Erin Lampel originally got interested in baking when she came to Santa Cruz to attend an agroecology program at UCSC. She taught herself the art (and science) of baking, and began selling her bread at local farmers markets. Her wares were a hit and she went brick-and-mortar, opening Companion Bakeshop on the Westside in 2011.
Open every day from 7am-3pm (8am on Sat/Sun), Lampel defines the spot as a community hub with a “sweet feeling.” The menu is sourdough-centric, headlined by breads like the Local Loaf with local wheat, the Goat Horn infused with goat cheese and the Light and Fluffy, a large country sourdough family loaf.
Tell me about your passion for organic farming.
ERIN LAMPEL: Attending schools like Cal Poly and UCSC really inspired me to look into where our ingredients come from, and what my responsibility is as a bakery owner. I think it’s really important to support farmers who treat their land and animals properly, and their people as well. This philosophy is our backbone at Companion, 95% of our ingredients are organic and we are constantly talking about and paying attention to where our food comes from.
How do you define Companion’s place in the community?
Our doors are open every day and I think we do a really great job of giving people a sense of inclusion and community, and bringing people together around food. Our most quintessential items are meant to be shared around a table with others. It’s a really cool feeling knowing people are sharing our products with others and bonding, almost like it’s Thanksgiving every day.
2341 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, 831-471-8378; companionbakeshop.com