We currently grow about 20 acres of wheat, rye, and buckwheat in rotation with forage and row crops. Growing grains in New England provides some unique challenges for farmers. For us a crop is boom or bust. Either we have a lot of beautiful grain – or it can be a complete loss. We are truly at the mercy of mother nature. Most grain growing is done out west because their climate is less humid and they have more reliable dry spells. We need enough moisture that the crop gets off to a good start, but then it needs to be dry when the wheat is blooming in June to prevent molds entering the seed, and very dry again at the end of July when we are ready to harvest. Combine the grain too soon and it will not keep, combine too late and the head will shatter in the field, dropping most of the seed on the ground. One of the advantages of being a highly diversified farm is that during years when our other crops are suffering from drought – we can get a really great crop of wheat.
All our grains are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The crops are harvested late summer to early fall with our Oliver combine. Our seed cleaner removes the chaff and weed seeds and the grain is stored in a warm, dry place in bulk bags or bins. Wheat, Rye, and Buckwheat are available for sale in our farm store most times of the year in 5lb., 15 lb., and 50 lb. quantities.
Our grains are suitable for milling, sprouting, cooking whole, cover cropping in the garden, and as livestock feed. In late summer we often have our own straw available for sale on our farm stand.
*NOTE: As of 05/15/2018 Buckwheat currently SOLD OUT. The 2018 crop will become available in late August.
Our grain is milled into fresh flour for our farm store on a weekly basis. Our Whole Grain Flour contains 100% of the bran and germ, it makes very flavorful and hearty baked goods. Sifted Flour is sometimes also available, it is comparable to a white all-purpose, though it still contains some germ (80% extraction) and is more nutritious than white flour. Our flour is generally sold in 2lb. and 5lb. bags. 25lb. and 50lb. bags may be available depending on supply.
Flours currently available from the 2017 harvest include: Whole Grain Flour from Hard Red Winter Wheat, Whole Grain Flour from Soft Red Winter Wheat, and Whole Grain Rye Flour. 2 lb. and 5lb. bags. (updated 6/4/18)
A few definitions:
HARD wheat has a smaller kernel with a higher proportion of protein to carbohydrate. It contains more gluten and is good for bread baking, though can be used for other baked goods as well.
SOFT wheat has a plumper kernel with a higher proportion of carbohydrate, it is preferred for pastries where gluten development is not desirable.
RED wheat is a ruddy brown color and contains tannins that can make it bitter – or flavorful, depending on the baker.
WHITE wheat is a paler color and has a more mild flavor.
WINTER wheat is planted in the fall and overwinters as a grass, emerging in the spring and getting a head start on the weeds.
SPRING wheat is planted in the spring and is more challenging to grow organically because weed pressure is higher.
STRAW is the stalk of a grain dried and baled for mulching or animal bedding.
HAY is a mixture of legumes and perennial grasses dried and baled specifically for animal feed.
WHEAT FLOUR on an ingredient label means white flour.
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR from the grocery store is generally hammer milled, separating endosperm, germ, and bran into different “streams”, then recombined at varying ratios from various sources. The “red dog” – the coarsest of the bran – is removed. The process often heats the flour reducing it’s nutritional quality.
WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR from Upinngil is either stone milled or milled using a small-scale electric impact mill that does not heat the grain. All the components of the original grain are present.