A Localvore is a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally. Many localvore organizations (known as Pods) have sprung up in communities across Vermont. Localvore pods are inspiring their communities to chose local foods, and supporting their local farmers: creating demand for the delicious food grown in Vermont.
Click here to read a great article about Red Hen Baking Company’s all-Vermont bread, “Cyrus Pringle,” made exclusively with grain from Vermont and named after the legendary UVM wheat breeder (article from Vermont’s Local Banquet).
NOFA Bakers Panel News
By Julie Sperling & Doug Freilich of Naga Bakehouse
Red Hen Bakery, Naga Bakehouse, and La Meaunerie Milanaise presented “From Field To Hearth” at the 2009 NOFA Winter Conference. The panel discussed what characteristics make some wheat more suitable for baking high quality bread and to what degree can these characteristics be controlled by farmers and millers? The focus of the panel looked at what we can do to work toward producing high quality bread wheat locally?
The presenters stated, when it comes to local grain growing and consumption, there is an abundance of enthusiasm on the part of many consumers and farmers. But there is a real lack of knowledge when it comes to all the things (on both the growing and milling ends) that must go just right if the resulting flour is going to be suitable for making bread. Lately, there has been a greater push on the part of farmers to start producing wheat suitable for making bread.
Last Fall, a group of farmers and bakers were assembled by the UVM Extension Service for a trip to a mill outside of Montreal to learn about their milling operation and the close relationships they have with the farmers that grow for them. It was eye-opening for all in attendance—whether they were involved in farming, milling, or baking– to see what elements are required in producing high quality wheat.
The panel suggested that we need to continue to educate farmers, millers, and bakers about quality criteria and ways of achieving them if we are ever going to see a real increase in usage of locally grown wheat.
There was lively discussion about the importance of field research, bakers trials, agronomy, technology transfer, and the use of falling number and early harvest techniques to safeguard the quality of wheat.
There was great emphasis on reuniting farmers and bakers to bring about a sense of mutual comprehension of the challenges facing wheat production. Specifically, that farmers need to understand the millers and bakers problems associated with poor wheat quality, and bakers need to understand that farmers do not control Mother Nature.
This dialogue between bakers, millers, and farmers is the first step to increase the farmers awareness of the impact of their growing methods on the bread making process and to sensitize bakers and millers to the fact that wheat is alive and changes each season under different environmental conditions.
In conclusion there was a keen desire on the part of bakers and growers to investigate the use of new varieties of locally grown wheat offering enhanced flavors, pronounced colors and the decreased environmental pressure with reduced transport cost associated with local grain production.