Herman is the 2-year-old starter used to make sourdough at Palo Verde Bakery, which is opening a space in the Sun Stereo project in Downtown Fresno. Photo via Palo Verde Bakery Instagram
Written by Edward Smith
A new bakery and café means a different use for fermented grains in Downtown Fresno’s Brewery District.
Business owner Natalie Jahanbani hopes to open Palo Verde Bakery in March 2022. She signed a lease for two units in the newly restored Sun Stereo Warehouse across from Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. on Fulton Street.
The two units will comprise around 1,000 square feet where they will serve not only handcrafted seeded sourdough — made from Jahanbani’s own two-year-old starter she’s named Herman — but also croissants, morning buns, pies and coffee.
Jahanbani calls her bread Valley Loaf because she began cultivating the starter in the area.
“[Herman] is employee of the month every month,” Jahanbani said.
During lunch, she plans to serve light meals including sandwiches on her sourdough. Her baked goods can be found at local coffee shops, including Hi-Top Coffee in the Tower District and Fulton Street Coffee in Downtown Fresno.
She hopes that when she opens the store, she’ll be able to serve some of their coffee there.
This will be the first brick-and-mortar location for Jahanbani, who started selling handcrafted sourdough in July 2020.
Jahanbani has been selling at farmer’s markets throughout the Fresno and Clovis area. She comes to the Central Valley by way of the Bay Area, where she began her career in the baking industry. Following that she worked in a bagel shop in Los Angeles where she ran the kitchen.
When she and her partner moved to the Central Valley, she worked as a cake decorator in Visalia. Palo Verde Bakery got its start out of the Clovis Culinary Center, a commissary kitchen.
Now that she has her own space, she can build the kitchen as she sees fit and can grow as demand for her product has.
Developers Reza Assemi and Jamin Brazil are rehabilitating the nearly 108-year-old Sun Stereo Warehouse.
The ground level of the building is geared toward retail with office spaces on the second floor.
Jahanbani began baking by herself but has since hired another baker, allowing her to expand her offerings. When she opens, she plans to hire one other experienced baker.
Jahanbani likes being located downtown near Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. and The Modernist, calling it a perfect match between fermented carbs for beer and fermented carbs for sourdough.
“The Carb District felt like a natural fit for us,” Jahanbani said.