Great Harvest Bread Co. reopens in Farm Shopping Center with new owners
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, October 25, 2012
10/25/12 at 3:58 AM
When Joel Roark attended a family reunion in Neenah, Wis., in 2001, he ran across his first Great Harvest Bread Co. store.
"He called me and said he had found what he wanted to do when his engineering career was over," said his wife, Terri. "He wanted to own a bakery."
Soon after, the Roarks and their three children moved to Stillwater, where Joel helped start a science and technology company. A few years ago they learned there was a Great Harvest store in the Farm Shopping Center in Tulsa.
"For my birthday one year, Terri brought me over to Great Harvest as a treat, and we met the Diamonds (Donna and Greg), who owned the store," Joel said. "They were very friendly and told us all about baking and running a Great Harvest store."
The Roarks said the last time they made a Tulsa visit they were surprised to find the Diamonds had sold the store and it subsequently closed. With their children grown, they thought it was time to make a move.
"We talked to the people at the Farm about putting in our own family bakery," Terri said. "They said they would look at our plan if we would consider opening a Great Harvest instead. When we looked at it, it made sense for us."
"I have a passion for baking, and Terri has a passion for nutrition, and that fits Great Harvest perfectly," Joel added.
Joel mills whole wheat in a Danish Skiold stone mill every day. Most of the breads start with honey whole wheat prepared with five ingredients - wheat flour, salt, water, yeast and honey.
When we were there, the available breads were honey whole wheat, cinnamon chip, Oregon herb, Dakota (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, millet, sesame seeds), nine-grain, apple crunch, Popeye and oat flax pecan, ranging from $5.75 to $7.95 a loaf.
The staff slices samples of freshly baked bread for customers to taste when they enter. The honey whole wheat and the bread special of the day, Popeye (spinach, red pepper and Parmesan cheese), spread with creamy butter were particularly tasty.
"The loaves of bread are pretty hefty," Joel said. "When they come out of the oven, they are about 2 pounds, 2 ounces. There are no preservatives, and they will stay fresh at room temperature for seven to 10 days."
He said it is not recommended to put the bread in the refrigerator or microwave, but it will freeze well when double bagged.
I grabbed a loaf of honey whole wheat in the morning on the way downtown, and my car had a wonderful yeasty, fresh-bread smell all day as I made a round of interviews.
Flavors of the pastry items may change daily. That day the choices included pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and Savannah bars with a blackberry-raspberry topping. The fruits for Savannah bars vary.
The Roarks said Tulsa's Nordaggio's coffee company is developing a proprietary blend for Great Harvest. They also plan to serve sandwiches in the future.
Joel said orders may be placed for dinner rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the store will have holiday gift baskets for sale.
GREAT HARVEST BREAD CO.
Farm Shopping Center
5203 S. Sheridan Road
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 7 a.m. to
4 p.m. Saturday; accepts all major credit
Original Print Headline: Bakery dreams
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
The pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (bottom left), blueberry cream cheese scones (bottom right) and Savannah bars (top) are among the items you can find at Great Harvest Bread Co., owned by Joel and Terri Roark . MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Co-owners Joel and Terri Roark. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World