How times change. Two years ago, Alisa and I followed rumours of wheat here and there for seven months before finally finding one farmer in our area growing local grain. It was one of the biggest struggles of our 100-mile year.
This year, at the end of October, a bread and wheat festival. More than 800 people gathered in Victoria, B.C. - within our 100-mile circle - to taste the fresh-baked goodness. Alisa and I didnt make it, but we heard from festival founder Sharon Rempel. The most exciting thing to come out of an obviously successful fiesta was the energy generated by people coming together around an idea.
Getting more organic wheat in the ground, expanding the varieties being put into trial, talk of a local mill, and connections like getting the Red Fife wheat from Tom Henry (editor of Small Farm Canada magazine) at Lambs Leap Farm into the loaves at True Grain Bread in Cowichan Bay Village. Thats how local food culture is built, and the festival shows just how much can change in a year or two - and might finally convince reluctant funders of the value of supporting such an event.
Alisa and I, meanwhile, have tonnes of wheat a farmer gifted us with some in the Kootenays, and then my friend Kirk came down to visit from northern B.C. and brought a gift of his areas local wheat. He doesnt know what variety it is - only that he gathered it where it had been piled at the side of the road. Fortunately, he had asked permission from a local, who promised to stand by him if anyone asked questions. Otherwise, the local said, stealing a bag of wheat is a good way to get gutshot.
Precious stuff, local grain.
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