How ya doin'?, 

The Countdown to Summer is on! 

We are within 3 weeks till our Summer Season begins on June 3rd! To celebrate the Countdown, we're sending out a little farming story each week till June finally arrives-- we can't wait to see you at the truck real soon!

We do still have openings for this Summer's share-- don't forget to reserve your spot today!  And please pass this on to friends. Be sure to check out our website for all the good information and to register. 

The quick run-down if you are new to Fresh Fork Market:  We are a weekly grocery subscription to local farms.  We call it a Farm Buying Club. Each week from June through October, our subscribers receive a fresh "grab bag" of local provisions, including fruits and vegetables, meats, cheese, eggs, grains, and more.  Omnivore, Vegetarian, and Vegan dietary plans are available and packages are either $25 per week (small) or $40 per week (large).  You pick the groceries up from one of our refrigerated box trucks at over 20 different area pickup locations.  
 
3 Parts to Every Seed 
 
The three amigos of whole grains. 

Once upon a time, when whole grains were always "whole grain", there were beautiful tall grasses: wheat, spelt & oats.

These grasses grew so tall, and were left to their own devices in the field, so that they went to seed. That seed was then ground (or milled), and low and behold-- we get flour. 

Every one of those seeds has three core components - the bran (fiber), endosperm (starch), and germ (the embryo of the plant).  While all three are essential for the plant to reproduce, each has a specific function.  The bran protects the embryo and its stored energy, the endosperm.  The starch provided by the endosperm helps the new plant break through the ground in search of the sun's energy.  The germ contains the DNA, protein, minerals, essential fatty acids, and more that help the plant grow.  One big happy family. Except not so much in most conventional flour making. 

Why get rid of the good stuff?


The typical "refined wheat flour" that you'll find on the market today has been stripped and then enriched to make up what was removed. This might work for industrial agriculture, but it's not our style. 

By "refined," they mean that the bran and the germ have been removed and often essential vitamins have been added back to the flour to "enrich" it.  Why would one remove these essential pieces?  Well, the bran makes the flour heavy and difficult to use. The germ, with its fatty acids and oils, goes rancid quickly, so if you remove it, the end product flour is more shelf stable. Convenient when products are going to be shipped long distances and stored for a long time. 

Once I understood this, I made a pledge to sell only whole grain products. Working with Stutzman Farms in Fredericksburg, we now have a large variety of whole grain flours.  Monroe's mill doesn't even have the ability to remove the germ: every grain he mills into flour has germ, endosperm, and bran in it.  

High standards for real flour. 


With an eye towards the past and an eye on the future, Monroe respects tradition and looks for healthier crops.
 

He works with only certified organic growers in the surrounding counties and focuses on older varieties of wheat, such as Turkey Red Winter Wheat and Spelt. These grow tall and have naturally small kernels, unlike most modern wheat which has been genetically modified. Today, the wheat you'll typically find out in the field has been bred to be shorter to stand up to strong winds without bending over and to grow larger kernels for bigger yields per acre. Most wheat is traded on a commodity level, so these are very practical concerns for a different type of grower.  

Another thing that sets Monroe apart is how he handles the storage of the crop after its harvest. To summarize, he avoids toxic storage and "improvement" methods. Commercial grain operations have to use toxic fumigants for bugs and rodicides (for mice and rats) that like to dine on their crop.  Monroe stores his tight in clean bins and processes often.   

He also does not practice a technique called "bromiating" the flour. Bromated flour, like most commercial bread flour, is flour that has been treated with potassium bromate, a chemical that allows for rapid oxidation of the flour to allow stronger gluten development and create loftier breads with thick crusts. Eyebrows should raise, however, because potassium bromate is an illegal additive in China and most of the world because it is linked to cancer in lab mice.  It is A-OK in the US.  

 

Don't go breaking my grain. 


We carry a bunch of different types of flours from Stutzman, so now that we broke down what goes into the flour, let's break down your options:


 

The Basic Wheats


 

Hard Red Winter Wheat - higher gluten, better for breads and all purpose baking.


 

Soft Red Winter Wheat - lower gluten, better for cookies and pastries. 


 

Spelt - less gluten, nuttier flavor.  Should be blended with wheat for breads, or exceptional for making a roux for a sauce or soup.


 

The Grinds


 

Whole Wheat - the whole grain grind through.  Specs of bran are evident.   


 

Golden White - a whole grain flour where the larger pieces of bran have been sifted out and only the finer ground pieces are bagged.
 

 

Why do we do this? Because biscuits. 


These flours make darn good breads and rolls-- here is Parker's recipe for Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls. Enjoy!


 

Ingredients
 

2 tbsp warm water 

1 tbsp yeast
1 cup hot milk  
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
tsp salt
1 egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup spelt flour


 

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a separate bowl.
Place the milk in a mixing bowl with the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
 

Add the softened yeast to the milk mixture. Beat in the egg and add the flour. In a stand mixer, use the dough hook to knead the dough. Keep the mixer on lowest speed.
 

Making the dough by hand: Mix half the flour(s) into the liquids and the egg. Continue adding flour and mixing until the dough can be turned out on to the work surface. Begin kneading and continue adding flour until the dough is smooth and can be handled without sticking to your hands.


Place the dough in a bowl that has been buttered. Cover and let the dough double in volume. 


Butter two muffin pans to make 12 rolls. Pull pieces from the dough and create balls about the size of a quarter. Place three of these in each muffin mold. Cover the filled muffin trays with a cloth and let the dough rise again. The rolls will double in size. 

 

Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the rolls out of the muffin pan. Set them upright and brush with butter.

 

 
Our Summer Season begins in just 3 weeks! 
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