cover story: bite by bite

Ethical & EDIBLE

Community Loaves’ good vibes, better food


One of the best parts of walking into Community Loaves is feeling the vibe: part Cambridge Square circa 1993, and part Prague circa 2004. Happy succulents line the window; the tables and chairs are mix-matched and the space is illuminated with lights shaded by antique star-pattern colanders. Proprietor and baker Meredith Corey-Disch’s ethos lines up with this
(re)useful yet decorative vibe.

Corey-Disch was not one of the original owners of Community Loaves; she joined Sarah Bogdanovitch in 2013 after returning from a post-graduation stint in England, working on farms and learning how to make wood-fired sourdough bread.

At the time, the business operated one day a week out of Sun-Ray Cinema’s kitchen.

“We knew we wanted to make sourdough bread and we knew we wanted to use ingredients that are local and organic … this business was very much trial-and-error,” Corey-Disch said with a laugh. “Now I am very confident about all of our baked goods.”

Later in 2013, after leaving the SRC kitchen, they moved into the current Murray Hill location. For Corey-Disch, baking is an outgrowth of her core values. “I became interested in wanting to start a business because I got a degree that sort of encompassed environmental studies. And I am not a scientist by nature and that was not the nature of my degree. It was more of a political studies and environmental studies degree. And the way that made sense to me–to implement my environmental ethics–was to try to make a business where you could realistically operate ethically–so, sourcing food was one clear way to do that.”

In the four years since leaving 5 Points, the bakery has grown to encompass a café–where once they sold bread over a small counter, they now offer sweet treats and lunch–and Corey-Disch has had to shift into the role of leader. So when she saw the James Beard Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program advertised, “I began to read about it, and it was one of those things where as you read, it hit every nail on the head … so I though ‘I might as well apply.’”

She got in, and departs in September for a week in Boston. Corey-Disch anticipates she’ll be talking about leadership positions for women, how to be a good boss, how to create jobs, how to balance family life and work and in-depth financial material.

“It’s so amazing to be able to sit down and get classes on this stuff,” she said.

When asked about some of the challenges she’s already overcome, Corey-Disch smiled and said, “I am really proud of our croissants right now; it took about a year and a half and they got really great this spring. A lot of this, too, is that we’re making artisanal baked goods and a lot of other things that are temperature-sensitive in a not-designed-for-it, hot space … so there are a lot of other challenges on top of the ‘oh shit, we’ve got to learn this challenge.’”

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