Our options for making delicious bread with local wheat have just been expanded!
You may know that, about 3 years ago, we got our first stone mill. That enabled us to start sourcing all of our rye from Thornhill Farm in Greensboro, which we still do today. That Jansen mill has served us well, but ever since Ben Gleason retired, we have missed having a VT source of wheat for our whole wheat flour. Because we use more whole wheat than whole rye, expanding into wheat required that we step up to a larger mill.
These days, when it comes to commercial stone mills, there is one name that is at the top of most peoples’ list. As it happens, the guy who is revolutionizing the world of in-bakery milling happens to be a good friend and is just “up the road apiece.” Andrew Heyn and Blaire Marvin have been the proprietors of Elmore Mt. Bread for over 15 years. When they were inspired to start milling their own flour, Andrew took a look at the available mills at the time and decided that he could do better if he built one himself. This was a bold decision, but one only needs to see the mill he designed and built (and bake with the flour it produces) to know that he succeeded in his mission.
Today, Andrew has a thriving five-year-old business called New American Stone Mills. His mills are shipped all over the U.S. and even around the world. They are widely recognized as one of the very best stone mills made anywhere.
Andrew delivered our mill on the 21st of October and since then we have been milling about 250 lbs. of local grain a day. If you’ve tried our whole bread, or the Kingdom Rye lately, you have experienced bread made entirely with fine-ground, freshly-milled, local grain. Many of our other breads have some of this flour in them too.
These days, an increasing number of bakeries are milling local grain. There are very few that are milling local grain on local millstones! Andrew cuts these stones from Barre granite.
As of today, December 23, 2020 all of the wheat in our 100% whole wheat bread will be coming from Joe Hescock’s Elysian Fields farm in Shoreham, VT. Winter wheat has been a great way for Joe to add organic matter to the soil on his organic dairy farm. He grows grain to feed his cows and also supplements his farm income by selling some hard red winter wheat to bakers. For many years we used Joe’s wheat when he was selling what he grew to Ben Gleason. When Ben retired, Joe had to find a new place to sell his wheat harvest. Now that we have our own mill, we can be that place!
Like many farmers in the Northeast, Joe grows a wheat variety called Redeemer. Redeemer was first developed in Serbia in the mid-1990’s when two wheat breeders there crossed two Eastern European varieties. The family tree for Redeemer shows that it is deeply rooted in Ukraine; a region that is famous for excellent wheat. In the early 2000’s Redeemer became popular with growers in Ontario. We started baking with Redeemer in the fall of 2010 when Tom Kenyon at Aurora Farm started growing it. Soon Ben Gleason began growing it. Perhaps because it originated in a climate similar to ours here in the northeastern U.S, Redeemer has always stood head and shoulders above any other local wheat we have tried. In the last decade, Redeemer has become a favorite local variety for other Vermont bakers as well.
There is a sense of coming full circle to be milling and baking with Joe Hescock’s Redeemer wheat.
The first loaves of this new beginning for our whole wheat bread are hitting the shelves today, December 23, 2020.
We have had to make the difficult decision to close the entire bakery for a short period in order to keep our staff safe. We have had one confirmed COVID case among our staff and in a work environment such as ours, in spite of our strict COVID-safe protocols, we feel that the best course of action is to cease operations until we can be assured that we are providing a safe work environment for our staff.
We are working with State contact tracers and we will post updates to social media and our email list as we know more.
We look forward to being back in action as soon as it is safely possible!
Thank you for your support and stay safe!