So, the co-op always gets a big stack of the magazine Edible Manhattan to give away (apparently Whole Foods shoppers have to pay). Anyway, last month I was flipping through the July/August edition and noticed a really informative article on local flours and grains, which talks about how grain production moved to the Midwest during the industrial revolution.
But plugging local wheat into a system designed to funnel it from the West is more complicated, it turns out, than building a local market for heirloom tomatoes, organic milk or even grassfed beef. The generational knowledge of growing grain on our terrain has been lost. New York is no longer home to regional mills that clean, de-hull and grind grain. And, despite today’s farm-to-table sensibilities, local flour is a hard sell.
The article echoes a similar one from Atlantic Monthly, and also mentions Cayuga Pure Organics from near Ithaca, NY, whose grains and beans we carry in bulk at the co-op. It’s worth a read because now I have a much better sense of the difference between mass produced, interchangeable flours, and those from local farms like Wild Hive in NY and Oak Grove in NJ, which we sell at the co-op. Qualities that make these flours special include flavor, gluten content, and texture. Very good info for bakers, especially.
By the way, I made a vegan cake using the pictured flour with this recipe and my friends could not stop raving about it, but maybe that’s another topic.