August 4, 2012
By Trista Cornelius, Contributing Writer
At one of the very first VegFests, Dave Dahl of Dave's Killer Bread stood alone at a small table in a cramped church basement. The name of his bread (easy to hear as “Killer Dave’s”), his hulking physique, and his serious gaze made me nervous to approach him. However, he talked in a soft, sincere voice about his bread and smiled shyly as he handed out samples of sweet, chewy slices like nothing I’d ever found at the grocery store--almost like homemade.
Fast forward to recent VegFests: Dave’s well-deserved rockstar status keeps him from single-handedly manning a booth all day. Instead, this Oregon company has a professional booth with a half-dozen employees generously handing out entire slices of bread all day long. You can even try the dense, gooey, sugary “Sin Dawg” cinnamon roll bread. (Apparently, I’m not the only one who struggles to eat anything less than half a loaf in one sitting.)
All of Dave’s Killer Bread products are totally organic and vegan, so you don’t even have to read the ingredient list. If you do, you’ll recognize all of the whole grains and familiar ingredients like spelt and barley. Dave puts it simply: “I don’t believe in white bread.” For gluten-free vegans, however, the company does not currently have plans to produce a gluten-free bread, because they don’t have the space to create a separate facility.
Dave’s personal story inspires customers as much as his nourishing breads. He has a “good seed” tattoo on his back because, he says, he’s no longer a bad seed and is “planting good seeds” by helping others. For example, one-third of his 270 employees are what Dave calls “fellow felons,” unbelievable go-getters who want to change their lives and be contributors to society rather than being “a pull on society.” Dave’s own story of depression, drugs, incarceration, and inspiring transformation can be viewed here. Dave’s Killer Bread has been a generous supporter of Northwest VEG for many years. Visit this year’s VegFest to sample his products, if you’ve somehow missed the best bread since, well, since sliced bread.
Footnote: Most of the information here was gathered at a presentation Dave Dahl made at Clackamas Community College in May 2012.
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