Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Signal Mountain residents have just short drive to Dunlap in scenic Sequathie Valley to reach Clark’s Bakery, the area’s closest health-food store which encourages customers to live a healthier lifestyle with each loaf.
In early 2000, Clark’s Bakery owners James and Heike Clark used supplies stockpiled for Y2K to make their first dozen loaves of bread, which they sold sold door-to-door in their former hometown of High Springs, Fla. They continued to work from home and eventually started looking for a place to rent, settling on the former Stone Cave Bakery in Dunlap.
A boarding school until the mid-’80s, Stone Cave was purchased by a Seventh-day Adventist group and the Clarks began renting the property seven years ago. They operate a store on-site offering bakery items as well as a selection of health-food products.
“Local people come here and see something different, and we try to plant a little seed of health,” said Heike Clark. “Everything we make is plant-based.” h
She said bread from Clark’s Bakery has higher nutrition content and a different taste than commercial breads because it is made with flour which is freshly ground at the bakery.
“All commercial bread is made with old flour, and once you grind flour, it builds up rancidity,” Clark said, causing the nutrition content of the bread to deteriorate.
The bakery’s biggest seller is their plain whole wheat bread; their least expensive product which she said is versatile, everyday bread good for sandwiches or toast.
Their newest products launched several months ago are the sprouted multigrain and whole wheat 100 percent sprouted breads. Sold in cans, the bread does not contain growth inhibitors, which Clark said makes it easier for certain people to digest.
Clark’s recently started taking orders for its seasonal fruit cake, which she said is available until the end of September.
Clark’s bread contains no preservatives or additives and typically keeps for around seven days, said Clark. Dough is weighed out by hand, piece-by-piece.
Every loaf of Clark’s bread contains a “health nugget,” which she said could be one of eight rotating messages containing information on how the customer can attain better health through biblical principles. Topics range from trust in God to the benefits of water, exercise or sunlight.
“Our main goal is to help people have better health,” said Clark.
She said Clark’s employs eight workers, including young people as well as the elderly (ages 82 and 86).
They stay involved in the community by leading field trips for local Girl Scouts and participating in parades, where they throw out mini loaves instead of candy. Clark’s also hosts a walking program open to the public on the Stone Cave property (a waiver must be signed), in which participants receive a free loaf when they meet their weight-loss goals.
In addition to breads, Clark’s offers desserts such as honey date nut Danishes, carob balls, carob chip cookies and whole wheat carrot cake. Also available are miscellaneous products made with plant-based ingredients including maple oat waffles, oat burgers, pizza crust and whole wheat pancake mix.
Clark’s spreads their message of health throughout the Sequatchie Valley through “Dan the Bread Man,” who drives a truck full of Clark’s bread to surrounding towns such as Dunlap, Pikeville, Dayton Mountain, Whitwell, Jasper and South Pittsburgh.
Clark’s bread is sold in the Chattanooga area predominantly through Village Market in Collegedale, as well as at Pruett’s Signal Mountain Market and Greenlife Grocery in North Chattanooga.
Clark’s Bakery is at 207A Stone Cave Loop in Dunlap, Tenn. and can be reached at 949-4333.