What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Fifteen years later, La Farm still a Cary staple

Posted May 13, 2014

La Farm Bakery in Cary

— In any conversation about where to buy bread in the Triangle, La Farm is sure to come up. La Farm Bakery in Cary has been serving fresh artisan loaves to the community since 1999.

In those 15 years, owner and baker Lionel Vatinet has opened an adjacent cafe, began teaching baking classes, put a "bread truck" on the road and wrote a book, "A Passion for Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker."

"The focus is on bread, but my goal is to teach," Vatinet said.

As a member of the highly selective French artisans guild "Les Compagnons du Devoir," Vatinet pledged to share his craft to both professional and home bakers. La Farm hosts visiting guild trainees who learn traditional techniques and the fundamentals of French bread making, as well as members of the community in various classes.

While La Farm prides itself on being a traditional French bakery, the bakers have branched out to offer new selections for its Southern clientele and other delicious treats to please everyone's palates – for example, there is an upcoming class about making cornbread, and last week when we were visiting, they were selling loaves of jalapeno-cheddar bread. One of the bakery's best-selling pastries, the white chocolate baguette, was developed by an visiting guild intern and is still on the menu!

Making bread for the locals also means using local products. Vatinet uses local products whenever possible for the 10 standard breads and 20 seasonal treats the bakery creates. The flour is ground and milled in North Carolina, and they also use local cheeses, ham, honey and Counter Culture Coffee at the cafe. 

The bread is even fresher now, thanks to a new oven in the kitchen. It was installed about a week ago, and while the La Farm team is still working out the kinks, Vatinet thinks it will be a valuable asset for the bakery.

"It was like upgrading from a Citroen to a BMW or a Mercedes," he joked. "We love sticking with tradition, but we have to think, what else can we use to keep the quality consistent and serve more bread?"

The new oven bakes faster, so the bakers can delay the bread's starting time, leading to an even fresher product.

We recommend heading to La Farm for brunch – try the Croque Madame or the Quiche du Jour – and to sample the dozens of breads and pastries while shopping. You can pick up great gifts or pre-packaged La Farm Products like hearth-baked granola, as well as Vatinet's book.

If you can't make it to the bakery for a fresh loaf, you can purchase La Farm products at Whole Foods in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill; at the Downtown Raleigh Farmers' Market, the State Farmers' Market, and the Western Wake Farmers' Market; or on the go from the bread truck.

La Farm has several summer-themed classes coming up, some of which take place at Vatinet's home: 

  • Friday, May 16: Tarts Gone Wild
  • Monday, June 16: Grilled Pizzas and Summertime Wines
  • Tuesday, June 17: Summertime Delights

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  • Pope Yam May 14, 2014
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    Love LaFarm! Best bread, pastries, ect... They really take pride in their products.

  • Kristin Byrne May 14, 2014
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    Just ignore them. Some people need to get a life. No sense in feeding the trolls.

  • michelejangregory May 14, 2014

    I moved to Wilmington from Raleigh 4 years ago and dearly miss Lionel's breads. I would love to see his products in our Wholefoods store. My daughter had a birthday party at his bakery many years ago and we loved it!

  • snowl May 13, 2014

    The new oven is a plus. I prefer lighter, softer breads and pastries. If it's too dark and burnt looking, I won't purchase anything. This goes for any bakery.

  • independent_thinker May 13, 2014

    I live in Durham and can get La Farm bread at our Whole Foods.

    Whether you've heard the name or not, it's terrific bread.

  • Mark Anderson May 13, 2014
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    If you "love good food" as you say, but you "avoid Cary at all costs", then you are choosing to miss out on some good food because there are a number of good restaurants, bakeries, and other food establishments in Cary. Your loss. I enjoy good food all over the Triangle. Seems petty to skip places due to some hang up with the location.

  • Sherrill Craig May 13, 2014
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    well, apparently you do.

  • Tanya Rose May 13, 2014
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    Seconded! I can't believe people are arguing about a BAKERY.

  • A person May 13, 2014

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    Who cares what you think?

  • Sherrill Craig May 13, 2014
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    Personally, I think the BOTH of you need to shut up already.