Aaron Arabian, head baker for Trading Post Market and Bakery in Cloverdale, CA, has become a fan of his fans. After spending most of his career working behind the scenes at several San Francisco restaurants, Arabian now finds himself out front dealing directly with his bakery customers, and he enjoys it.
The bakery side of Trading Post Market and Bakery, which is owned by the Mercer Restaurant Group, opened March 15. A restaurant in the same space is under construction and expected to open by mid summer. For now, Arabian is focusing on producing high-quality artisan bread using from five to eight different types of dough a day.
His signature bread is the country loaf, which is made with naturally fermented dough prepared with 20% whole wheat flour. The bakery’s fruit and nut bread, also made with whole wheat dough and packed with dried fruits and nuts, has emerged as another customer favorite. “I can’t make enough of those loaves in a day,” Arabian said.
He plans to offer pastries because that’s his background, but is tweaking bread formulations based on customer feedback. “I trained in pastry, but fell in love with the bread side,” he said. “The schedule and orderedness of bread baking really filled me out.”
Once considered a solitary profession, bread baking has proven otherwise for Arabian. “The response from the community has been really great,” he said. “They make an effort to support local. They give feedback, but in the most respectful way. I never worked directly with customers before. Here I talk to customers on a daily basis. I’ve actually made a lot of friends.”
Considering customers friends and becoming part of their community is key to the success of Trading Post and any neighborhood bakery.