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Rosin Up the Dough

Kurt Holtz

Old time Appalachian fiddle music and artisanal sourdough may not sound like an obvious combination.

But why don’t we let that ferment, while you check out this story from Robbie Harris, about a bakery out in the woods near Floyd, where, when they’re not baking, they’re cookin.

When Earl White and Adrienne Davis came here from California in 2016, they brought their family, their music, and their soudough recipe with them.

“When we moved here, I really wanted to have a sustainable food-based business on the farm. I’ve always been super into everything fermented: kombucha, fermented vegetables, and sourdough bread.”

And it wasn’t long until she started baking loaves and loaves of the stuff.  --pre- pandemic--and it blossomed into a full-time business employing at least half a dozen people.  It’s called Big Indian Farms and on any Saturday at the farmers’ markets around here, customers are lined up, buying up everything on the racks. You have to get there early to nab their sourdough chocolate croissants, their everything cheesesticks. I won’t go on, because this story is also about old time Appalachian string band music.

White remembers the evening when they knew they’d picked the right place to pursue their other passion.

“You know, we heard what sounded like running water in the background. And I took my fiddle out and I started playing. There was this natural reverb that comes off the barn over there and we looked at each other and I was like, my fiddle was screaming!”

It’s now the eighth year of Fiddle Fest, a private musical get together that began out west and now takes place near Floyd.

Small circles of fiddlers, elbows up, dot the large property on this day.  Some are playing music near the stream.  Others play near the farmhouse, and more keep arriving for this once in a while, private, cookout/Old Time Music Festival.

Kids can come along for an informal music camp, while parents play their hearts out, because this is their time for old friends and new to play Appalachian music  together for the sheer   while the dough slowly rises.


Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg, covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia.