What cold, windy, dry spring weather we’ve been having. All the grain shivers in the field, waiting for the brief moments of warm sun and stillness to put on a few inches of new growth, then hunkers down when these cold winds blow, sucking their sweet moisture out of the dirt, hoping for rain. Do you think plants hope for rain? Do rain dances? Forecast? Weather, climate, change, warming, drying, unpredictable patterns, crop failure, resource scarcity, negative feedback loops… the list goes on, the inevitable outcome of a system that places primary importance on short term profits, using people and the land as disposable inputs, that has elevated greed to the status of a virtue (W. Berry). At Barn Owl we only use organic grain or grain that’s grown organically here on Lopez, and pastured organic dairy products. Why? It’s a long list, but one of the big reasons we hold that organic line is climate change. Wheat that’s grown chemically produces 60% more greenhouse gases than organically grown wheat, and that’s not even accounting for soil carbon losses in conventional farming systems
The biggest single contributor to that equation? Chemical fertilizers! They’re used in enormous quantities on conventional grain to boost protein and yields, the excess runs off into streams and makes those pesky dead zones, and it’s the production and application of these green revolution standbys that single-handedly contributes 40% of the overall environmental impact of a loaf of bread. !!!
Combine that with the added emissions for bringing in flour on the ferries, and locally grown organic grain is looking significantly better for our little planet than off-island chemically grown wheats and flours. And the real kicker? The joy of seeing the process unfold right in front of us, from seed, to the new shoots poking up out of our rocky soils, to the golden shimmer of ripe grain in the wind, to the whir and clank of machinery as clean wheat fills up the totes, the rich earthy smell of fresh stone milled whole grain flour, and that indescribable moment when we crack the oven door to peak in at the baking loaves… and they’re flat as pancakes! ha! Sometimes they also look like regular bread.
It’s a wild process, and I don’t know why exactly we think we can make bread and a living doing all this in the hardest way we can possibly think of, but it’s a lot more fun and a whole lot more rewarding, and maybe in its own very tiny small way a form of protest against a corrupt and unjust system that if left unchecked will eat up the earth. So thank you for making it happen, week after week!
p.s. This week all of the wheat in our breads and pastries come from Lopez and the Skagit valley.
I’m going to leave all the descriptions the same because our baker Arthur got sick and I’m filling in so I’ve got bread in the oven and I don’t want to burn it, so goodnight and see you Saturday for another rip-roaring episode of the Lopez Island Farmer’s Market, maybe with some farmers this week!
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Wild Leavened Breads
Country Bread- The daily bread
Miche – This this my favorite bread to describe at the market because I get to use such delicious words such as “custardy” “meaty” “toothy” “creamy” “chewy” all in one sentence.
Super Seedy – BOOM.
Millet Apircot – a beautiful and tender bread that is a touch sweet and perfect with a nice cheese. (we like it with manchego or chevre)
Fortuna Hearth – 100% Lopez Whole Grain is this bread’s story, from tiller to toast.
Mountain Bread- our danish style rye, ready for adventures in the wild or a lazy Sunday tea break at home.
Tordu- spiraling on through Spring
Sandwich – A simple sliced bread for toast and kid friendly lunches.
Gluten Free Pan Loaf – Naturally Leavened rice flour and a whole grain porridge make this wheat-free bread a real delight when you’re gluten free living.
Lopez Sandwich – Made with Lopez grown Cara wheat flour and Skagit grown flour, a simple sliced bread for tea and sandwiches.
Wild Leavened Treats
Rhubarb Scones – The first of many, loaded with rich pink tartly tropical rhubarb chunks, all swirled up in our all Lopez grown whole grain buttery rich all wild leavened scone dough.
Gluten Free Rhubarb Scones – a delightful wedge of sweet oats and fruit
Maple Vanilla Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll – These spirals warm your soul.
Chocolate Croissants: Take one of these on a nice walk, and look out at something really beautiful and just feel so happy through and through. We know this pastry can do that.
Savory Croissant Twist – get your greens and pastry fill in one bite!
Savory handpies– A picnic in the waiting. Roasted squash, tons of greens, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onion, 3 cheeses, herbs, garlic.
Flabreads – loaded with island grown veggies
Rhubarb Custard Galettes – The first blush of spring, effervescent and sparkling, tart and aromatic, the season of the rhubarb is here, all lined up and lovely on their bed of rich custard made with Henstooth eggs. Half island grown wheat.
Rose Petal Shortbread- Butter and Roses, this is a lovely moment in time.
Feel free to email to have us set aside baked goods, either at the bakery or at the market.