Monday, October 08, 2007

When It Grains, It Pours

During last month's Eat Local Challenge, I had every intention of stocking up on locally milled grains for baking. Life, however, has a way of happening, no matter what, and by the time I finally got around to calling the good folks at the grist mill, the month was nearly at an end.

Still, knowing that I have a couple months' worth of holiday baking coming up, not to mention baking for my own satisfaction this winter, I called and placed a hefty order:

--four five-pound bags of whole wheat flour
--two five-pound bags of spelt flour
--two two-pound bags of corn grits
--one two-pound bag of graham flour
--one two-pound bag of buckwheat flour
--four one-and-a-half-pound bags of rolled oats

I had arranged to pick them up at Saturday's farmers' market, but plans don't always turn out the way you expect, and the Miller called me at work this morning to arrange the backup plan.

Sure enough, when I arrived home this afternoon, they were waiting for me with all my bags, and they even graciously offered to help carry it all up the stairs for me. (Bet they don't offer to do that when you buy groceries at the big chain stores!)

And when they left, I surveyed my supplies:

Whew! That's a lot of flour power! And what's even more daunting is knowing that most of that won't last me very long, knowing how much I bake.

I've stashed bags in the pantry, in my bedroom, and in the refrigerator, and I still have a couple of strays. (The freezer is not an option since it's pretty well filled to the brim by now.)

I can't tell you what a relief it is to know that I'm set on local grains for now, after waiting so long to restock. I know I could have easily bought the same things at the local co-op (though undoubtedly not for so reasonable a price), but having gotten to know the Miller and his wife last year at the market, I wanted to be able to support their business instead. They're getting older, and I have no idea how much longer they'll be able to do this. (Besides, I missed seeing them!)

So bring on the baking! This Queen is ready to resume a long and productive grain in the kitchen.


At 10/10/2007 8:43 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Delurking to say how much I love your blog, and to ask where you get your grain locally milled. I'm south of Cleveland, in Kent, and am very eager to find more local sources for food. Right now I get my flour from Frankferd Farms which is in PA, about 100 miles away, so it's pretty close, but if there's something even closer, yay!

At 10/10/2007 9:02 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Welcome, Kelly! The grist mill I rely upon is located in Orrville, just off old Rt. 30. They have all the things listed above, plus cornmeal, corn flour, rye flour, and buttermilk and buckwheat pancake mixes. (Can't think of anything else offhand.)

If you're interested, drop me a line at baklavaqueen AT yahoo DOT com and I'll share the phone number (they don't have a web site). You might have to make a run down to the area to get it (don't know if they would ship), but I can always give you ideas on where else to find some good local food around here. ;-)

At 10/10/2007 10:28 AM, Blogger Alyssa said...

Thanks for the info about the mill. I might have to take you up on the offer as well since I haven't been able to find anything but spelt and whole wheat flour around here in Columbus (though I admit I need to try harder), but Orrville is on the way to my parents house in Canton, so it'd be a convenient stop on a trip up to them.

At 10/10/2007 10:36 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Let me know, Alyssa! I am not absolutely sure that all of the grains are locally sourced, though I would think that at least some is grown locally. (I know that the spelt flour I get at the farmers' market from someone else IS local, so I assume that what the grist mill gets is largely local. But hey, I could be wrong.)

If you think you'll be in the area, let me know! I'm just in Wooster. :-)

At 10/11/2007 2:53 PM, Anonymous Mitch said...

How does one even go about finding a local mill? I'd love to get locally sourced grains that are also milled locally, but have never heard of local mills. How'd you find yours?

At 10/11/2007 3:01 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Well, Mitch, the truth is... I got lucky. The folks who run the grist mill started bringing bags of bulk grains to the farmers' market here in town two years ago, and I started buying then.

I did a quick look through the yellow pages and found nothing under mill, wheat, corn... so my suggestion would be to check at a local co-op grocery, farmers at your local market (or one in a nearby city, if you don't have one), or even a local grain elevator (they're taking grain from local farmers, though it may not stay in the area). Good luck!

At 10/12/2007 11:59 AM, Anonymous Mitch said...

Thanks. I've explored buying a home mill and think I can find bulk grain. That may work, too, if I can't locatea local grist mill.

At 10/15/2007 1:05 PM, Anonymous jasmine said...

what are you using the buckwheat for? I have 5 lbs that I bought because it was local and have only used it for crepes which to be honest -- I don't make that often. Maybe I will make some this week. I just got pack from vacation and will email you about this week -- hope you have email access.

At 10/16/2007 6:44 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Mitch, good for you for getting a home mill! I know I can find bulk whole grains at the co-op, so I've thought about that, but I haven't gotten that involved yet.

Jasmine, I've got a couple of recipes using buckwheat flour, but so far I really have only made the pancakes. Would like to try blini this winter, though! Just got to email, so I hope I can catch you.


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