bake - February 2018 - 24

Paying homage to one of America's top wheat
breeders, Red Hen Baking Co. in Middlesex, Vermont,
features a unique bread called Cyrus Pringle, which
is made entirely of wheat grown in Quebec and
Vermont. Red Hen's owner Randy George is a firm
believer in supporting local grains and family farms.
Roughly 95 percent of the wheat used at Red Hen
comes from farms located within 150 miles of his
central Vermont bakery. "Whatever we can do to
make the farm more viable," George says, "I'm all for."
People may not realize that Vermont was once the
breadbasket of New England. Local grain farmer Jack
Lazor of Butterworks Farm shares that Vermont's
wheat production peaked in 1840 at 644,000
bushels, quite small by today's standards, but
certainly not back then.
And now the nation's second-least populated state
is emerging as a major player on the scene of one
of the most important movements in today's artisan
bread community. Across the country, local farmers,
university wheat breeders and bakers are working in
concert to develop grain varieties that offer the most
favorable characteristics for yield, baking quality and
disease resistance, among other factors.
"If the local and regional grain movement is going
to evolve and succeed, it's going to involve direct
communication among farmers, breeders and
bakers," says Jeffrey Hamelman, who recently retired
as director of the bakery and Baking Education
Center at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont.
"And here's Vermont leading the way again."
One voice can make a huge difference, as Vermont's
own Bernie Sanders proved in the political arena,
and now Vermont bakers and farmers and breeders


Vermont connection


24 < FEB 2018 |

Bakers, farmers,
breeders work together
to bring favorable
wheats to the table.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of bake - February 2018