by Ashley Lodato
Bluebird Grain Farms staff writer
Some 1960s-era newlyweds took up golf together or joined bridge circles, but for Gail (some call him Pete) and Judy Prichard the mutual hobby was baking bread. “When Gail and I got married we just started baking bread,” says Judy. “We were baking long before we had kids.”
Judy explains that baking bread using organic ingredients sourced as locally as possible was part of the ethic she and Gail shared early on in their marriage. “We planted a garden and grew as much food as we could,” she says. “It was all part of our intention to eat as well as we could.”
Although Judy grew up with a mother who baked bread regularly, Judy didn’t really learn to bake until college. “In my early college years, both of my parents were very ill. I had to cook for them one summer. My mother kind of walked me through it.” Taking up bread baking with her new husband, then, was a perfectly logical next step. “Now it feels like something I’ve always done,” Judy says.
Through her middle child, Susan, who lives in the Methow Valley where Bluebird Grain Farms is located, Judy learned about Bluebird Grain Farms. “It was so wonderful to learn about their family farm and to be able to buy grains from a family that is doing a really good thing,” says Judy of Brooke and Sam Lucy. “We just really wanted to support them in what they do.”
These days, Judy mainly bakes whole wheat bread for hers and Gail’s consumption. “Unless it’s Christmas or the grandkids are coming,” she says. “I don’t bake a lot with just 2 of us now, but when I do bake I always use Bluebird Grain Farms products.” For her signature whole wheat bread, Judy uses Bluebird’s Methow Hard Red Wheat flour. For pie crusts, biscuits, muffins, scones, buttermilk hotcakes, and banana bread, Judy likes the Pasayten Hard White Wheat flour, although she is quick to acknowledge that the Organic Emmer Farro flour and Organic Einkorn flour add a nutty flavor and chewy texture to quick bread like banana bread. “We really like the Einka flour,” she says.
Judy notes that she and Gail routinely substitute Organic Whole Grain Emmer Farro for rice, finding it a far more nutritious carbohydrate than rice, as well as one with a hearty flavor and robust texture.
Judy and Gail’s home on Whidbey Island is not all that far from the Methow Valley as the crow flies, and although delivery service is available, Judy tends to rely on her daughter Susan’s frequent work trips to the west side of the state to keep her supplied in Bluebird Grains. Of the flours, whole grains, and cereals Judy says, “It’s probably the most local product that I know about.”
Click here for Judy’s whole wheat bread recipe.