Our small business was started back in 2016 out of an interest in good food made well. Bread was the first food item to tackle as it undeniably carries a track record of being a staple in almost any culture or society you look into. Little did we know that this first item on the list would turn into an all consuming topic which dives into artistic, scientific and even philosophical depths at every turn.
Flour is one of four ingredients for a classic country loaf. All flour is not equal. To make bread that utilizes hyper local yeast from its atmosphere for leavening, it seems only right to use Organic flour grown and milled in the region as well. Farmer Ground Flour is a strong choice for an ingredient of the previous profile. Not only does their business represent an effort to source, eat and live more regionally but their continued presence on the shelves of supermarkets and accessibility by bakers all over the North East is proof of a thriving feedback loop. Greg Russo co-founder and miller at Farmer Ground makes an effort to open and sustain dialogues with bakers utilizing his product. Pictured to the right, Greg holds a sample of his flour being milled live during a visit from us this past month.
Their mill house is reminiscent of some of the first legal patents in U.S. history. The entire building was patentable as they utilized gravity fed grain hoppers into hydro-powered mill rooms. Greg and Neal have modernized this system with electric motors but still utilize the multi-floor set up to sift their product and dial in the presence of bran and protein.
Not dissimilar from blending wines, Greg works with all local and Organic grain growers (namely Thor Oechsner and Dan Gladstone at Oechsner Farms) to blend varieties of wheat to achieve specific levels of protein content desired by bakers. One of their products is High Extraction flour which undergoes a series of siftings to extend shelf life while maintaining desirable texture and nutritional value. It is a “meet in the middle” style of flour which keeps the commercial bakers happy while still offering the depth of flavor and nutrition we expect from artisan flour.
The spark for the kind of movement required to move the “local needle” must come from a place of honesty, passion, ingenuity, drive and a strong need to pursue what is right. It takes people who embody these traits to create businesses like Farmer Ground Flour and it takes like minded consumers to make it all possible. Their underdog position in the grain milling and flour production world is enough to intimidate most to the point of discouragement. But it takes people like those at Farmer Ground to build from scratch and push that needle towards regionality.
They package their flours in household size bags for sale in Markets around the lower Hudson Valley and Hudson Oven sells 1 Kilo bags of it in our member store for pickup via our Founding Membership program. Hudson Valley Country Loaves, as well as 100% Rye Sourdough loaves are a staple offering to our Founding Members as well as new treats on the occasion. Check out our membership details and keep an eye out for Farmer Ground products in your regionally minded markets.