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Breeding grains that grow communities, Bread Lab’s Jones earns Pellegrini Award

Stepehn Jones accepts the Pellegrini award at a podium from Tom Owens.
Stephen Jones, director of the WSU Bread Lab, left, accepts the Angelo Pellegrini Award from Pellegrini Foundation president Tom Owens, right (Photo by Salinas Holcomb).

At the Bread Lab, Washington State University researcher Stephen Jones helps Pacific Northwest farmers, chefs, bakers and distillers get more out of their grains—more flavor, more products, more impact.

“When we grow wheat, we want you to grow it, bake it, malt and cook with it,” said Jones, who directs a team of scientists and students developing new grain varieties that fuel the artisan food economy west of the Cascades.

For his contributions to Northwest farms, food and beverages, Jones is the 2017 recipient of the Angelo Pellegrini Award.

“We put food and farmers first, and share the joy of discovery through baking and cooking,” said Jones, who was honored Feb. 3 at the Angelo M. Pellegrini Harvest Dinner in Seattle.

Given annually by the Pellegrini Foundation, the award remembers Angelo M. Pellegrini, the late University of Washington English professor and author who championed healthful, homegrown food, good wine and good company.

“I’ve been baking bread since I was six years old,” Jones said. “At the Bread Lab, we’re not just geneticists and plant breeders. We’re chefs and bakers, and we want our grains to work for local chefs, millers, maltsters and distillers. We want to keep that value multiplying in our communities.”

Jones reviews his notes at a bench at FareStart.
Jones prepares for his remarks at the Pellegrini Harvest Dinner, Feb. 3 at Seattle’s FareStart (Photo by Salinas Holcomb).

“What Stephen is doing is incredible,” said Tom Owens, oldest grandson of Dr. Pellegrini and president of the Pellegrini Foundation board of directors. “He embodies what my grandfather was all about. Stephen is making the world a better place, one loaf of bread at a time.”

“To receive this award from Angelo’s family and foundation is so humbling,” said Jones, who thanked the network of farmers and artisans, WSU students and researchers behind The Bread Lab’s success: “This award recognizes the work of many people.”

“Flavorful, functional wheat and barley developed by Dr. Jones are helping to build the local grain economy,” said Ron Mittelhammer, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at WSU. “Through the simple but vital act of putting bread on the table, he enhances our businesses, communities, and the bond made by dining together. I’m certain Dr. Pellegrini would raise a glass to that.”

  • Learn more about the Angelo Pellegrini Foundation here.
  • Learn more about The Bread Lab at Washington State University here.