Favorite

Old Stone, new bread

Those familiar with Manitou Springs' Maté Factor café are probably also familiar with its nearby sister operation, the Community Foods market at 56 Park Ave. The market has developed a reputation as sort of a greener version of the Bargain Mart stores, carrying discounted closeout items that tend to be of the natural and organic variety.

If you haven't ventured by recently, then you've missed the addition of the Old Stone Bridge Bakery, a new effort focusing on "the finest wholesome, organic and natural ingredients" baked daily. Offerings include gluten-free breads and muffins, pastries, sandwich loaves and artisan selections like a Manischewitz fruit bread.

Baker Nadive Lawrence says more growth is on the way in the next few months, with expansion of the produce section and a launch of Community Foods label bulk items, from grains and spices to dried fruits and granola. A meat and cheese deli case will likely follow, as well as a patio addition as early as next spring that will enable weekly Israeli folk music concerts. A potential CSA involving community gardens and Colorado growers is also in discussion.

"The reason we're called Community Foods is that we want to be sustainable as a people and a community," says Lawrence. "We want the community at-large to benefit from our way of life. ... We want people to have real food, because it nourishes."

Cool: Stark enterprises

"It's just damn good ice cream," says co-op member Randy Stark.

To clarify: The ice cream in reference is Kaleidoscoops (1707 S. Eighth St., 572-6677) and being a co-op member is basically like being a local franchise operator. Check out the colorful company story at kalscoops.com, which includes the line, "They felt the heavy hand of a franchise organization, which had perpetrated a plan to divide and destroy them."

The gist is that former Baskin-Robbins franchisees whose agreements had been terminated banded together to form this new, Austin, Texas-based chain in 1999. Stark joined the cause last September with the purchase of a Cañon City location, then opened this Springs outlet in mid-June. He hopes to open two more local stores down the road.

Because the co-op allows its members to sell what they wish beyond 85 company flavors (32 available at a time), Stark has added a My Favorite Muffin Xpress inside his store. He bakes eight types of muffins daily and offers bagels and breakfast sandwiches sourced from the Colorado-based chain. He also serves his own lunch sandwiches and local coffee from Colorado Coffee Merchants.

As for that ice cream, Stark says, "It's better than Baskin-Robbins."

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