Farmer Ground Flour mill, Trumansburg, NY; Photo by J. Russell/GrowNYC
It all starts with the choice of grain, which is first a question of place and time."
-- Karen Hess, A Century of Change in the American Loaf
The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project is pioneering the new frontier in local food: grains. With our partners, we're building the marketplace for grains grown and milled in the northeast. We are educating and connecting growers, processors, bakers and chefs -- sparking a rise in demand for local grains while helping ensure the crop supply and processing infrastru cture are there to meet that demand. 
The evidence is clear: Regional grains have arrived. 

Upcoming Market Dates
The Grainstand continues its weekly presence at  Union Square on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We will also be popping up at a handful of other markets. Here is our full schedule for rest of September and early October:

Pre-ordered bulk bags are available at Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday.
    Check availability and pricing here.   To pre-order and for more information, please  e-mail  us.   Wholesale  orders of $250 or more can be delivered through  Greenmarket Co. ,  GrowNYC's wholesale distribution program. 
Event Highlight: Beer and Spirits of New York Pop-up
Corn, Spelt & Wheat make up the grain bill of White Pike Whiskey, and aged bourbon. Photo J.Russell/GrowNYC

The Beer and Spirits of NY Pop-up kicked off last Saturday with a stunning array
of breweries, cideries and restaurants across three Greenmarkets alongside the GrowNYC Grainstand, which was selling many of the featured  grains and flours. Union Square shoppers sampled scrumptious onion and plum tarts from Once Upon a Tart made with New York-grown and milled rye and pastry flour . Beverages were for sale from Orchard Hill Cider Mill and White Pike Whiskey . Grand Army Plaza hosted Wayside Cider and Threes Brewing , while McCarren Park was joined by Harvest Spirits Distillery and Runner & Stone restaurant . You've got plenty of chances to join this fall craft beverage extravaganza, which runs through Nov. 24

Thanks to funding from Empire State Development, th e pop-up will appea r from now until Thanksgiving at these Saturday Greenmarkets:

Union Square and Grand Army Plaza:  Sept. 17, & 24; Oct. 1, 8*, 15, 22, & 29; Nov. 5, 12, & 19

McCarren Park: Sept. 10, 17, & 24; Oct. 1

Fort Greene:

 Oct. 15, 22, & 29; Nov. 5 
* On Oct. 8 the pop-up will be at USQ only, and will not be attending Brooklyn markets due to the  half marathon in Brooklyn. 
Featured Product
Magog Wheat Sifted Flour

From our friends at Maine Grains. A hard red spring wheat flour with a soft touch and hearty flavor. Sifting to 75% extraction yields a nicely rounded earthy flavor in a pliable dough. Though great for many bread applications, the Magog is a favorite for pizza crusts. (Recipe below!) Try rolling out with a pin for an extra thin crust without sacrificing its light texture. Available only at the  Grainstand!  
Recipe Highlights
Some fall recipes using regional grains and flours available now from the Grainstand...
  • Wood-fired pizza from our very own Henry Randall. 
  • Cook any grain in apple cider to infuse it with extra flavor and character, as with Charlie Bird's Farro Salad. Instead of buying imported farro at the store, come get New York-grown emmer, spelt or einkorn berries -- the actual grains in the "farro" family.  
Harvest 2016: Beautiful Wheat Despite Drought

It's been a year of extremes for New York grain farmers. It was "the worst drought in our county since they started taking weather records in 1830," said organic grain grower Thor Oechsner, whose 1200-acre farm is based in Newfield, NY. Yet "it was the highest yielding, best-looking
wheat crop I ever grew."
Harvest time at Oechsner Farms. 
Photo: Rachel Lodder

The harv ests of Thor's glenn spring wheat in early August and warthog winter wheat in July were as near-perfect as he'd ever seen. The crop got just enough rain early in the season, before the drought hit, to get good growth. The dryness that followed meant zero weeds, zero disease, and a stress-free harvest. "It was a piece of cake," said Thor.
"We didn't have to dry anything; it came out of the combine at storable moisture. Typically we're stressed and trying to dry it and it's not going through the combine. This year it was like, oh my, is this easy."

Driving the combine during harvest at Oechsner Farms.
Photo: Rachel Lodder
Thor soon discovered that the winter wheat's protein content - a key indicator for dough elasticity that bread-bakers  care most about -- was lower than usual. Why? Thor could only guess: Maybe when the plant was channeling nutrients from the ground to the seed, the dry soil lacked the protein-giving microbes? His business partner down the road, Stefan Senders of Wide Awake Bakery, is now bake-testing to see if the quality of the gluten still produces the elasticity. "When we got the protein r esults back we were shocked and disappointed," said Thor. "But it may be that the quality of the protein is high. The protein number is an indication of quality but not the whole picture. So we'll see if makes good bread!" 

No such concerns for the spring wheat, which broke Thor's record for highest protein content ever. Again Thor can only guess at why: "Maybe we got the rains at just the right time at its maturity, to let it bring on protein?"

Not all Thor's crops survived the drought, though. "The corn crop got devastated. The buckwheat crop stinks," he said. "The small grains were the shining stars of this. It's a testament to planting a lot of different things."

One of the few successful food-grade organic grain farmers in the northeast, Thor is pioneering uncharted territory in this growing agricultural sector. "Every year it's something new, and every year I realize how much I don't know."

The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project and the Grainstand are programs of GrowNYC, the sustainability resource for New Yorkers: providing free tools and services anyone can use in order to improve our City and environment. More gardens, Greenmarkets, more recycling, and education for all. 
Learn more at
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