Meet the Growers
Beidler Family Farm – Randolph Center, VT
Owners: Brent and Regina Beidler
The Beidlers are organic dairy farmers who began growing grains in 2004. They have found growing grains to be a positive diversification as the cows provide nutrients for growing grains and the straw in turn is used as bedding for the animals. The two primary grain crops raised on the Beidler Farm are spring wheat and spelt. About 20 acres of their 145 acre farm are grown in rotation on any given year. They sell their whole wheat flour and spelt flour at local markets, including the Upper Valley Food Co-op, and the Hanover and Lebanon, NH Food Co-ops, both in bulk bins and bagged on the shelf. The Beidlers also grow Japanese Millet as a seed crop. Japanese Millet is used primarily as a forage crop on livestock farms. The Beidlers enjoy being able to provide food to their local community and a seed crop to contribute to growing regional seed self sufficiency.
Check out this recent article about the Beidler Family Farm in their local newspaper, The Valley News!
Colrain Seed Farm – Colrain, MA
Owners: Cr Lawn and Eli Rogosa
Colrain Seed Farm is a 12-acre organic farm that integrates rotations of grains, vegetables, cover crops, and wild habitats. They have a fish-duck pond that irrigates a rice paddy of early maturing heirloom rice. They conserve hundreds of rare grain and heirloom vegetable varieties, the best of which are offered through Fedco and the Heritage Grain Conservancy. Owners Cr and Eli are involved in many other projects, including The Heritage Grain Conservancy, a community seed-bank for the conservation of world heritage grains, the development of herbal beers, an annual mid-summer ‘Bread, Beer and Biodiversity Festival,’ and an educational program for K-12 students called ‘Bread from the Earth.’ Heritage grains, fresh milled einkorn and emmer flour, as well as wood-fired baked goods are available at their farmstand, online, and at the Green Fields Market.
Four Star Farms, Inc. – Northfield, MA
Owners: The L’Etoile Family
Four Star Farms has been growing small grains since 2007, using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach (focused management of soil, fertility and pest levels with a sound understanding of the crops they grow and their individual needs). Currently, they dedicate 70 acres of their farm to grains production for human consumption and are proud to be able to grow, process, mill and package all of their products on-site. The L’Etoiles grow four varieties of wheat (two hard red winter, one soft red winter, one soft white winter), spelt, triticale, buckwheat, barley, and Rhode Island White Cap Flint Corn. They currently offer wheat berries, spelt berries, triticale berries, and hulled/whole barley, and also mill their grains into whole grain or bolted flour, and corn meal (coarse and fine). You can find their products at the Brattleboro Food Coop (Brattleboro, VT), Green Fields Market (Greenfield, MA), Millstone Market (Sunderland, MA), Watroba’s Market (N. Amherst, MA), Atkins Farms (Amherst, MA), Cooks Shop Here (Northampton, MA), Valley Green Feast (Northampton, MA), River Valley Market (Northampton, MA), Cornucopia Foods (Northampton, MA), State Street Fruit Store (Northampton, MA), Mass Local Food Coop (Worcester Area), Hager’s Farm Stand (Shelburne, MA), City Feed and Supply (Jamaica Plain, MA), Formaggio Kitchen (Cambridge, MA), and The Wooden Crate (Boston, MA).
Gleason Grains – Bridport, VT
Owners: Ben and Theresa Gleason
Ben has been growing and milling organic wheat on their 75-acre farm for 30 years. The stone ground flours are available at Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, Rutland Area Food Co-op and The Plainfield Co-op as well as City Market Burlington, Healthy Living, and Mountain Greens in Bristol. Other customers include Red Hen Baking Company (their biggest customer) and several other bakeries. Twelve local schools now use Gleason Grains flours in their lunch programs. In addition, 50-lb bags of whole wheat and sifted flours are also available for pickup at the farm. Other crops include black beans, soybeans and clover seed.
Morningstar Meadows Farm – Glover, VT
Owners: Seth and Jeannette Johnson
The Johnsons have been growing organic grains in Glover for seven years. They say that although it can sometimes be challenging to grow grains in Northern Vermont, it is very satisfying to be able to provide consumers with a product from their local area. Morningstar Meadows Farm grows oats, dry beans, and both spring and winter wheat, all for both human consumption and animal feed. All of their products are for sale out of their home in Glover.
For more information, call (802) 525-4672 or (802) 249-6682.
Pastor Blacksmith Farm – Concord, MA
Owner: Heidi Reinhard
Pastor Blacksmith Farm is a very small diversified vegetable farm using primarily bio-intensive farming practices. They decided to try growing barley after attending a beer workshop recently, and 2011 will be their first year growing grains. They have planted about one-quarter acre of barley for human consumption and are hoping to sell to a Massachusetts malt house and a microbrewer in Boston, passing any leftover barley along to their CSA members. When Pastor Blacksmith Farm obtains animals, they will grow grains for both humans and livestock.
Still River Farm – Coventry, CT
Owners: Andrew and Dixie D’Appollonio
Andrew and Dixie grow a few acres of hard red wheat, certified naturally-grown and used for human consumption. They have been growing wheat for a few years and are now looking into flint corn and black soybeans. Wheat berries are available through Still River Farm but most of their product is milled into flour, available directly at the farm or at the Willimantic and New London Co-ops in Connecticut.
Solstice Seeds – Hartland, VT
Owner: Sylvia Davatz
Sylvia grows barley, wheat, oats, and rye as well as experimenting with quinoa, rice, corn, and sorghum. The grains she grows are on relatively small plots, mostly to evaluate them for potential in our area, and to preserve heirloom varieties in order to increase seed and make it available to growers and seed savers. The harvest is mostly for human consumption, although several of the grains have potential for animal feed as well. All varieties being trialed are available to anyone interested in growing, evaluating, and preserving them. Many are offered through the Seed Savers Exchange annual yearbook, and some are listed in Sylvia’s seed catalogue.
Tio Grain Farm – Shoreham, VT
Owner: Ken Van Hazinga
Ken has been growing grains in Vermont for 15 years, first as a farm manager and then on his own farm in Shoreham. He grows winter wheat, soybeans, barley, oats, and clover seed, commenting that he’ll “try to grow most any crop that can be combined.” His grains are used both for human and animal consumption, having been sold to processors as local as his neighbors and as far-flung as Japan. Ken also does custom-combining for other grain growers.