If you enjoy good bread, South Walton has a new bread company for you.
Every Thursday between 3 and 6 p.m. a pop-up bread market appears at 54 Logan Lane in Grayton Beach and the one-table operation is drawing quite a crowd.
Black Bear Bread Co. is the brain-child of Chef Phil McDonald and Dave Rauschkolb, named for the black bears that frequent the area behind the kitchen.
"I lived in New York City for a year and got used to having good bread. I wanted good bread here and couldn't find any, so, I decided to bake my own and sell it," said McDonald.
Bringing good bread to South Walton became a reality with the help of Dave Rauschkolb, the managing partner for Black Bear Bread, and Debbie Swenerton, the head baker.
So far, news of the Thursday pop-up market has spread simply by word of mouth and social media.
Jeff Cowen of Birmingham simply walked out of the gym across the street and wondered what the commotion was about and strolled over, becoming one of McDonald's customers.
"I had never seen it so crowded over here," he said.
Large decorative loaves of sourdough bread are piled high. There are also cookies, sandwiches, baguettes, tartines, large cinnamon rolls, challah, and something called kouign-amann, which McDonald advises to eat while sipping the morning coffee.
All are naturally leavened, made from starter instead of commercial yeast.
"The sourdough takes three days to make," he said.
This Thursday pop-up market is just a teaser, though, as McDonald has bigger plans for Black Bear Bread Co.
When not baking, he is busy overseeing the remodel of a building next door that will become Black Bear's home. When he moves into it in August, Black Bear Bread and more will be available daily, along with Portland-based Stumptown coffee. Plans are to offer a limited seasonal menu.
"We want it to be something the local community can gather around," said McDonald of his vision for Black Bear.