The Rapidian

There's a new baker in town: Field and Fire to provide healthy options downtown

Shelby Kibler has come from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor to open a wood-fired bakery in the new Downtown Market this summer

/Theresa Hogerheide

Watch for their opening

Keep track of progress on their Facebook page.

/Theresa Hogerheide

Shelby Kibler has arrived in Grand Rapids to open Field & Fire Bakery in our new Downtown Market. The market is set to open later this summer and is located at 435 Ionia SW – near Wealthy Street. His wife Julie and 15 month old son Esau arrived a couple of weeks ahead of him as he wrapped up things in Ann Arbor. 

Kibler is a former manager, baker and product developer at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, MI, working there for 12 years total. Originally from Stanton, MI, Shelby started out as an apprentice to a pastry chef in Sterling Heights, MI. He learned his bread baking craft at Grand Central Baking in Portland, OR and then during his two, six-year stints at Zingermans Bakehouse. Between those, Shelby worked in restaurants in San Francisco and Davis, CA.

His vision for the bakery, that will have two wood-fired ovens, is different than other local bakeries. The list of products is not the difference: high quality artisan breads, flatbreads, Neapolitan (thin-crust) pizzas and savory pastries, such as cheese and ham croissants. He was careful to clarify that pizza will not be the main feature of his bakery. 

Field & Fire is about healthy lifestyles. 

“The three of us live healthy lives, and I want to support others in that lifestyle,” says Kibler. “There will be very little sugar in the products with lots of whole grains.” There will be both yeasted and sour dough breads; his real passion is sour dough. 

As he spends time in Grand Rapids waiting for his space to be built, he is researching sources for organic and local ingredients. 

“Getting the right ingredients will take time and commitment; my vision is to connect with farmers to grow the grains that I need to mill fresh daily,” says Kibler. “There will be as much organic and local ingredients as I find as I make connections to piece the puzzle together over the next couple of years.” His goal is to produce products with the best flavor and results while staying true to his food values. 

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