Beginning this Friday, I’m going to add a weekly spot on a product that I commonly get asked about sourcing locally. Although most of what we eat comes from the farmers market, I have found some locally grown pantry items that are worth substituting in your cart. Find that your grocery store or co-op doesn’t carry them? My number one suggestion: ask. I’ve had great responses to carry products from store managers who understand that putting local products on the shelves can be very profitable. More often than not they are simply unaware a local option exists. This week’s Find it Local handles a question I’ve been asked about a thousand times:
“So, what do you do about flour?”
We are fortunate as Midwesterners to have a hearty supply of local and organic sources of grains. Let’s be honest, how much wheat do they really grow in South Florida? When I am feeling down in the dumps about no oranges in my lunchbox, I just remind myself how REALLY down I’d be without a fresh loaf of bread or pie crusts. In other parts of the country, sourcing flour stands in the way of many locavores fully committing to a regional diet. Smile and be grateful Minnesota–you have wheat. Here’s three local flour sources to check out:
Located in Welcome, MN about 165 miles from St. Paul is Whole Grain Milling, a family owned organic mill that provides for nearly all of our flour needs. They offer whole wheat pastry and bread flour as well as some specialty flours I am still learning to use (buckwheat, rye, spelt, etc.) Even better news, the farm and mill has been certified organic since 1989 and continues to support environmentally friendly, non-genetically modified practices. The website has a statewide list of locations to purchase their products, many of which are in the Twin Cities Metro area. At our co-op, I am able to purchase Whole Grain Milling flour in bulk which is an added benefit; it keeps my flour fresh and saves on waste.
When we started our local eating venture last April, our first source for flour was North Dakota Mill located in Grand Forks, ND about 325 miles from St. Paul. Although slightly farther away, it was the easiest flour to obtain since we were able to find it at a large chain supermarket store (which we incidentally no longer shop at!) But for readers closer to the Red River Valley, this is the more local option. Finally, there aren’t many recipes that demand exclusively all-purpose flour and I’m getting better and estimating substitutions. I still keep a North Dakota Mill’s 10 lb. bag in my cupboard for those special treats!
I’ve just recently learned about Great River Organic Milling in doing some locavore research for a Wisconsin friend. Located in Fountain City, WI they are roughly 100 miles from St. Paul and 175 miles from Madison in the Mississippi River Valley. I’ll be honest that I haven’t used their flour, but I am excited they are available online and through their Amazon.com Store
Here’s a map of all the flour locations. Have one to add?
View Minnesota Locavore: Flour in a larger map