The Common Ground Fair in Unity, hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is just around the corner!   Under the direction of MGA Baking Education Director Dusty Dowse, the Maine Grain Alliance has been baking the bread to help feed the volunteers who make the fair happen for several years .  This year the talented Jeff Dec will instruct volunteers on how to set up a field kitchen with wood-fired ovens to produce the bread.   We begin setting up on Wednesday, September 20th before the fair and bake through mid-day on Saturday, September 23.  It is a remarkable experience!
Apply For Our Free Big Bake Workshop

This is an excellent opportunity to bake bread with the pros and learn about formulation, pre-ferments, mixing, shaping and baking. Participants will be producing breads originally formulated for the Fair.

 What to expect:
  • A totally immersive, hands-on workshop in a remarkable setting
  • Participants are considered Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association volunteers and receive free admission to the Fair all three days. You’ll be able to explore this celebration of rural living Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
  • A free Common Ground Country Fair T-shirt
  • Free camping is available on site.
  • All meals included (and organic!)
About the Common Ground Fair:
The Common Ground Country Fair is one of the most popular destinations in Maine each fall. Annually some 60,000 visitors enjoy the Fair. It is a celebration of rural living that promotes organically grown Maine produce, alternative lifestyles, and a common ground.
About MOFGA:
Oldest and largest state organic association in the U.S., helps farmers and gardeners grow organic food, protect the environment, promote stewardship, sustain rural communities and teach sound farming practices.

After noon on Saturday, all are free to enjoy the rest of the Fair, although help staffing the MGA booth for a shift or two is appreciated.  Pita baking continues at the booth until the Fair ends and that is a lot of fun.

If you are interested in being one of our bakers please submit a short note delineating your baking experience and reasons why you might like to be part of this event.  Dusty looks for a good mix of people for the team, ranging from serious home bakers to pros, but some baking experience is required.  The number is limited, so don’t delay.  Camping with bathroom facilities and showers is available on the fairgrounds.

Head Baker: Jeff Dec
Jeff baked with us our first year in 2013 and is hooked! A job mixing dough at Pearl Bakery in Portland, OR, sparked Jeff’s curiosity and passion for grains, leavening, and great bread. He views the current grain economy revival in Maine as an inspiring, necessary, and timely movement.
Jeff currently operates Brazen Baking, based in Waldoboro, using Maine grown whole grains in a variety of bread products. Jeff combines his baking background with experience as a director, instructor, and collaborator to facilitate this year’s BIG Bake! for the Fair volunteer kitchen.
Last year, under Jeff’s guidance, we broke records on volume and diversity of product.

Event Organizer: Dusty Dowse

Dusty is the Director of Grain Education for MGA and is a regular presenter on multiple topics at the Kneading Conference. He has been baking for nearly a half century and is a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. He is the Director of the Maine Artisan Bread Fair, Resident Baking Advisor and Director of Grain Education for MGA. He owns Lammastide Bakers in Cambridge, supplying wood-fired artisan loaves to stores. He is Professor Emeritus of Biology and of Mathematics at the University of Maine. He organized the first Big Bake in 2013 and was the head baker for its inauguration.