A note from our CEO Charlie Negaro about our local grains journey
At Chabaso we go through about 25,000 pounds of white flour every day, and up until 4 years ago, none of us had ever been in a wheat field. You could have shown me a wheat head or a wheat berry, and I wouldn’t have known what it was. All we paid attention to was price and protein level.
In the summer of 2015, I read Amy Halloran’s book The New Bread Basket and went to the Grain Gathering at the Bread Lab. I realized we were messing up. We’d been on auto pilot and took a wrong turn and never realized it. The way we were using our buying power and our resources was broken.
Over the next 4 years, I continued to bump into Amy at grain conferences around the country. She connected us to forward-thinking grain farmers and bakers, including Mel at Grand Central baking who showed us silos, the exact same ones we had at Chabaso, full of varietal wheat grown and milled in the Pacific Northwest. It was an inspiring example of what we could do at Chabaso.
Atticus, the sister business of Chabaso and my main focus over the past few years before recently rejoining Chabaso, built its own small bakery 2 years ago to focus on naturally-leavened breads made with regionally-sourced, fresh-milled grains. The Atticus team is working to remove commodity white flour from our operations by the end of 2020. We have people like Amy Halloran to thank for helping us see this is even possible.
Energized by the reception of our Atticus bread, we decided to bring that mission over to the much larger operations of Chabaso, which goes through in a day what Atticus goes through in year. In October of 2019 we co-hosted the Northeast Grain Gab conference with our friends at the Yale Landscape Lab. It was an amazing experience and helped to clarify some of the big opportunities in this movement, including increasing profits for growers, healthier soils, better flavor and nutrition for grains products, and a more connected and collaborative Northeast.
We’re just getting started with all this but the contents of this Farm to Loaf bundle offer a tiny glimpse at where we’re starting to head. Thanks for joining us on this exciting journey.
— Charlie Negaro
Description: Whole grain scone mix based on the scone recipe for our sister business Atticus Bookstore Cafe’s famous scones! Makes 8 scones.
Ingredients (when prepared): Heavy cream, whole wheat flour, candied orange peel, semisweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, dextrose, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), vanilla), brown sugar, honey, baking powder, salt. Contains wheat and soy. Processed on equipment that processes treenuts, eggs, and milk.
Instructions: Pour entire bag of dry mix into a bowl. Add 1 ½ cups + 3 tbsp. of heavy cream and 3 tbsp. of honey. Stir to combine into a wet dough. Form dough into an 8in round disk. Cut disk into 8 equal pieces. Freeze or bake immediately. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with sugar before baking @ 375°F for 20-23 minutes. Add 3-5 minutes for frozen scones. Best served when shared with friends.
Northeast Wheat Ciabatta Rolls
Description: Whole grain ciabatta rolls made with Northeast-grown wheat.
Instructions: Bake or toast unwrapped at 400°F for 3-10 minutes if fresh of 5-12 minutes if frozen.
Ingredients: Water, enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), stoneground sifted hard red wheat flour, stoneground whole hard red wheat flour, salt, yeast, wheat flour, enzymes, ascorbic acid as a dough conditioner. Contains wheat. Processed on equipment which processes tree nuts and soy, and in a facility which processes eggs and milk.
Danish Rye Loaf
Description: A dense, naturally leavened loaf with a moist interior.
Instructions: Toasting individual thin slices to desired doneness. Great with just a pad of butter, or honey. Better for making your favorite sandwich.
Ingredients: Water, whole wheat flour, whole grain rye flour, rye meal, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, salt. Contains wheat. Processed on equipment that processes treenuts, eggs, and milk.
Description: A jar of honey harvested from bees in our hometown of New Haven, CT
Instructions: Drizzle on your favorite breads (or scones) from Chabaso or Atticus!
Some of the grainiacs we’re proud to work with
Maine Grains (Skowhegan, ME)
Amber Lambke, the co-founder of Maine Grains, has done amazing work to demonstrate what a local grain economy can look like. Maine Grains specializes in freshly milled, organic and heritage grains for stoneground flour and rolled oats.
Bass Family Farm (Scotland, CT)
The Bass Family Farm has been operating in Connecticut for over 200 years. In 2019 we worked with the Bass family, Andy Dappolonio, and Keith Christadore to grow 15 acres of Glenn Spring Wheat.
Andy D’appolonio (Coventry, CT)
Our local hero! Andy was growing grains in CT before it was cool, and he’s the first local grains person that we started sourcing from starting in 2018.
Thrall Family Farm (Windsor, CT)
The Thrall Family Farm has been operating in Connecticut since 1646! They’ve long been a producer of premium tobacco leaves, but recently started growing ingredients for craft brewers and bakers.