February 18, 2013

Ancient grains for 21st century tastebuds

Westport mill produces variety of grains, seeds, flours

PLATTSBURGH — Sam Sherman can help you get your freekeh on in the kitchen.

“Freekeh is produced from two different grains,” said Sam Sherman, co-owner of Champlain Valley Milling, located at 6679 Main St. in Westport.

“The German production is made from a grain called spelt, which is harvested in the green stage. And then the outer shell, the hull, is flame roasted off of that unit. In the Middle East, it’s more grown from a hard wheat called durum wheat, and the process is basically the same.”

Freekeh isn’t the grain but what the product is called after the manufacturing process.

“We have a farmer in Central New York who is of German descent. Our freekeh is made from spelt. He produced it and needed to figure out how to now market it,” Sherman said.

Sherman’s wife, Derinda, brought home a grain mix from Texmati.

“We thought about putting a blend together,” he said. “We put a blend together of the freekeh, emmer, which is an ancient grain, and we used basmati-brown rice and rye. So it gives it a very unique flavor.”

Freekeh’s taste is hard to describe.

“When you first bite into it, you can taste some of the flame-roasted pieces of the freekeh. And through the process, you can get some of the basmati-rice flavor in there, and at the end, you can taste the rye flour. So it’s kind of like a unique blend of grains — nice, wholesome whole grains.”

Established in 1985, the mill produces a variety of whole grains and seeds, whole-wheat flours and white flours.

Whole grains and seeds include yellow corn, hulled barley and buckwheat. Whole-wheat flours include pumpernickel rye, old-fashion cornmeal and millet. White flours include Mt. Marcy, creamy-white pastry and meadow white.

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