In 1953, only two years after the Abbey of the Genesee was established in Piffard, NY, the monks opened a bakery. Today, the monks see their bread as a form of connection with others, a way of bridging the gap between their intentional community and the local and even national communities. Although this is the only Monks’ Bread bakery, you can find the loaves being sold at several Wegman’s grocery store chains and local shops. The Monks’ Bread site even has options to ship the bread directly to its customers, across the United States.
In order to take advantage of the capitalist market that surrounds the monastery, the monks needed to make changes to the way the product was distributed. Whereas the monks drove to stores and delivered the product directly, the abbey has found it more efficient to use distributing companies in order to allow the business to expand and maintain the crucial sense of peace and quiet associated with the contemplative monastic lifestyle.
The monks found a way to engage with the wider environment through Monks’ Bread, engaging both in the capitalist economy which sustains the brand as well as using the business to employ local community members.
The Bread Making Process
Watch the videos below consecutively to observe the process of bread making in the Monks’ Bread industrial bakery.