Tag Archives: Grain

Year Of The Local: A 12 Step Program- Part 1

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

The reality is that most of us, OFF included, have been bastardizing one of the nicest things about life in our failure to plant, purchase, prepare and eat delicious, natural food. Henry David Thoreau even has 2 cents to add to this idea-“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.”

This month Our Family Farm begins an enticing 12 step program to transitioning the way we grow/buy, prepare and eat food. Our goal is to walk gingerly into this process, thoughtfully researching and making choices to discover and support the people working hard in our area who grow happy, healthy food. And if you don’t mind, we would like to share our discoveries with you in the hope that our experience might allow for a more gracious transition for your family, too. Perhaps you will even share what you are learning with us. All in favor? Onward, then!

Here is what we will be researching, learning about and sharing with you and your family as the year unfolds:

  • Januaryish- Local grains; bread
  • Februaryish- 2009’s food of the year; the egg
  • Marchish- Discover the where and why for raw (it’s not a dirty word) milk
  • Aprilish- Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and plant something, anything
  • Mayish- Buy local, natural chicken (we like the birds from Our Family Farm:)
  • Juneish- Visit a farm, and get to know the people who grow the food you eat
  • Julyish- Pick berries, delicious berries. We will share some of your favorite places for those sweet lil’ devils
  • Augustish- Preserve something, anything. Jam, pickles, sauerkraut, make your own marinara
  • Septemberish- Pet food- give the good stuff to the critters that bring so much joy to your family
  • Octoberish- Stock the freezer with a side of beef
  • Novemberish- Where and why to track down a hog for that sausage, bacon, and ham to get you through the winter
  • Decemberish- You will have to stay tuned. It’s the season for wrapped surprises…

A quick snap shot of what we are learning about grains:

  • They have been eaten for centuries, and it is only since the advent of modern culinary technology we have been able to strip nutritional value from something so pure and perfect.
  • They are perfect: Grains contain all of the components required for a body to assimilate the nutrition there within.
  • When we process grains, we strip their inherent offerings, and ability to do what they were designed to do- benefit us!
  • With a little bit of thoughtful attention to “processing” our own grains, we can usurp most of the health issues associated with this life-giving gift.

Here are a few simple steps we have taken to transition how our family takes advantage of this readily available, highly healthy food.

  1. Learn- Our new friend John Rice recommended an awesome book that we recommend to you; Nourishing Traditions- The Cookbook the Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. It is to food what Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is to American history.
  2. Buy a bread machine- …and make your own bread. That’s right, technology isn’t all bad. We can pick and choose the things that benefit us more that hurt us.
  3. Discover where you can get whole, healthy grains- For those of us in the Southern Willamette Valley we will make it simple for you. There are a few ways to get the good stuff.
    • Get yourself out to the farm, meet the person growing your grain, and build a relationship. Hunton’s Farm is taking land historically used for grass seed, and transitioning it to grow organic food crop like beans, lentils, and grain products.
    • Take advantage of your local wholesaler. We especially like Hummingbird Wholesale for a robust selection of local grains, legumes, nuts, flours, and sweeteners. It’s a wonderland of delights!
    • Find it in the grocery store. Sundance Natural Foods or The Kiva are supporters of the local movement.
    • Start, or join a buying club. Conspire with a group of friends and family to purchase food in bulk, at wholesale prices. If you are interested, ask us about the buying club we are starting.

That’s it. Make it simple, keep it simple. Our Family Farm started with local grain grown at Hunton’s Farm, made into flour and purchased in a 2 pound package at Hummingbird Wholesale (they happen to have retail hours Tuesday-Thursday). We tossed it into a bread machine with a few of the other usual bread suspects, and we have been enjoying delicious, healthy bread all month long. You can do it, too.


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Filed under 12 Step Program, Eugene-Local Eating, Know Your Food, Preparing Food/Recipes

A Relieving, And Tantalizing Turn Of Events

If you are like Amanda and I, eating a local and seasonal menu has been an overwhelming and somewhat scary transition, but one we have been committed to making. On paper, the whole thing looks great! Eating local means there is potential for freshness, potential to know the person who raises the food you will eat (understanding the inputs they use to grow it), potential to save money, potential to utilize more nutrients from your food (those thing break down over time), and you get to support a local farmer working to do good things.

Those things are great, right?! We are more likely to appreciate a meal with those things achieved?

So what are the things that keeps us from walking in the food freedom we hunger for?

First, when we take it from paper to pavement, for Amanda and I, we get overwhelmed. “How the heck do we make bread, and where is grandma when you need her? We need flour, right? What else??” Second, when we take it from paper to pavement we get a little bit scared. “Are we really going to save money when I have to buy all the ingredients? And where am I going to find all the ingredients? I mean, if I buy them from Winco (to save that money), I might as well just buy the loaf already made…from Winco! Seriously, where is grandma when you need her??”

It is a lot to digest, and it is definitely something we should consume one small bite at a time. So, you can imagine the immense relief Amanda and I felt when we discovered the perfect answer to many of our questions. Just a handful of minutes from our home is Hummingbird Wholesale, an oasis of local, natural grains and flour, sweeteners, oils, spices, legumes and beans, nuts, and dried fruits…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is AMAZING!

Hummingbird WholesaleThey declare, “Like the Hummingbird, we seek to sip the nectar of the earth without harming the flower.” These people get it! And if you get the chance to visit their warehouse during their limited retail hours (Tuesday-Thursday, 10AM-2PM) ask for our friend Jimmy, the resident granola guru. He can talk all about the good things lining their shelves.

With the discovery of Hummingbird, Amanda and I are excited to walk into a new season of our eating evolution, and we are eager to share some of the thing we discover along the way, with you. Stay tuned for recipes…

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Filed under Buying Food, Eugene-Local Eating