Locally grown grains

This article was originally published in October 2012

Fertile acres of golden grain were a much more common sight in the Northwest before 1950, and the owners of the two exclusively organic mills in our region are doing their part to spark a renaissance.

Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop, Wash., has been growing 100 percent heirloom grains in the Upper Methow Valley since 2005. In that time, they’ve garnered a host of followers of their products, including renowned regional chefs. Owners Brooke and Sam Lucy deliver the highest-quality “plow-to-package” products by growing, harvesting, wood curing and milling their grains on a biodynamic farm featuring its own custom-built, old world, wooden granary. Bluebird’s signature crop is emmer farro — a tender and nutty ancient wheat that is high in protein and low in gluten. Also available: Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries, Old World Cereal Blend and Potlatch Pilaf.

Iconic Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill in Burlington, Wash., began as a cooperative in Bellingham in 1974 before it was bought by Kevin and Matsuko Christenson in 2007. They’ve since moved production to Burlington, where they’ve been able to expand production and add a second mill. They produce superior whole grain flours — coveted by artisan bakers — by milling in small batches and by cultivating relationships with local farmers. In the past few years, Fairhaven has dramatically increased its purchase of grains from Washington farmers, including hard red wheat and buckwheat from Williams Hudson Bay Farm, a PCC Farmland Trust preserved property. Fairhaven mills ground Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Yellow Cornmeal, Barley Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Oat Flour and more.

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