Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Happy Thing: Locally Milled Grains

**1/14/10 Update: Great River Organic Milling products now available at Amazon.com  (Keyword Great River Organic Milling) **

I have to admit, I entered the month-long local eating challenge with a bit of trepidation. Sure, we'd done great during the Milwaukee challenge... but, that challenge was only two weeks long. And there was at least one product that I was a bit concerned about -- flour. I didn't include flour (or cornmeal) among our exclusions for the challenge -- mainly because I was determined to find local sources for both products. But, I wasn't altogether certain that I'd meet with success. I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I was to happen upon two fantastic products from Great River Organic Milling in Fountain City, Wisconsin. Our local co-op carries both their whole wheat pastry flour as well as their stone-ground corn meal -- both items that I was running low on, and that I hoped to find a local source for. The first thing I noted about the flour when I opened the bag was the incredible smell that wafted out. Never before have I smelled flour that gave off such an essence of wheat. The same experience greeted me as I opened the bag of corn meal. This stone-ground meal was soft and fine -- which a distinctive corn aroma. The down side of the Great River products is that they cost at LEAST double the price that I'm used to shelling out for flour and cornmeal. But, it feels good to know that (right now at least) I have the money to put toward supporting a local milling company that seems to produce a great product. As I was packing the grains up into jars for storage in the fridge, I found myself getting oddly giddy over the idea of baking. And seriously encouraged about our local eating prospects.

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  1. I think one of the coolest things is that if the flour and cornmeal smell good already... well just imagine what a BAKED good smells like! That's going to be multiplied delicious by a thousand :)

  2. I don't even know if we have a co-op. I'd love to buy local but our grocery monopoly makes it hard....we don't even have a Whole Foods!

  3. You're lucky to have this sort of thing. There isn't much locally milled stuff in my area. I know that there is one historic site that's an old colonial manor and it has a big mill. They do demos of the mill and grind corn and wheat there and they sell what they grind for the demos, but it costs and arm and a leg in their gift shop.

  4. It's true. We really are lucky to have so many resources available to us for local buying/eating. Even HERE. In Wisconsin!

    Our local eating endeavors have been made SO MUCH easier because of our co-op. They are committed to carrying as many locally produced products as possible, so in some ways, they do a good percentage of the work for us!

    It's where we buy all of our meats, most cheeses, and any produce that we can't find at the farmer's market. I even found locally made frozen pizzas the other day while I was there!

  5. Which co-op? Any joining restrictions?

    I remember working for Outpost in its original location (my sister was one of the first members).

    I haven't had co-op connections out here in the sticks for quite a few years. I certainly miss them!

    (And did the squash/beer soup disappear? I see reference, but get "does not exist".)

  6. Jinx - It's Outpost.
    No joining restrictions. Just a sign-up and annual fee. We're lifetime members at this point. And our membership has paid off in spades.

    And yes. The Squash Beer Soup is coming, I promise! It was a gaff -- got published before its time, sans photos and recipes and all that. oops!

  7. How wonderful, I can't wait to see your baked goods!

  8. It's hard for me to pay more for staple ingredients that are normally cheap, but I've started to get used to the idea that sometimes it's really worth it!

  9. Sara - I know what you mean! And there was a time in my life when I couldn't have done it. But, these days it's nice when I can afford local (and presumably high quality) ingredients. We'll see if the flour pays off!

  10. Your local produce is also organic! That's the greatest news! Looking forward to see what you will bake with these goodies! :)

  11. blonde duck -
    Here is a link to a co-op directory: http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm
    Maybe there is something in your area?

  12. A challenge like that and you discover great local treasures because that's what I think they are, treasures in every way. I get just as excited as you did but unfortunately the price can be a major set back.

  13. That looks like awesome flour. Wish we had some here.

  14. I think it is so cool that you sourced local grains. Sadly, I don't live in Wisconsin and cannot take advantage of your discovery. You have inspired me to get my act together and find a similar producer here in Northern California!


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