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When it comes to starch, everybody has their go-to thing. Some people are pasta people, some people are potato people, some people are bread people, and some people are rice people.

Me, I’m most definitely a bread person. Not much in the food world makes me happier than noshing on a piece of good crusty bread smeared with a little butter.

Here in the Bay Area, we’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to artisan bakeries — we have Acme, Grace and Semifreddi’s, just to name a few. Indeed, each of those is responsible for a particular favorite of mine. Acme’s cinnamon walnut currant bread is a more-than-guilty pleasure; Grace’s black olive pugliese brings ballast to any plate; and Semifreddi’s seeded baguette adds interest to salad night.

But when it gets down to the bare-bones basics, to the daily staple of a good, honest bread that goes with anything and everything, a sourdough baguette from Arizmendi is the hands-down winner.

While breads from the other local bakeries can be found in area grocery stores, that isn’t the case for Arizmendi, which sells its breads, muffins, scones, pizzas and other items pretty much exclusively through its five bakeries. And there’s usually a line. A long one.

That’s why, when Golden Gate Organics started delivering Arizmendi demi-baguettes and English muffins in the weekly boxes, I jumped at the chance to add a demi to my standing order.

I guiltily confess to looking forward to that baguette more than anything else in the box. There’s usually a crispy piece of golden baguette popping out of the toaster even before I get my fruits and veggies washed and put away.

With just the right texture and tang, the Arizmendi demi-(half) baguette is the perfect size to eat before going stale and is, in my opinion (and that of many others), quite simply the best baguette in the Bay Area. And probably California. Or maybe even outside of France for that matter.

But while the baguette itself is a thing of wonder, so too are the circumstances of its making.

Like many folks in the Bay Area, I’ve long been aware that Arizmendi is a worker-owned cooperative that is affiliated with the beloved Cheese Board in Berkeley, but I never really knew the company’s history or had any understanding of how it works or fits into the bigger picture of the democratic workplace movement.

That all changed when I had happened to see a screening of a documentary called Shift Change at the Santa Cruz Independent Film Festive a while back. The documentary focused on the Mondragon Cooperatives, which I had never heard of before.

Started in the Basque Country of Spain in the 1950s, Mondragon has flourished and attracted worldwide attention as a highly successful incubator for worker-owned and operated workplaces — Arizmendi being among them.

Arizmendi is actually named after Maria Arizmendiarrieta, the young priest who inspired and helped found Mondragon, which, as Arizmendi’s website describes it, “started as one firm and roughly 25 people in 1956 [and] is now a major international business with a work force of over 100,000, employed in some 250+ worker-owned enterprises and affiliated organizations” in countries worldwide.

The film was fascinating and I learned a lot, not just about Mondragon’s model of collective ownership and long track record of success, but about our local Arizmendi bakeries as well. After learning about the worker-owner business model that Arizmendi has nurtured here in the Bay Area, I feel even better about buying their products.

As if I needed a reason besides the fabulous baguette itself.

Note: Shift Change will air on KQED television at 2 pm on August 2.