August 20, 2007

Moving down the food (processing) chain

This month, it seems like I can get most of my basic food needs around Tompkins County. It's a great time to Buy Local: Taste the Difference!, as a current campaign would have it. This weekend they had a Farm Trail Open House. While it didn't include any Dryden farms, it did include one place on the Caroline-Dryden border that produces a key food I thought I'd have to look toward Rochester to find: wheat.

The Historical Society had a booth at Judy's Day a few years ago. We had been asked to present information on wheat. We didn't think at the time that there was much wheat grown in the Town of Dryden, but as it turns out, Cayuga Pure Organics had 30 acres of hard wheat growing in a corner of the town. I just bought 50 pounds of it (for $40), while visiting them at the Open House.

Wheat at Cayuga Pure Organics.
Cleaned wheat at Cayuga Pure Organics.

It was fun to see the cleaning process in action, and I'm happy to report that the wheat I bought seems very clean, much cleaner than some other wheat I'd bought in smaller quantities.

Doing something with wheat usually means grinding it, though. Fortunately, we'd already decided to invest in a small but powerful mill, the "Family Grain Mill", which easily turned that wheat into flour with one attachment and into flakes - tasty instant hot cereal - with another. (I suspect the flour mill is the furthest-out unusual thing we'll get in our eating local project, but who knows.)

Milling whole wheat flour.
Milling whole wheat flour.

Finding wheat grown in Dryden was a pleasant surprise, vastly more local than I had expected. They'll also eventually have soft wheat, oats, and spelt, which we'll be using for more of our cooking.

I've posted a gallery of photos of our adventures with wheat, if you'd like to see more.

The main item missing from our local food collection right now is salad oil, which I'm sure we'll find soon enough!

Update: My 10-year-old bread machine made a tasty loaf of Angelika's dense bread with pumpkin seeds using this new flour.

Bread made from fresh whole wheat flour.
Bread made from fresh whole wheat flour.

Posted by simon at August 20, 2007 7:00 AM in , ,
Note on photos


KAZ said:

Maybe try calling around to the biggest local wineries in search of grapeseed oil?? It's a natural byproduct of producing wine, and it's beloved in France. Someone must be selling it.