Hello lovely bread folks out there in bread land,
We’re coming into May all fired up and running around the island, planting grains, picking up fresh milled flour from Steve, dropping of seed for the farmers, hustling like crazy to keep our little local grain economy flourishing. Then we mix in long days at the Grayling working on the new bakery space, watching our new home emerge out of the old shell of this crazy old building, and the many many trips to Sunset hardware. All the while muttering prayers to the rain gods to send some clouds in to get our little grain seeds off to a good start. It’s a good full season overflowing with promise and hope and joy and beauty.
A few updates with the grain since I’m here:
We received a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant this year to continue our work with heritage grains. We’re working with Dr. Brook Brouwer to measure the impact of seeding rate and fertilizer treatment on the agricultural peformance and baking quality of landrace wheat. !!!! What the heck does all that mean? It means that we get to dig deeper into one of fundamental questions here at Barn Owl: Can we grow grain for our bread that builds soil? That has a long term net benefit to the fields of our island? That captures and stores carbon in organic matter while at the same time putting bread on our table? Those are lifelong questions, and right now it feels to exciting to be embarking on that journey of observation, analysis, and technique.
Thanks to Ron Norman we planted out some of the seed that we’ve been growing for the last four years. He put in two acres of Hourani, a beautiful ancient durum wheat that has enormous golden kernels and amazing drought tolerance, and two acres of Bishop, an early twentieth century variety of hard white wheat with a rich buttery flavor. He also put in 7 acres of Fortuna, our standby hard red spring wheat down at the corner of Center and Ferry. So as you’re driving to catch a boat or coming up for the weekend, look out at the field of fresh sprouting green grain and see your future bread.
We seeded a collection of alternative grains last week: buckwheat, amaranth, flax, black cumin, fenugreek, breadseed, and camelina. We’ll see how they do in non-irrigated conditions. Our goal is to grow those crops in the field in rotation with our wheat, but to do that we need to select for some seed that can tolerate our dry summers. A multi year project for sure!
We also put in a nice big patch of sugar beets! Be on the lookout for all Lopez grown sugar in our pastries come fall of 2019.
Blake tilled up an acre or so on his farm there at Rita’s on Center across from the tennis courts and we’ll be putting in our collection of Swedish landrace wheats, which we also get to test bake with for the first time this weekend! See below!
And honestly I’ll stop there because if I kept on listing all the fun grain stuff we’re up to right now it would bust out the seams of this little email.
The take home message here is that you should come down to Midnight’s Farm Wednesday morning, 5/8 for some fresh, warm out of the oven baked goods make with Lopez grown heritage grain.
AND THIS IS IMPORTANT!
This weekend is the Lamb, Wool, and Goat festival down at the community center and we’ll be sampling out our test bakes of the 2018 crop of rare, ancient, heritage, and landrace grains we grew. Should be fun! Come down, grab a lamb burger, spin some wool, and taste the terroir of grain.
At the bakery tomorrow we’ll have:
Country Bread – your daily bread. It’s good old, it’s special fresh.Millet Apricot- tucked in morsels of toothiness and sweet
Sourdough Croissants and their Chocolate variation – these really are pretty special 25 minutes out of the oven. Heritage grain, whole pastured butter, goodness. Hard to find, and here you are!Rhubarb Scones -Spring is quietly dipping her toe…Savory veggie hand pies – a quick savory bite loaded with island grown goodness straight from the farms of Lopez, all local!Puff Pastry Pizzas – NESTO!Apple Butter Buns – rich condensed apple butter cinnamon butter, all twisted up in our naturally leavened laminated dough.Rhubarb Custard Galettes- sweet, tangy, rich, and vibrating with that rhubarb energySprouted Lopez Whole Grain Rosemary Shortbread- has a following….
Other goodies too, just can’t think of them all right now.Mostly self serve, Arthur and Ona will be around to field any pressing concerns or delightful conversation, we’ll see you all tomorrow.Thank you!!!Barn Owls