The Oregon grain to table movement is on the rise as craft food and drink artisans look to local farmers to fill their grain needs. A number of successful farmer-producer partnerships have taken shape to their mutual benefit and beer, bread and barley are coming out on top. Unsung heroes of Oregon’s renowned small bakeries and producers are the handful of organic grain farmers growing quality raw goods for Oregon craft producers across the state. Check out the farms and artisans having success in the trend for local sourcing:
For Central Oregon’s Hunton Farm, now in its 3rd generation of agricultural production, their family-owned Camas Country Mill was the natural extension to meet a growing demand for organic grains and legumes. Portland’s Tabor Bread and Eugene’s Pasta Gardner both have a strong relationship with the Mill. Baker Nicole Cappuccitti explains, “Local sourcing is all about supporting your local foodshed, wherever you may be. In our case, Camas is the closest farm that is at a production level that can meet our supply needs at Tabor Bread . Camas grows the grains that make the most sense for the climate and conditions of the area, which in some ways dictates what types of products we are making.”
Further south, Dunbar Farms, a fourth-generation urban organic farm located on the outskirts of Medford, developed a shared-value Oregon grain-to-table partnership with Applegate Valley bakery, Rise Up! Artisan Breads. Dunbar’s organic whole wheat, grown and milled at the farm, has been the perfect match with the bakery’s commitment to handcrafting their popular line of crusty ciabatta, sourdough, foccaccia, and other grain-based breads free of GMO’s, chemicals and preservatives. With Dunbar’s grains and flours available online and at their Honor Barn Farmstand, home bakers can also experience the flavor difference with local grains.
Bakeries aren’t the only artisans that favor Oregon grains. Lola Mulholland, owner of the three-year old startup Umi Organic, sources regionally-grown barley for her inspired organic ramen noodles, the first fresh ramen in the country. Now, in an effort to extend her sustainability commitment, out-of-date product is being transformed into small batch whiskey in partnership with Stone Barn Brandyworks. Watch for the first bottling later in 2018.
Central Oregon’s high desert is home to Mecca Grade, grain farm and malt house for Oregon’s rising beer industry. Using the same attention to growing practices and methods as winemakers, Mecca Grade provides a malt that gives brewers the ability to create flavors often unachievable with commercially-grown products. Their local malt is the essential ingredient for character profiles preferred by several of Bend’s notable craft breweries, including The Ale Apothecary, Worthy Brewing, and GoodLife Brewing Company.
Your next crusty loaf or beer in hand might just have an unsung hero…a local farmer.