old would scare away customers because he was dumbstruck about what to do.
I stood in the corner for the first hour, watching Henry make bread transactions. He knew everything about each loaf: the ingredients, gluten percentages, parts of the grain used, and the seed quantity. It was like he had memorized an essay for each one. Finally, a slow period came to the Tabor booth, and it was time to leave the corner and practice.
An older woman with long, gray hair made her way to the booth. Henry stepped to the back. I gave a big smile and asked how I could help. The woman asked me about gluten in the bread, and thankfully, I was able to answer her: somehow my brain had taken in everything Henry had said for the past hour. Without thinking twice, I spewed the Tabor Bread marketing lines: “Have you heard about our milling practices?” I asked the woman. “We mill our flour on site, and while most companies use just the shaft of the grain, Tabor uses the entirety of it, giving you the nutrients to digest the gluten.” I further explained: “This has allowed people who are sensitive to gluten to get away with eating our bread!” The woman raised her eyebrows, looking somewhat impressed, and decided to buy the Caraway Rye for $9.50.
The next six hours went slowly. It was very hot and I was worried I would forget some crucial piece of information or mess up the change. I felt lucky to have been assigned to Henry since he wasn’t so intimidating and he was forgiving of my mistakes. Henry used the swimming method to train me: he threw the child (me), who couldn’t swim, into a pool (the front of the stand), and if the child wants to live (not get fired), he’s gonna have to learn how to swim (conduct transactions).
The temperature was cooler the second week, which seemed to draw more customers to the market. Since I was more trained, I could handle the increase in business. My shift went quickly because I wasn’t as nervous and there was less time to stand around and think. Henry introduced me to the customers, which made me realize he knew many of them by name. I could see they liked being remembered. It made their experience less like a routine grocery purchase and more like buying from a friend. Some of the customers from the first week said hello to me the second week as if we were already friends, including the older woman with the long gray hair, who came back and bought another Caraway Rye.
When I left for the day, Henry gave me a leftover Caraway Rye to take home. I dug into it while walking to the car, tearing the paper wrapper in the process like an animal. The warm, almost spongy inside of this bread is perfectly complimented by its hard browned crust. Caraway Rye is one of Tabor’s weekly specials, only available on Wednesdays, the day of the Moreland Farmer’s Market. It's made of 50% whole grain Rye, with hard red wheat, sifted wheat flour, caraway seeds, natural rye starter, natural wheat starter and sea salt.
As I learned from Henry, and then explained to our customers, Tabor breads use the whole shaft of the grain, which takes away some of the guilt and worry about eating bread. Of all the breads made by Tabor, the Caraway Rye is what I'd recommend, which means it's essential to get to the Moreland Farmer's Market on Wednesdays.