[caption id="attachment_68908" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/08\/Jason-and-JoDeb.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="461" class="size-large wp-image-68908" \/> Jason Long and his mother, Jo Debra Gandee, show off a loaf of garden focaccia bread [shown below] as they pack up the many loaves of bread they baked for the Farmer's Market at Linwood. \u201cWe love bread," Gandee said. \u201cBecause we love to eat good homemade bread, we just started making our own.\u201d S. Stewart photo[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2020\/08\/JoDeb-bread.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="421" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-68909" \/>\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\u00a0\r\nLots of folks in the Slaty Fork area are well-acquainted with Jo Debra Gandee\u2019s baking prowess.\r\n\r\nShe\u2019s been baking bread for the Linwood Farmers Market for a while now and is known for her many varieties of bread \u2013 French, white, cheddar jalapeno and tomato bread, made with the tomatoes she grows in her high tunnel.\r\n\r\n\u201cI really enjoy using fresh, homegrown ingredients in all my cooking,\u201d Gandee said.\r\n\r\n\u201cI love bread because it\u2019s so important to people. It\u2019s such a basic part of life \u2013 so much a part of life for all of humanity.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve had bread for thousands of years; ever since people have grown grain.\r\n\r\n\u201cI wanted to get good at it because where we live it\u2019s good to be able to grow and raise and make your own food,\u201d she stated.\r\n\r\nShe likes to experiment with new recipes, and she\u2019s not afraid to branch out and adapt a lot of recipes to her own taste.\r\n\r\n\u201cSometimes I like to add a little something to a recipe to make it my own,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nGandee\u2019s found a partner in the business of breadmaking \u2013 her 36 year old son, Jason Long.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe\u2019s very competitive with me,\u201d she laughed. \u201cAlways has been. If I\u2019m doing something, he wants to do it better. And he usually can.\u201d \r\n\r\nGandee and Long live and work together in the family home at the base of Snowshoe in Linwood.\r\n\r\n\u201cMom and I both like to bake bread,\u201d Long said. \u201cI guess we make it because we love to eat good homemade bread, so we just started making our own.\u201d\r\n\r\nLong has worked as a cook, bartender and a server at several Snowshoe restaurants over the past 10 years.\r\n\r\nWhen Covid-19 struck, he decided to take a break from working up at Snowshoe, especially because he was afraid of bringing the virus home to his mom.\r\n\r\nAnd they\u2019ve both been \u201cseriously baking\u201d ever since.\r\n\r\nGandee started concentrating on baking about 2010, learning to make all kinds of breads and baked goods.\r\n\r\nShe says she\u2019s still trying to perfect yeast breads.\r\n\r\n\u201cYeast breads can be tricky,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cA lot depends on the weather \u2013 the humidity, the time of year.\r\n\r\n\u201cSummer or winter makes a difference.\u201d\r\n\r\nMind you, Gandee has pretty high standards and considers anything less than perfection in her bread a failure.\r\n\r\nEven after years of experience, she still considers herself a student of bread- making and doesn\u2019t rule out the possibility of a failure every once in a while.\r\n\r\nAs we spoke, Gandee was making Cider Cheese bread.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s on its first rising in the oven now, and I\u2019m hoping that it\u2019s not going to be a failure,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe didn\u2019t start baking bread for the Farmer\u2019s Market until we sold the market at the Exxon at Big Springs.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy mother started that business years ago and took me in as a partner,\u201d Gandee explained.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn 2010, after she passed away, we sold the business.\r\n\r\n\u201cAfter that, I worked at Old Spruce in the prep kitchen for a while and I learned a lot,\u201d she continued.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey assumed I knew how to make potato salad and coleslaw, but I didn\u2019t, so I had to learn how to do that.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019d never liked potato salad or coleslaw, so I\u2019d just never learned how to make them.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was a good experience for me.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was about then that I started really seriously baking. My mom was a great cook and made wonderful bread,\u201d she remembered.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe could make the best loaf of white bread \u2013 just a plain old-fashioned loaf of \u2018light bread.\u2019\r\n\r\n\u201cIt was amazing.\r\n\r\n\u201cI loved eating it warm with peanut butter on it,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe baked by sight and touch \u2013 rarely ever used a recipe \u2013 she just knew how the dough should look and feel.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe taught me a lot about baking.\u201d\r\n\r\nFrom generation to generation, the love of baking and cooking continues to be passed down in the family.\r\n\r\n\u201cJason likes to cook, and he\u2019s good at it,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s great. He cooks a lot of our meals, so I don\u2019t have to cook as much these days.\r\n\r\n\u201cI do a lot of the prep work, but he\u2019s got great knife skills and can cut up vegetables to make them look fancy.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have a lot in common. Besides the fact that we both like to cook and bake, we\u2019re also both voracious readers, and we can often share books because we have similar tastes.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m always on the computer,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cI have Kindle on it and I do my reading on the computer.\r\n\r\n\u201cBaking forces me to get away from the computer and do something else,\u201d Gandee laughed.\r\n\r\nThe two have decided to convert a garage apartment at their home into space for a new business \u2013 a drive-thru grocery\/delicatessen\/bakery.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s hard to imagine it will be anything but a huge success.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re getting everything ready for it, and when the virus is under control, we\u2019ll open,\u201d Gandee predicted.\r\n\r\nBut this time of year while the Linwood Farmer\u2019s Market is in full swing, the mother-son team is up to their loaf pans in the business of baking bread.\r\n\r\nThe Linwood Farmer\u2019s Market is on Fridays, so on Friday mornings, the kitchen at their house in covered in beautiful loaves of bread in all shapes and sizes.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe try to have a good variety of breads, and we\u2019ll also do special orders for people,\u201d Gandee said.\r\n\r\nShe estimates that they make about 15-to-20 loaves a week, plus sweet rolls, blueberry and cherry muffins, cookies, honey cakes, blueberry lemon cakes and cinnamon rolls.\r\n\r\nGandee said Jason\u2019s cinnamon rolls are \u201csimply to die for,\u201d and she likes to make honey, ginger, and lemon cakes as Christmas gifts.\r\n\r\nAnd what bread are they most often eating at home right now?\r\n\r\n\u201cRight now, our favorite bread is Bushman\u2019s Bread,\u201d they said.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s a really dense bread, a dark rye like something that we tasted at the Outback Restaurant,\u201d Long explained.\r\n\r\n\u201cLike a lot of breads, I think it tastes best hot, fresh from the oven,\u201d Gandee added.\r\n\r\n\u201cI found the recipe online and made a few changes.\u201d\r\n\r\nThey like it with honey butter.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe whip honey and butter together,\u201d Long said. \u201cIt\u2019s just so simple and so delicious.\u201d \r\n\r\nLong started taking an interest in cooking when he was a little boy.\r\n\r\n\u201cBut I guess I started really baking bread when we were living on Vieques Island about nine or ten years ago, and I\u2019ve been baking ever since,\u201d he recalled.\r\n\r\nGandee\u2019s parents, Wallace and Pauline Galford, lived in Linwood where she grew up.\r\n\r\nShe graduated from Marlinton High School, the last year that the school was open, in 1970 and graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in theatre.\r\n\r\nWith her quick wit and outgoing personality, it seems natural that she\u2019s always been an entrepreneur, never hesitating to jump into a business venture.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou\u2019ve got to be willing to take a risk sometimes,\u201d she advised. \u201cIf you fail, just get back up and try something else.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe\u2019s traveled extensively, but she loves life here in Pocahontas County, and she\u2019s happy to have her daughter, Rachel Fanning, and her family living close by.\r\n\r\nFanning has an administrative position up at Snowshoe and she and her husband, contractor Stuart Fanning, have two daughters.\r\n\r\nGandee\u2019s two granddaughters, Zara, 9 and Ayla,7 visit often.\r\n\r\n\u201cZara and Ayla, like the rest of the family, like bread,\u201d Gandee said. \u201cAnd, of course, we\u2019re passing down the kitchen skills to them now. They\u2019re learning how to cook and bake.\r\n\r\nGandee loves living in Pocahontas County, where the spirit of self-sufficiency thrives. \r\n\r\n\u201cI like doing for myself and my family,\u201d she said. \u201cThose are good skills to have \u2013 to know how to grow a garden, hunt, fish, cook, bake and can food.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re growing our own wheat now, so we can grind our own flour and bake with flour without any preservatives in it.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnd Jason is even experimenting with growing hops.\r\n\r\n\u201cSo many people here in Pocahontas County are doing so many interesting things.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s just a good place to live.\u201dJo Debra Gandee\u2019s\r\nGarden Focaccia Bread\r\n\r\nWith all the vegetables coming on, Gandee shared her recipe for her Garden Focaccia bread:\r\n\r\n2 3\/4 cups of flour\r\n1 pinch black ground pepper\r\n1 teaspoon salt\r\n1 Tbsp. sesame oil\r\n1 tsp. sugar\u00a0\r\n1 cup water\r\n1 Tbsp. yeast\r\n1 tsp. garlic powder\r\n2 Tbsp. olive oil\r\n2 Tbsp. Italian seasonings\r\nAssorted fresh vegetables: tomato, onion, peppers, etc.\r\nIn a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, garlic powder, pepper and Italian seasonings. In a smaller bowl, stir yeast, sugar, and water together and set aside till a foamy sponge appears, then add sesame oil. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and then knead for 7 minutes with a Kitchen Aid mixer or by hand until smooth, elastic, and springy.\u00a0 Place in a light oiled bowl and cover.\u00a0 Let dough rise for 30 minutes.\r\nPreheat oven to 450\u00ba.\r\nSlice veggies and set aside.\r\nPunch down and remove dough from bowl, then place on lightly oiled baking pan. Pat into 1\/2 inch thickness and decorate with sliced veggies.\u00a0 Push veggies into dough and brush olive oil on top.\r\nBake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.\u00a0 \r\nServe with seasoned olive oil.