The way of the loaf

Two catering veterans left Alicia Keyes, Hugh Jackman, and Brooklyn behind for greener acres and great bread in Longmont

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Debbie Seaford and David Pitula of Longmont’s Whistling Boar
Whistling Boar

Brooklyn is a long way from Longmont, but it was exactly the right destination when Debbie Seaford and David Pitula sought a more sustainable life for their family and their food business. 

The couple’s 25-year restaurant and food careers in New York City included catering events for Alicia Keys, Hugh Jackman, Glen Close, and composer Philip Glass at such venues as the Museum of Modern Art. Seaford worked with legendary chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

“We had two children and we wanted to be in a place where we could be connected closely to where the food was being grown,” Pitula says. 

Whistling Boar opened in 2020 just as the pandemic hit, but their focus as a private chef service and caterer fit the needs of the pandemic. Their popular meal box service includes The Weekender, filled with three days’ worth of brunches, snacks, salads, breads, dinners, and desserts for two packed in eco-friendly containers. 

“I’ve always been interested in fermentation and sourdough, but I had no plans to open a bakery. We started baking breads for catering clients who wanted to buy them separately. Then our neighbors asked if they could buy some of the baked goods, too,” Pitula says. 

Country sourdough bread and marble rye bread from Longmont’s Whistling Boar. Photo courtesy of Whistling Boar

Try a slice of Whistling Boar’s country sourdough loaf and you can taste the handmade care and 36-hour fermentation. The bread is crusty outside, moist and dense inside with a flavor that’s memorable and mildly tart but not overly sour.  

The couple feeds three different sourdough starters they’ve named “Davaad,” “Marcus” (after chef Marcus Samuelsson whom Pitula worked with), and “Julia,” a 90-year-old starter from Alaska they refer to as “the old lady.”   

Whistling Boar’s only retail outlet is the Simply Bulk Market, 418 Main St. in Longmont. “I like the store and we started buying flour and other ingredients there. We decided it was the natural place to sell our breads,” Pitula says. 

The breads arrive fresh from the oven Fridays at Simply Bulk. That’s the best time to grab Whistling Boar’s menu of baked goods, which includes challah cinnamon rolls, Highland Honey whole wheat and oat bread, olive oil focaccia, English muffins, soft pretzel twists, and shokupan (a Japanese-style buttery milk loaf).  

Customers can order bread online for pickup or delivery on Fridays with that service expanding to Thursday-Sunday in November. Also available are an array of other Whistling Boar goods such as fermented chile garlic sauce, peach preserves, kimchi, pear butter, caraway garlic kraut and kombucha. 

“Our vision for Whistling Boar was that we made as much of the food in-house as possible,” Pitula says.

Soon, Seaford says, they hope to open a small retail space next to their kitchen near downtown Longmont. 

The bakery’s expanded production is due in large part to the arrival of another East Coast ex-pat, head baker Jen Moss. 

“I wanted to use local ingredients and a low-waste approach and be part of a good business and Whistling Boar was the right fit,” Moss says. For the holidays, sufganiyot doughnuts, hammentashen, cookies, pies, and decorated yule logs are on the menu and Moss wants to gradually expand the roster of sweet morning pastries.

The word about Whistling Boar has slowly spread among the people who attended events including farm-to-farm-table feasts like Whistling Boar’s October 29 five-course wine dinner at Longmont’s Lone Hawk Farm.   

“We always look to support local farms and food that doesn’t have to be shipped. That’s the most important thing,” Debbie Seaford says. 

Local food news

Chiri’s Momo Delights, a cart featuring dumplings and noodle bowls, is open on the 1300 block of Boulder’s Downtown Mall . . . Salvaggio’s Italian Deli has closed at 2609 Pearl St. The eatery launched in 1994 in Boulder, eventually opening several stores. It was known for freshly sliced prime rib sandwiches with au jus on big house-baked loaves . . . John Bissell is the new executive chef at Boulder’s OAK at Fourteenth. A local kid, he cooked at a Boulder eatery while attending the University of Colorado. Bissell worked with noted chef Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Mec in Los Angeles . . .

Moksha green chile chocolate bar

The newest bean-to-bar confection from Boulder’s Moksha features Belize-sourced dark chocolate infused and topped with dried roasted Pueblo green chilies . . . Happy 10th anniversary to Boulder Food Rescue, the nonprofit that saves food from local grocery stores that’s headed for the dumpster and distributes it to neighborhood sites using bikes and trailers pedaled by volunteers . . . Our condolences go out to the family of Hardilprit Singh, much-loved chef at Longmont’s Flavor of India Restaurant. He died recently at the age of 68 . . . Coming soon: A tiki bar restaurant in a former Outback Steakhouse in Longmont; Viet Kitchen, 2770 Arapahoe Road, Lafayette (in the former Super Mini Walnut Cafe space); and Birdcall at 29th Street, a chicken-focused eatery from the Denver-based group behind the award-winning Park Burger. 

Words to chew on

“There is no chiropractic treatment, no yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”—M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

John Lehndorff is the Food Editor of Boulder Weekly. He hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:20 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (kgnu.org). Send comments and quibbles to nibbles@boulderweekly.com