Montrose Press article by Frank Witowski, June 28, 2023
Chris Sullivan and Dana Whitcomb received a matching grant from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which helps them invest in the milling side of the thriving business, Mountain Oven Organic Bakery. “(We’re) working to increase resiliency (in) the local and regional food economy in contract with them.”
Sullivan added that the matching grant will also help them as they invest money to eventually purchase a silo so they don’t have to move grain by five-gallon buckets.
Sullivan opened the bakery in Crested Butte in 2010. “It definitely was intense,” Sullivan admitted, and he was definitely at the point of burnout when he relocated the business to Paonia in 2018.
Sullivan said one of the reasons for the change of scenery to Paonia was to be near the individuals they were doing business with for the bakery. “The big link was flour and grain for the bakery,” Sullivan said, which he said was being provided through North Fork Valley farmers.
Their current model is to open up as a pop-up bakery Fridays from 8-11 a.m. with all the bread, a wide variety of pastries, seasonal specials and specialty items such as quiche.
The rest of the week, they have self-service hours with racks of bread, fresh mill flour and a small case of pastries for on-site purchase. Sullivan said they stock the self-service especially well on Monday mornings and after their Friday sales event, adding that a lot of locals buy self-serve on the weekend and on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Sullivan and Whitcomb have a lot of product going to wholesale markets in the Gunnison Valley and North Fork Valley. Specifically, in the North Fork area, they sell to Don’s Market, Indigo Autumn, Espresso Paeonia, Hotchkiss Farmer Station and 246 Coffee. Additionally, Black Cat Pizza uses and purchases their flour for its pizza dough.