The idea of locally grown bread has been floating around our region for decades, but with high quality grain flooding the market the economics simply weren’t there. Two winters ago, when grain shortages began to rear their ugly head and commodity prices rocketed up, we decided the time was right and struck out to develop localized grain production right here in our precious Valley. We immediately teamed up with the New England Small Farm Institute, White Oak Farm (located at NESFI), Stockbridge student Adam Dole and interested community members to pursue this dream. Many folks said we were foolish and that it simply could not be done in this region. On the other hand, many folks shared this dream with us, lent their support and stepped out on a limb with us. A famous 16th century philosopher said, “All great truths go through three stages. First they are ridiculed, then they are violently opposed, and then accepted as truth”. Fortunately violence has been avoided for the most part in our area (Haitians and Ethiopians haven’t been so lucky due in part to “cheap” grain from the the USA undercutting their local agriculture), but there are many people who still don’t believe in comprehensive local and regional food systems. To them I say. . .just wait, it is inevitable. We are on the verge of a new era. Globally available fuels, oil and food, will not remain in their current abundance and even if they did(statistics from many highly regarded annalists show they will not) the Earth’s environment and our ability to thrive in it would be gravely undermined. There are indeed limits to growth and we are beginning to come face to face with them. As put by the Transition Towns Initiative, “We are all in Transition – the question is, do you ignore it and hope it goes away, or do you work to shape the transition, and create a beautiful (but very different) future”. A cleaner future, a healthier future, a more localized future, a know and depend on your neighbors future, if you will a more respectable future. If you want to know more about the burgeoning food crisis, we highly recommend both the Earth Policy Institute, and the Transition Towns Handbook (available at Wheatberry), or check out the Transition Towns website.
As you may know we’re grab the bull by the horns kind of folks around here. And we did. After two years of very hard work, by many people, we are thrilled to be feeding 150 families and locavores with locally grown grains and beans, and excited to be able to offer in addition a “bread share” at Wheatberry, using 100% locally grown wheat and Spelt! The wheat we’re using is from Alan Zuchowski (you may remember seeing it dry in his tobacco barn), grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers on gorgeous Hadley soil, at his Lazy Acres Farm. We baked a test batch of this bread last week at the bakery and it was stunning – both in appearance and flavor. One claim was that local wheat couldn’t possibly make good bread – It is now safe to say, that presumption was simply incorrect. Please observe the following unclassified documents (below).
Springing!Viola!…100% Hadley grown, Amherst milled and baked wheat bread.
I think Sarah said it best!
The Local Bread Shares will be $175 for a 6 month share, with one loaf of bread once a week. There are only 40 shares available. Checks can be dropped off (or mailed to) Wheatberry, 321 Main St in Amherst MA. Once we have the first twenty families, we’ll tell you the pick up day and time, and we’ll start making some more of these truly special, delicious loaves. Thank you again to all who have helped make this day possible – as we’ve said before, We make the road by walking.