Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mid-May, 2008 – In search of flour

The kids and I were gone for a week in mid-May, joining my parents on the trip to Kansas to see my grandmothers and extended family. One grandmother had turned 80 in April and the other was turning 90 while we were there so we were headed to celebrate. I left my seedlings in Kevin’s care and set out to visit family and procure flour.

You see, the type of wheat that has sufficient gluten to rise for breads and baked goods is typically not grown in Illinois. I knew this, of course, having grown up with both sets of grandparents farming wheat in Kansas, but I keep hoping I would find someone who was having success with it here in Illinois.

Until I find that person, I need another plan as I feel that flour will be an important staple for us this year. Our project has not even started and I find myself invoking the Travel Clause. Anything we procure that comes from within 100 miles of a location we visit on our travels (somewhere we are going anyway) is fair game for us to return with and use. So I went to Kansas with a secondary motive… to find "local" flour.

My original expectation was to purchase a 50-pound bag of wheat from one of the grain elevators in either of my grandmothers’ towns. We have two small hand-operated mills that we received as wedding gifts and I just figured they would finally get put to constant use. However, my dad did an internet search for organic flour grown and produced in Kansas and found several producers and options, the easiest of which I must admit to taking.

Hudson Cream Flour is produced in Stafford County, Kansas from wheat grown by Stafford County farmers. Stafford County just happens to be about 75 miles due south of Luray, the town where my maternal grandmother lives. Perfect! What made it so easy, though, is that Hudson Cream Flour (whole wheat, unbleached, or bleached) is sold in Dillon’s stores throughout Kansas. On a routine trip to the grocery store I picked up 60 pounds (30 whole wheat, 30 unbleached white).

I returned home relieved to know that we would at least have bread but Kevin teases me for having cheated. I’m still searching for a producer in northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin (or even parts of easter Iowa!) who is growing the type of wheat I need but if I don’t find them, I have a back-up plan. I know I’ll return to Kansas within the year but, not wishing to incur Kevin’s teasing, I intend to ask my uncle to set aside a 50-lb bag when he harvests his field this June. Kevin says it’s less cheating if we grind our own (or have it ground at a local grist mill… more to come on that plan!). Does anyone know a farmer in my area who grows the right type of wheat?

1 comment:

VI said...

I have sources for local flour, let me know if you still need.