Ruth and Jeremy Heath’s motivation behind The People’s Bread was to produce a nourishing and nutrient rich sourdough for their growing family at the same time providing a sustaining, daily staple for the community.
The People’s Bread was launched at the Wanaka Farmers Market in 2013 as a home delivery service.
“We wanted to extend and progress the craft of bread making, which we had been creating for ourselves for a number of years, into a meaningful livelihood,” says Ruth. “ With a young family the home delivery service was a way to get our product direct to customers without compromising parenting and it also precluded setting up a retail space. Jeremy was a pharmacist at Wanaka Pharmacy at the time and left his job a few months after beginning the business. Nearly nine years later we still deliver to customers every week including the very first person who signed up.”
The signature loaves are 100 per cent whole grain sourdough made from freshly stoneground grains that they grind batch by batch. “We produce three core wholegrain loaves – the original, the rye and a multigrain. Another we make which is a favourite amongst customers is our brown rice, buckwheat and corn bread. “
“ Our loaves are simply grains, water and salt. We have direct relationships with Canterbury farmers who are either certified organic, biological, regenerative or spray free to source grain so we are supporting an agroecological and sustainable agricultural system in the South Island,” she says.
Ruth and Jeremy consider their emphasis on quality underlines the success of the company.
“There is no cheap white flour bulking up a loaf to make it look big and we are not willing to compromise the quality of our product, or people’s health and well-being just to make a dollar,” says Ruth. “We use the best quality grains we can buy, mill them batch by batch with the doughs undergoing long fermentation until they are just right. This requires a bespoke set up, that is not to the clock, as micro-organisms and nature run to their own schedule. Then the loaves are baked at the discretion of Jeremy who is our master baker.”
The People’s Bread has plans to extend into Queenstown where they currently courier sourdough loaves to customers and independent local retailers.
“ Our customers are discerning consumers who care about what they eat and who value an honest and quality product,” says Ruth. “They appreciate what we offer and are mindful of environmental impact in food production as we use minimal packaging, no plastic bags and are zero food waste.”