The story of how the popular Jamesport Sourdough got its start goes all the way back to 2014. Husband and wife co-owners Ana Burcroff and Brett Koons were living in Seattle after Burcroff was transferred for her job working in the grocery delivery department at Amazon. They both loved the food and coffee scene of Seattle and had started roasting their own beans at home. Their anniversary was coming up, and Burcroff, knowing how notoriously difficult Koons is to buy for, was looking for a gift.
“He doesn’t want things,” she said. So she decided to get creative and head over to the bakery near them. “I went in and asked them for their starter. And they just packaged it up for me and wouldn’t even let me pay,” she said. “And I gave it to Brett, and he was super happy about it.”
Around the same time they were getting more into the slow food trend and trying to reduce waste around the house, so making their own sourdough fit right into that. Seven years later and on a different coast, Burcroff and Koons have turned a free anniversary present into a booming business. In February, they started selling sourdough loaves through Instagram and Venmo with pickup at their Jamesport home, and now, every week, they make 25 to 40 sourdough loaves at the commercial kitchen at the Stony Brook Incubator and deliver them to a few local drop off locations.
Turning an at-home hobby into a business came when the pandemic hit and the couple moved their family out to their North Fork home that they had purchased in 2014 while living in New York City. “It was really hard to get to know other families,” said Burcroff, who resigned from her job at the beginning of the pandemic. “So we started finding opportunities to gift bread. If we had a nice conversation with them in a parking lot or something, we’d be like, ‘Hey, I know we can’t hang out, but do you want to try our bread?’”
The families loved it and continuously told them they should sell it. Around the same time, the couple were spending more time at local farms and gave Chris and Holly Browder of Browders Birds a loaf, who echoed what they had already heard from others. “When we heard that from a successful farmer, we knew,” Burcroff said.
“People were also asking us to make it for them, so between those two things, we got started,” added Koons, who works for Google.
Since moving from baking out of their home kitchen to the massive commercial space at the Calverton-based Stony Brook Incubator a few months ago, the demand for Jamesport Sourdough has only grown. “It’s insatiable. It’s so much stronger than I ever expected,” Burcroff said. “And it really has been this huge community builder.”
Currently, Koons does most of the baking, with Burcroff assisting and handling much of the business side. They offer two loaves — the traditional sourdough and a chocolate sourdough. “It’s got cocoa powder, sugar and lots of chocolate. There’s a third a pound of chocolate in each loaf,” said Koons, who has done a lot for the sake of his sourdough, including bringing his starter on vacation and filling his suitcase with bags of their favorite flour. The couple also roasts and sells their own coffee beans.
To get your hands on a loaf, preorder through their website with pickup on Saturdays from Browders Birds in Mattituck or their pick up point in Jamesport. Jamesport Sourdough also offers monthly subscriptions and 10- and 20-week CSA programs; plus, CSA members at Sang Lee Farms will soon have the sourdough as an optional add on. Follow them on Instagram for new locations they are adding (like Lombardi’s Love Lane Market).