Fall Retreat 2019

Smoke Signals Collaboration with Kristin Smith


“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” – M.F.K. Fischer

Kristin and I met under a street lamp on a mountain in eastern Kentucky. The snow was starting to fall, night was flooding like a spilt ink well and the back of her car was full of bourbon. But it wasn’t the liquor that kept us rosy in that pitch black, it was her total warmth of spirit, her wealth of knowledge, her passion for the region and her Willie Nelson banana bread. Kristin can tell a joke that makes tears run down your cheek while simultaneously stinging your heart and she can hold up a glass of bourbon and weave you a poem about toasted marshmallows running away with butterscotch.

It is my pleasure to be collaborating with Kristin this fall to bring you a baking and culinary adventure filled with bread, dumplings and hot ovens. I’ll be focusing on sourdough and salt rising bread with guest baker and farmer Amy Dawson from Lost Creek Farm and Kristin will lead afternoon lessons on the art of dumplings, both Appalachian and Sichuan. The fall colors of Pine Mountain will be our backdrop as we spend the evenings sitting on the porch sipping sprits, nestling in the lodge for a film night and enjoying an evening of live music next to the campfire.

Retreat Dates

September 16th-20th

September 23rd-27th

Pine Mountain Settlement School

Pine Mountain Settlement School will be the beautiful backdrop to our culinary adventures. The 800 acre campus is a National Historical Site and has been a school, in various forms, since 1913. I first came to Pine Mountain in 2016 and was moved by the remote location and wild beauty.

In their own words: “Travel back in time with us, to a beautiful mountain valley at the convergence of three streams. Here, in 1913, visionary local leaders and pioneering educators conceived of a school "for the children of the Kentucky mountains." The desire was to transform the mountain community through education by infusing folk tradition with innovative teaching pedagogy. Over the years, the school has changed form. Today, we function as a community non-profit that still uses mountain tradition to address our current problems, although now we provide programming for visitors and school groups as well as community members."

The school is located in a rural area and the roads leading to and from the campus are filled with stunning views, hairpin turns and steep climbs. You do not need a special car or truck to find your way, but you may loose cell service and are advised to arrive before dark.


Noon to 6 P.M. settle in and stroll the campus

6 P.M. Dinner and opening games


7:30 A.M.-8:30 A.M Breakfast 

9 A.M-12:30 P.M. Sourdough baking session w/ Tara

12:30 P.M.-1:30 P.M Lunch

2 P.M. -5:30 P.M. Appalachian cuisine lesson w/ Kristin

6 P.M. Dinner

Chicken & Dumplings

Leather Britches 

Braised Greens 


7 P.M. Live music in Far House


7:30 A.M- 8:30 A.M Breakfast

9 A.M.-12:30 P.M Salt rising bread baking session w/ Tara & company

12:30 P.M.-1:30 P.M. Lunch

2 P.M.-5:30 OPEN TIME

6 P.M. Pizza party!

7 P.M. Film night


7:30 A.M-8:30 P.M Breakfast

9 A.M.-12:30 P.M Milling flour & starter maintenance w/ Tara

12:30 P.M. - 1:30 P.M Lunch

2 P.M- 5:30 P.M. Sichuan province cuisine lesson w/ Kristin

6 P.M. Dinner

Pork Dumplings 

Roasted Eggplant 

Cucumber Salad 

Seminole Pumpkin Rice 

7 P.M. Bourbon tasting 


7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. Breakfast

9 A.M. to Noon Pack up and final stroll around the grounds

Baking Lesson Material

  • Wheat 101

  • Bakers math 101

  • Flour characteristics and qualities

  • How to keep a sourdough starter

  • How to make a salt rising starter

  • Gluten development

  • Free from hearth bread and pullman pan loaves

  • Proofing bread

  • Scorning bread

  • Baking bread

  • Milling flour at home

  • Storing fresh bread


  • All meals will be served in the kitchen of Far House

  • Breakfast 7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.

  • Lunch 12:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

  • Dinner 6 P.M. to 7 P.M.

Our special guest chef is TBA!

Please notify us of any food allergies or concerns.

Let us know if you are vegetarian or vegan. Note there may be meat being cooked in Far House.

If you have favorite wines, treats or other foods please shop ahead and bring them with you.


As a retreat participant you will be staying with fellow bakers in Laurel House or Far House. These are two out of the twenty six classic buildings on the Pine Mountain campus.

Far House has a shared kitchen, living room, laundry and wifi. If you stay in Far House we will be using your kitchen for lessons and meals. If you need quiet time, Laurel House will better suit you.

Laurel House has lodging on the main floor, bellow the dining hall and meeting lodge. Laurel House rooms are private and come with wifi and shared bathrooms. Laurel House is in a central location on campus.

Note these building are historical and have been diligently kept up, but be aware you might cross your occasional, spider, critter or other wildlife. It’s all part of the adventure!

Our Spaces

All baking sessions will be held at the Plant Center and all culinary lessons and meal prep will be held in the kitchen of Far House. We will be walking daily between Far House, Laurel House and the Plant Center. Although roads and trails are maintained by the school, we do advise you to bring good walking shoes and some kind of rain boot. There will be a good deal of walking over our week together.

We encourage you, in your time between sessions, to wander the campus, hike one of it’s many trails, visit the garden and find a stream to follow.


You are more than welcome to travel to Pine Mountain in a vehicle. Parking will be provided.

The airport closest to Pine Mountain is the Tri Cities airport in Blountville, Tennesse. It has several flights per day coming in from Charlotte and Atlanta.

We are happy to provide a shuttle from the airport to the campus upon request for an additional charge. It’s a 2.5 hour ride. The cost of the shuttle will be split amongst those using it. You may pay upon arrival.

Take Away

  • An autographed copy of A Baker’s Year

  • A custom Smoke Signals t-shirt, tote bag and patch

  • A loaf of sourdough and a loaf of salt risen bread

  • A baking booklet of our formulas and tricks

  • A few new friends

Kristin Smith

The Wrigley Taproom & Eatery, Corbin, KY

Kristin M. Smith is a farmer and chef from Williamsburg, Kentucky.  She discovered her passion for communicating with honest, thoughtful, engaging food while living and working in rural China. She returned home to take over her family’s sixth-generation cattle farm, Faulkner Bent Farm, in 2009 and has been living and working in Appalachia ever since.  After several years running a burger and taco tent at the local farmers’ market, Kristin transitioned to an owner and the executive chef at the Wrigley Taproom and Eatery in Corbin, Kentucky—a farm-to-table Appalachian restaurant that works with area farmers to create a sustainable, supportive economy for local foodways.  When Kristin isn’t chasing cattle or sharing a pumpkin pie with her prize sow Reba Bacontire, you can find her creating a joy-filled, hospitable atmosphere at the Wrigley or traveling through Appalachia from diner to diner, looking for her next favorite food adventure. 

The Wrigley Taproom & Eatery is Southeastern Kentucky's premiere Farm-to-Table restaurant offering innovative regional cuisine, bourbon and craft beer.  The Wrigley has been featured in Time Magazine and Food & Wine for their small town hospitality & creative twist to Appalachian favorites. 


Tara Jensen

Smoke Signals, Planet Earth

Jensen runs Smoke Signals, a wood fired, mobile baking school. She likes pizza and dogs and prays for world peace everyday. Bread is her method and her medium for making a meaningful life.

Photo by Ilana Freddye

Photo by Ilana Freddye

Cost Includes

  • Room and board from Monday at Noon to Friday at Noon

  • Three meals per day + coffee + tea + alcohol

  • Afternoon courses led by Pine Mountain staff are included in the cost

  • Any equipment, ingredients or materials for our baking


Limited to 8 participants.

You must be 21 or over to attend.

We will be standing during baking sessions. Chairs may be provided as needed.

We will be baking outside in all kinds of weather so please bring appropriate clothing.

In the event that Smoke Signals cancels the retreat we will attempt to provide you with registration in another retreat within a reasonable period of time.  If we cannot we will make a full refund to you.

Registration is non refundable. Should you be unable to make it you may send a friend or family member in your place.

We cannot issue any refunds due to weather related travel delays.

We ask that you plan on attending the entire time, no partial days or session are available.

Please inform us well in advance of any allergies or health conditions that we should know about.