© 2017 by Fresh Bread and Flowers

Our story

I was born in a beautiful country called Ukraine. I was the oldest of four children. My dad worked as a construction engineer, and my mom dedicated her life to raising us, the kids. We were going to school, taking music and art lessons, as well as swimming, tennis, etiquette, and even ballroom dancing classes. 
When I was about 10 years old, I baked my very first cake. My mom had a little old notebook filled with handwritten recipes, and I loved reading through them, especially those for desserts, and imagining how those cookies and pastries might taste. I am forever grateful to my parents, for they supported and encouraged my inclinations, even though our means were very scarce at times.
In 2006 I graduated from a Ukrainian university with a master's degree in linguistics with an intention to become an interpreter. Later that year, I got married. Life brought us to California's beautiful Central Valley. Here, my husband and I bought our first home and had four beautiful children. 

"Why bread?"you may ask. Well, Ukrainians eat a lot of bread. It is an essential part of every meal, and for some, including myself, it is also the best dessert (with some unsalted sweet cream and honey). When we moved to the U.S., it was quite challenging for me to find bread I liked. The choices seemed to be very limited compared to those in Europe, and I couldn't find the taste and texture I liked. So I decided to try baking my own bread. After I had my first baby, I met several moms whose kids had food allergies, and as I learned later, this was very common in the U.S. This was very surprising to me, as I had never even heard about food allergies or intolerances before. What astounded me most was the fact that so many people here cannot eat bread. Is Ukrainian flour different? Or maybe it is the way it is grown or harvested? Or both? Of course, this is a very complex issue, and there is no clear and simple answer as to why it happens, but after reading various articles and researching this matter, I decided to start baking naturally leavened organic bread for my family. We enjoy its taste, and its numerous health benefits are an added bonus. During the past several years, we have baked many, many loaves striving to improve our skills as well as develop recipes we liked, and now we are ready to share our bread with you, our friends! We really hope you like it as much as we do!
As for my love for flowers, I "blame" that on my wonderful mother. For as long as I can remember, she has always been growing something in her beautiful garden. I will never forget the taste of the strawberries and tomatoes she grew! I guess it's in my genes, as every spring I feel this unexplainable urge to plant something. It amazes me every time how something so beautiful can grow from such tiny, dry, often funny-looking seeds. Almost three years ago, my parents had to leave their home in Ukraine due to war and move here. They sure love being close to us and getting to watch their grandchildren grow up, but I know my mom misses her beautiful roses, peonies, and lilies. So, to cheer her up, I turned our backyard into a flower farmette. Fresno climate is very difficult for flower farming. These blooms are a labor of love and hard work along with many tears and fears, but I love how flowers always, always make people smile! I really hope my simple flower arrangements will bring you lots of joy! 

Love,

Alina