Fresh Flour News

Flour stories & upcoming grains events

Dear Bread friends,

I’ve been researching my favorite topic, flour and writing some articles. One of them is this op-ed piece for Civil Eats. Having a chance to check in with many mills about what the pandemic did and didn’t do for them, and dream about what grainsheds need to thrive, was really satisfying.

I adore this media platform for the ways it tells the stories of food and farming. So much of food writing is divorced from the conditions that surround the production of our food. Eating is pretty hard to avoid, and all of the choices we can and can’t make reflect our environment, the consolidation of agricultural markets, layers of politics and policies, economic realities for consumers, and the priorities of governments and industry, to name just a few elements. While I love baking and cooking as a creative outlet, and the way it connects me to other people, there is always so much more on our plates than what we see. The stories on their homepage right now, in particular this, on the necessity of reinventing food banks, shows the breadth of their coverage. You can read several stories a month on Civil Eats before they ask you to subscribe; supporting them is well worth the investment.

I’ve also had my head buried in trade industry journals for baking and milling. I like nothing more than looking at these digitized artifacts of flour. You learn so much by reading about evolving industries! I have a story about bagels and another story about a small slice of milling history in the works, and I’ll let you know when they are published. In the meantime, take a look at the trade journals I’ve linked that offer windows on other eras of bread. If you find irresistible tidbits, please share them with me.

There are a lot of virtual bread opportunities on the horizon. If you know of anything else, please share the news below in a comment.

Bread and Generosity

I’ll be moderating this talk with Artisan Grain Collaborative and the Bread Bakers Guild of America on Wednesday, March 31, from 5 - 6:30pm ET. Baker Michele Huggins of Doughp Creations in Granite, Minnesota; Katherine Kerhli, founder of Community Loaves in Washington State; Nate Hogue of Brake Bread in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Scott Mangold from Breadfarm in Bow, Washington will talk about the different mechanisms they’ve developed to share bread in the pandemic. I’ll be talking about AGC’s Neighbor Loaves program, and how it supports the entire grain chain, all the way to food pantries. This talk is free, and you can register here

Bake Sales

There are food related efforts to raise funds to support Asian American and Pacific Islander community groups in the wake of last week’s murders in Atlanta, and the surge in violence against people of Asian descent in America since the pandemic began. Portland, Oregon has a serious Nikkei bake sale this weekend, and Los Angeles is running a sale Sunday. If you know of other opportunities, please share in a comment.

Grain School Public Forum

Saturday April 3, UCCS & Colorado Grain Chain are holding a free public forum “dedicated to the connections grain makes in the community, for the economy, and in celebration of culture and food sovereignty.” I have attended the public forums for the first two sections, and I’m wowed with the programming. Please sign up for the webinar. You will learn a LOT.

Home-Based Food Entrepreneur National Virtual Conference 

This is coming up April 6 - 9. I’ll present a workshop called 'Go Local: Using Regional Grains in your Products,’ encouraging cottage bakers to consider using regional grains and flour in their baked goods. The entire conference will be a boon for anyone working in food from home, and the content will remain available for a while after the remote event. Best of all, it is ONLY $20!! So if you are thinking of starting up a cookie factory from your kitchen, register here

Grains Week

This will take place May 3 – 7, and is a stunning week of grains programming put on by a slew of support groups: Culinary Breeding Network, Oregon State University, Cornell University, UW-Madison, eOrganic, Artisan Grain Collaborative, GrowNYC Grains, Cascadia Grains and the WSU Food Systems Program. This is free, and you can register here. I will be interviewing Jennifer Lapidus, founder of Carolina Ground flour mill about her new book, “Southern Ground.” And Nan Kohler, miller and founder of Grist & Toll, will be interviewing Roxana Jullapat about her new book, “Mother Grains.”

Okay bread friends, time to go downstairs and make pizza. I’ll be putting Calabrian peppers on mine tonight, and the dough is made with farmer from Janie’s Mill and Farmer Ground Flour. What are you baking this weekend?

Your flour pal, Amy