Grains of Truth
From Seed to Store
From Seed to Store
The rough landscape of a crackle-crusted French sourdough boule in a “Foods of the World” cookbook fueled Bronx-native Nick Greco’s longstanding obsession with rustic European breads. “I just had to know how to make that,” he says. “Those were the breads we grew up with. Traditional, ceremonial breads like challah and St. Joseph bread.”
Health Fact: Enjoying whole grains, like those in our sourdough loaves, can help reduce heart disease risk by 25-40%.
Nick worked for low (or no) wages to learn the secrets of making those breads, including a stint at a Dutch bakery when he was 18. “Those old-school bakers wouldn’t let me bake. So, I glued my mom’s makeup mirror over the sink and watched them work while I washed pans. What I learned was the basis for our miche recipe.”
Nick Greco, our artisan baker, is passionate about creating authentic, deeply flavorful European-style breads.
His baking passion took him to various NYC-area restaurants and bakeries, his own bakery, and finally teaching baking at Hyde Park’s prestigious Culinary Institute of America. And that’s where Wegmans enters the story. In 2003, Bakery VP Karen McCoy, scouting for new talent, took Nick’s course. “The way he talked about ingredients and simplicity—bread became beautiful to me because he helped me see its beauty. We knew he could make our dream bread: a local-ingredient sourdough.”
Heritage grains are sourced and planted at our Wegmans Organic Farm
We share our best practices with partner farmers to scale up growing
Fresh grains are harvested and custom milled
Rustic loaves are baked by our Artisan bakers
Today, Nick’s baking begins out in the field. He sources heritage and ancient grains that provide the best flavor; they’re planted at Wegmans Organic Orchard for seed, then shared with partner farms for growing on a larger scale.
“We don’t just use a bag of flour,” says Nick.
“Our loaves literally start out in the field. We’re testing seeds at the Wegmans Organic Orchard to use 5 years from now. There are ingredients you won’t find on the label. Where does the sun fit on the label? The soil? The farmer? Baking bread takes 12 steps; I’m adding a 13th—plant the wheat.”
Nick recalls his early career as he preps loaves for his own backyard brick oven or the Wegmans Bakeshop. “There was no talking, no radio playing in that old Dutch bakery. You just hear the scraping of the wood; the ruffling of the couche as you shake out the flour; the mixer running. That was the only music. My dad was the same way. He didn’t talk much when he taught me to bake; I just remember his hands guiding mine. He taught me to enjoy the whole process, not to rush it. He used to say, “If you don’t love it, you’ll taste that.”