It used to be that the only selection of milled flours available to consumers in grocery stores was good ol’ All Purpose Flour. There’scCake flour, pastry flour and whole wheat…but they all seem to be treated with additives or come from two or three hugely recognizable brands, and trucked in from who knows where. And let’s face it: lately wheat has been getting a bad rap, with more and more trembling citizens afraid of a slice of bread, thanks to the frankenwheat that now passes for food.
Luckily for us there are many more options available to consumers, thanks to artisanal grain growers like CIPM Growers and Millers of Organic Grains, and many of them are grown basically in our own backyards.
Located in the Spry Settlement just north of Stirling, Ontario, the CIPM farm has acres and acres of rolling fields bordered by forest on all sides, the soil perfect for cereal production. The fields are organically farmed, rotating spelt, Red Fife, soybeans, rye, flax, hemp, oats and buckwheat among the 56 fields, with red clover underseeding the grains to enrich the soul with nitrogen. Now you know what’s going on in that beautiful farmland north of the 401.
“For several years, CIPM has grown a heritage spring wheat called Red Fife, a variety brought to Canada by David Fife of Otonabee township in 1842. This variety proved to be less prone to disease, matured earlier and became the main spring wheat variety grown across Canada and the northern United States for the next 60 years. It was largely responsible for giving Canada the title of the “Granary of the World “- from Harvest
If you haven’t tried Red Fife wheat, you are missing out. Stone-milled into a whole-grain flour, none of the essential nutrients that are often lost in conventional milling are left behind; the bran, germ, kernel, all the good stuff is kept in resulting in a flavourful, nutty flour high in protein, iron and fibre. And nothing weird or gross or unpronounceable is added. With all the flap these days about Monsanto and GMO grains and whatnot, here is a real opportunity do something more than just hitting a “like” button, or sticking your head in the sand. Support artisanal growers like CIPM, and reap the benefits for yourself.
Red Fife flour can be a little more challenging for those of us who grew up with self rising thrice bleached fog powder flour, but it is totally worth it in terms of good taste and good health. Plus it comes in an awesome, cuddly cotton bag. For more information on the Hastings farm, and for a delicious recipe for Maple Chocolate Cherry Red Fife Scones, check out this article from the Ottawa Citizen.