I attended a tasting/education dinner celebrating Urban Grains in what they call ‘Staff of Life” on October 26th.
Known as the ‘staff of life,’ wheat and other grains have been sustaining mankind since the early Neolithic period when humans first started to grown grain to supplement their hunter/gatherer diets. Arising out of the Slow Food and Locavore movements, small local grain-growers have begun to spring up all over North America. This is not your prairie bread basket-type operation with vast Townships of land planted with Monsanto-grain. We are talking about small, family land-holdings, some only a few acres, growing ancient and heritage grains organically. These farmers have tapped into the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system to support their farms. CSA is where members buy ‘shares’ in the harvest and through the sale of these shares, ‘grain futures,’ the farmer creates a stable income.
Bishop’s is a proud shareholder in one such organization – Urban Grains which grows grain at Cedar Isle Farm in Agassiz. The grain is then milled by Anita’s Organic Grain & Flour Mill in Chilliwack.
The November early bird Producer’s Dinner menu will incorporate house-made breads and other foodstuffs (think pasta perhaps) made from the milled wheat flour along with others that use wheat berries acquired from a different supplier on Vancouver Island.
“The grain CSA is the first one in the Lower Mainland which is one of the reasons why I find it so exciting. It is a step closer to a local food system,” says Bishop’s Executive Chef Andrea Carlson. “We’ve received about 200 kg of flour and I will be exploring different ways in which to use it.”
Check out http://www.urbangrains.ca/ and learn more about their wheat and grains.
I was part of a group of foodies who sampled a variety of different dishes which will appear on the early bird menu from time to time during November from 5:30-6:30 pm for a very reasonable $38. If you wish to add the wine pairing, then that is an additional $20 for 3 oz. pours or $38 if you prefer larger 6 oz. pours.
This is a great partnership between the Urban Grains Community in supply and Bishop’s http://www.bishopsonline.com/ in creating and cooking.
By: Richard Wolak