It's all about the grain
Ben and I started Little Hat Creek Farm because we wanted to have a positive impact on our local food system. As a baker, my job is to connect you, a member of our community of eaters, with grain that we purchase from our regional millers and farmers.
Wonder what motivates me to do what I do? This is it.
Here is the breakdown of our flour and grain purchasing through June (Jan-June 2018).
We are pleased that right now about 35% of our flour was grown in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania.
But we want to do better. That is why I am so excited to be a part of the Common Grain Alliance, a new non-profit with the mission to rebuild a regional grain economy in Virginia and surrounding areas.
When we are baking, we think about the person that is going to eat our bread. But we also think about the miller who milled the flour, and the grower who grew the grain. And if we don't know those people, we think about how to change that. You will notice the percentage of regional milled flour is higher than the percentage of regionally grown flour. This makes sense, because as bakers, we interface directly with the miller, who talks to the grower.
When I talk about "traceable grain" I mean that I can name the miller and the farmer.
Traceable grain is grown for a regional market, not a commodity market, positioning it squarely in the local food movement we want to support. But because the CGA is so new, most of that grain comes from outside its reaches, so in the ingredient lists below, I also break down how much comes from our CGA members. Most of our products contain a little CGA flour, but I want to increase those numbers.
How you can help
Sign up for any of our Community Bakery Shares, because every food economy depends on its community of eaters. Do you like to bake at home? Become a member of the CGA. We are applying for funding to support workshops and other educational programming to help home bakers access regional grain. Tell your friends.
Read a little more about the bread you eat, below. Then taste the difference regional grain makes. And thank you for your support!
- BEST DEAL: Common Grain share $6/week This is where your dollar will go the farthest to directly support our work in getting the brand-new Common Grain Alliance off the ground. Commodity flour is good for every product; that is its strength, but it also betrays its anonymity. Regional flour is usually less flexible, but I believe it is the baker's job to find the product(s) that allow it to shine. All breads in this share will be relatively simple whole grain breads, because the point is to feature the flavor of the more than 50% CGA grain they will contain. Please manage your expectations, though; local flour is variable, so these breads may not always work out perfectly (hence the lower price). But we thought you might like to be a part of the development process.
- Multigrain sourdough share $7/week Our signature blend of ten organic grains and seeds in an easy-to-eat and flavorful bread. Nutty, moist, and tender. Ingredients: water, stoneground wheat flour*, wheat flour*, multigrain flour (oats*, brown rice*, barley*, corn*, buckwheat*), leaven (water, wheat flour*), seeds (sunflower*, flax*, pumpkin*, sesame*), sea salt *organic/sustainably grown Traceable grain 53% regional (NC or VA) grain, 6% Common Grain Alliance grain.
- Danish rye sourdough share $4.50/week Maybe you like it in the morning, with plenty of butter and a good fig jam. Maybe you like it for lunch, open-face, with a sturdy goat cheese and fresh cucumber. Maybe you like it for dinner, piled high with smoked meat and a good mustard. If you like it, you love it. Ingredients water, whole rye*, seeds* (sunflower, flax), sea salt, whole rye* sourdough starter *organic/ecologically grown Traceable grain 100% regional (NC or VA) grain, 31% Common Grain Alliance grain.
- Farmhouse sourdough share $7/week An easy-eating white sourdough sandwich loaf. We experimented with adding more whole grain to this bread this summer, but the kid in us prefers it a little whiter. You know, for your classic egg & cheese breakfast sandwich. Ingredients water, wheat flour*, stoneground wheat flour*, whole rye flour*, sea salt, sourdough starter (wheat flour*, water), rye sourdough starter (whole rye flour*, water) *organic/ecologically grown Traceable grain 28% regional (NC or VA) grain, 12% Common Grain Alliance grain.
- Sesame spelt share $7.50/week The dark horse of the lineup, this sandwich bread has a way of being quietly unforgettable. 100% whole grain, not a sourdough but still slow fermented, and ever-so-slightly sweet. Ingredients whole spelt flour*, water, sesame seeds*, Hungry Hill honey, sea salt, yeast *organic/ecologically grown Traceable grain 100% regional (PA or NC) grain.
- Croissant share $7.67/week Treat yourself to two buttery, flaky pastries every week. You could do worse--ours are made with all Irish grass-fed butter, organic flour, plus a little whole grain flour. Besides, you deserve it. We will deliver: (3-week share) butter, chocolate, and almond; (4-week share) butter and almond once, chocolate twice; (5-week share) chocolate and almond twice, butter once; Ingredients: wheat flour*, water, stoneground wheat flour*, stoneground spelt flour*, sea salt, sourdough culture (water, wheat flour*) *organic/ecologically grown Traceable grain 15% regional (PA ,NC, or VA) grain, 2% Common Grain Alliance grain.