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


  1. Can you get rice? We already got Giustos products through our own buying club but so far local rice has elluded me.

  2. Check out Massa Organics for rice- I believe they are a small family run rice grower along the Sacramento River. Actually what Giustos sells isn't the local flour, they are just processing a small batch of the local flour for Monica and she is distributing it currently. I can let you know when we do our next order if you want to try some.

  3. Great to see this! I've been a member of a grain CSA in eastern BC for several years and was wondering how to fill this food need now that I've moved here. We get whole grains: hard red winter wheat, spelt, oats, kamut

    1. Great- are you in the area? Actually, I am about to make an order for flour- so if you want to join, let me know and I'll send you more info. Wheat berries, flour, and pasta are available.