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February 18, 2013

Ancient grains for 21st century tastebuds

Westport mill produces variety of grains, seeds, flours

(Continued)

Grains and seed mixes are seven grain, freekeh and six-grain. Specialty items are cracked-wheat sifted, cracked-rye sifted and bran.

“At the mill, we’ve always been interested in trying to do things with local crops, and (we are) always experimenting with different things that come along (to) see how we can, one, enhance what a farmer can diversify into and help us on our end to sell something more diversified,” he said.

Emmer is an ancient grain.

“Emmer and einkorn, another ancient grain, are native to the Middle East,” Sherman said. “They were native at the time of the Last Supper, so either emmer or einkorn or a mixture of them were probably the grains that were used to make the bread at the Last Supper. If you’re making whole bread and you want an ancient grain to do it with, emmer would be the product to use.”

Champlain Valley Milling cleans and processes a variety of grains and seeds.

“We brought these up mainly because the spelt is produced in New York. The wheat is produced in New York as well as here closer in Essex County. The pastry flour is also from New York,” he said.

The seven-grain and seed mix is used by bakers to make seven-grain bread.

“Actually, it’s a very nice hot cereal in the morning. We’re augmenting by bringing some of these other things in like the millet, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, U.S. grown, not Chinese,” he said, adding that they carry flax seed as well as quinoa items. 

The products are 100 percent organic and sold wholesale or direct to bakeries and bakery distributors. Clienteles range from local bakers to New England Flatbread, Whole Foods Bakery and Vermont Bread Company.

“We do have a little ... retail outlet that has some of our flour as well as the freekeh mix at the mill,” Sherman said. “Most of the time, people call in if they want flour or larger amounts of flour. They call in and order, and we will do it up for them.”

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