Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A local grain infrastructure?

The flour in these bags comes from wheat that was grown 65 miles from the Bay Area in the Capay Valley. It was milled and packaged in San Francisco by Giustos, a family run milling company that is amenable to processing and storing the currently rather small amounts of this local wheat, and came to our house by way of a woman named Monica Spiller who has been working to connect local farmers with appropriate grain seed for our area, and the wheat itself to bakers and eaters.

We are so accustomed in the Bay to hearing about local food and growing our own greens and tomatoes and knowing where our eggs and cheese comes from. However grains, a large proportion of our diet, are mostly still part of a large system these days, and even in this mecca of local foodism one can't necessarily find local grains without a bit of a search.

Our current grain system, from the growing of wheat, to the processing, shipping and eating of it, compromise and degrades soil health, uses many fossil fuels in growing and transportation, and lacks the nutritional benefits in the final product becoming a food that no longer is full of the health giving properties it once had, but now makes us sick.

I recently learned that the protein content of wheat is directly proportional to the health of the soil it was grown on, and thus the 12-13% protein of this Sonora wheat, compared to 7% of conventional white flour these days, is an interesting figure to consider.

It's quite exciting to have this pile of flour bags sitting in our living room, ready to be distributed to a number of friends, neighbors, and a restaurant, because it's the sign of an infrastructure of an appropriate size being rebuilt.

And of course, the thought of delicious bread to come...

If you are interested in becoming part of a regular buying club of local organic flour and pasta, or want to start your own, email me at trilibite (at) hotmail.com

The Whole Grain Connection is a wealth of information including recipes, history,
and lots of information about various wheat varieties: www.sustainablegrains.org