Friday, September 17, 2010

A Noah's Ark of Heritage Grains

After our half marathon on Saturday, and a very good night’s sleep, Jess and I decided to start our Sunday by planting some rare grains. Several weeks ago I received this email in my inbox:

Sunday Sept 12
UMass Organic Farm
Join us to plant a Living Seedbank of rare world grains on the verge of extinction.
As we face unprecedented climate change, it is urgent to regenerate the almost-lost
robust varieties that have evolved over millenia of weather challenges and harsh climates.
10 to 1- Plant Rare Grains from World Genebanks and Traditional Farmers
Visit: for more information

Heritage grains are heirloom varities that are on the verge of extinction thanks to mass agrictulture. A group of researchers at UMASS Amherst are raising these grains to test their practicality in Massachusetts as a grain supply. By creating a community seedbank, they are hoping to have a Noah's Ark of resilient varieties.

We got out fingernails dirty and went to work. We were pretty speedy for a pair of “city girls” something another volunteer commented on.

jess doin work

The people were very sweet and upon departure we were handed a small loaf of bread, made from local Einkorn wheat.

In true rustic/hippy fasion we bite right into it.

Portable lunch.

Deerfield and the area near Sugarloaf Mountain are just gorgeous.

This year Annabelle, Jess and I split Local grain CSA from Pioneer Valley Farm in Western Mass and have been enjoying it. The wheatberries and oats were great, now I need to work on making more bread. Luckily they have set up some forums for people to share recipes and storage tips. The one thing I have noticed about the grains is that they are not ground as fine as many commercial flours, but have a wonderful flavor! We kept some of them whole grains (wheat and rye berries) but ground much of it into whole grain flours. I made cornbread with the dent corn and whole wheat flour for the first Slow Food BU meeting of the semester.

If you love Local Foods and are in the Boston Area I highly recommend you come to the 1st (ANNUAL) Local Food Festival!
There are going to be lots of Demonstrations (check out this list!!)

  • Bik Ng and Edith Murnane (City of Boston)- Asian cooking
  • Didi Emmons (Haley House, Roxbury) - family vegetarian cooking
  • JJ Gonsen (Cuisine en Locale, Somerville) - winter cooking with local grains
  • Lourdes (Fioran di Nonna, Somerville) -fresh mozzarella making
  • Chef Garcia (Pejamajo Café, Holliston)- sustainable cooking and crepes
  • Robert Grant (Butcher Shop, Boston) - butchering a fore quarter of veal
  • Matt Jennings (Farmstead of Providence, RI) - whole hog butchering and tips on pork
  • Tom Daly (Savenor's of Boston and Cambridge) -whole goat butchering and auctioning off cuts of goat to benefit a charity
  • Sportello (Fort Point, Boston) - Pasta making
  • Fish ThrowDown - (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance-Gloucester)
  • Fish Filet-- (Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance-Gloucester)
  • Chef Big Mo- (M&M Barbeque- Roxbury) - how to barbeque brisket and ribs
  • Chef Singh (Singh's Roti of Uphams Corner, Dorchester) - cooking roti at home
  • Corporate Accountability - healthy family eating and "retire Ronald McDonald"
  • Haley House Youth Projects-healthy and sustainable eating choice
And there's also a
Local Beer Tasting where you can sample some delicious locally brewed beers and mead (yes, mead!) at the Boston Local Food Festival's Hosted in the outdoor grotto of the Daily Catch, the Local Beer Tasting will take place from 12 pm - 5 pm with as many as nine locally crafted beer suppliers available.

For more information and schedules, be sure to check out their website, I'm so excited!

Do you take extra measure to buy local and sustainable food? Do you think it is worth the effort and cost?

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