Salmon Bread and a Drive Through Farmer’s Market

“OHHHH……is that Salmon Bread?”

My analytical, literal brain spends several seconds contemplating what this question means……… Salmon bread? Bread with salmon? Lingering over the question and the long pause makes for an awkward moment….a common situation for me. “What ARE they talking about?” my brain asks.

Finally, I answer “yes”. Yes, this is yummy salmon bread just as it hits me; Salmon bread not salmon bread. As in Salmon, Idaho; Odd Fellows Bakery in Salmon, Idaho. It is fantastic and a highly sought commodity in my circle; particularly the 80 mile seed loaf. It’s so amazing; you’ll never be able to eat any other bread.

It’s great for sandwiches, toast, french toast or just ripped free-handed apart from the loaf and eaten plain in the car after picking it up resulting in your spouse freaking out that our bread has been attacked by a rodent. No….no; just me driving with my knees and ripping bread apart on the way home; no rodents involved.

It is a bit of a trek to drive to Salmon, Idaho for a loaf of bread, even if it is the best bread ever. No worries. My ‘drive through’ winter farmers market gets a delivery most weeks. Not every week, not even on a regular basis; this is the rural western United States after all; we have different priorities. Sometimes it snows and everyone goes skiing instead of making bread. Or sometimes all of your friends are going to spend a day floating the river; it’s easy to flip the sign to closed. I appreciate this business model and remain a loyal customer even when they are too busy enjoying life to make bread for a Hamilton delivery.

Did you say “winter drive through farmers market”? In Montana? Yes; it is amazing as well. Each Tuesday I receive an email from The O’Hara Commons that the market is open. You can order online from Sunday until early on Wednesday for a Thursday pick up. Lots of great items to chose from. Potatoes, beets, winter squash, kale, chard, carrots; kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha; herbal salves, local coffee beans, lentils, farrow, chickpeas, barley and homemade soups from Homestead Organics and sometimes a large selection of baked goods from Long Fellow Bakery. All local. This is also a wonderful business model that connects local businesses to customers during the long winter months when most of your business must depend on locals. I love it and highly recommended shopping there if you are living in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana.

O’Hara Commons Mission Statement: Utilizing and developing available resources to benefit community through education, resource sharing and demonstration gardens in a manner which builds local economy, promotes healthy food options and develops regional self-sufficiency

On Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 you drive through the driveway of O’Hara Commons where you check in, drop off your empty jars that you picked up in a previous order and pick up your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture; another genius business idea). Then drive around to the back side where a member volunteer brings you your order all boxed up and ready for pick up. Super simple. COVID friendly and actually it was COVID inspired. I love all of the COVID inspired businesses and work arounds that are now common place.

Sam is the inspiration of this business and the smiling friendly face that usually greats you dressed in her skirt, leggings, puffy jacket, stocking hat and muck boots as she directs traffic and calls into the house for your order. She is an inspiration and a woman full of goodness. I watched her stop in the Walgreens parking lot and unload a box of food to a mom sitting in her car with a handwritten sign asking for help.

This week I picked up bread, a gallon of squash soup, potatoes, onions, spinach, and a jar of Tim’s Tomato Sauce. My heart is happy to have all of these local goods in my fridge. Tea, did I mention tea. And I’m trying to get my daughter’s friend to sell her frozen dumplings there too. And chapstick. No need to shop nowhere else. You should just go to the website and place an order on Sunday.

No Salmon bread this week though. Now if you’re like my friend Carol (who gets mentioned in this blog more than anyone else), you have a pick up planned while the Salmon Bread driver is coming through on her way to the drive through farmer’s market. It’s like some kind of drug deal happening, Subaru hatchbacks raised on the side of highway 93, cars zooming past, bread and money exchanged and they both drive away after the deal.

In the summer months you can enjoy an actual Farmer’s Market every Wednesday afternoon on the lawn of the O’Hara Commons. You’ll find an ample supply of local produce and even a pizza cart and live music. And Salmon bread, the longest line at the market.

Now if you’re on a hike with me or cross country skiing and we stop for lunch, you can ask; “Is that Salmon bread with homemade hummus and kimchi and spinach from the O’Hara Commons drive through farmer’s market’? I’ll say; “why yes…… it is”.

Looking for a book to read while you enjoy that sandwich? I highly recommend “The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot” It is an emotional roller coaster and well worth the ride. Thank you Carol for the recommendation.

More great Montana adventures and book suggestions can be found at Wild About Books.

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