Our Wheat Is In!
Rachel, our farm assistant, has been busy since her arrival in May researching how to handle processing the 16 acres of wheat we’ve grown. Since this is our first foray into wheat, we decided to keep a small portion of the harvest for recipe testing and developing. We ended up selling the majority of the harvest to Adams Grain Company and retained about two tons of wheat for ourselves. Post harvest handling for small grain producers who want to maintain ownership of the grains they’ve grown isn’t a simple matter. Most commercial cleaners and millers require a huge lot of wheat in order to single process a farm’s grains. Otherwise, if you grow grain in small batches, it may be processed with other producers’ grains and the product you get back may not be yours alone. Finding a small scale cleaner and miller to process our two tons of grain and ensure that the wheat we receive back from them is ours has been a challenge.
Luckily, we found a cleaner, Colusa Milling, who had the capacity to process our smaller lot of wheat, providing us with 2 tons of clean wheat berries. Our wheat berries were brought back to the farm just last Friday where we are storing them in 55 gallon stainless steel drums. We have a great plan for turning the wheat berries into flour for the kitchen too! Every week we will meet up with our miller, David Kaisel of Capay Mills, at the Ferry Building who will take around 100 pounds of our wheat berries back to his stone mill. David will grind the entire wheat berry. There will be no sifting so both the germ and the bran will be included, making our flour truly whole wheat, and full of the vital nutrients inherent in whole grain flours. The following week, we will bring David more berries and he will bring us freshly milled whole wheat flour. This exchange will continue until we are out of wheat berries. Needless to say, Becky and Anna are very excited to start experimenting in the kitchen with our very own flour. They will be working on recipe testing so that our wheat can be incorporated into our olive oil crackers and some of our pastry, as well as developing recipes for new products. We will be sure to keep you updated on the kitchen wizardry!