Another Side of the Local Food Market: Beans and Grains
Quick! What is the first thing you imagine when I say local food? Is it a great tasting tomato? Flavorful meat? That would be typical, but in reality, beans and grains are eaten worldwide in higher quantities. And the Wild Ramp Market is pleased to have identified a resource for those items.
Shagbark Seed and Mill in Athens, Ohio has been locating and processing sustainably grown, high nutritional grain and bean products since 2010. These staple seed crops make up 60% of a healthy diet but typically are not a part of most regional food movements. Brandon Jaeger and Michelle Ajamian started growing some test plots of quinoa, sesame and several other crops in 2006 but soon realized they could best improve diet choices by locating other growers and processing these healthy foods to bring them to the market. He calls this the staple food revolution.
Identifying local organic growers of beans and corns was the first step. The corn and beans, which arrive in 1500-3000 pound sacks, have to be sorted to remove damaged pieces. If the sorting process was done by hand it would take hours and not reach as many people, so a machine that could clean as much as three tons an hour was found. The beans are then packaged and ready for market.
Adzuki beans are sweet and can be used in many recipes. They are the bean used in Asian markets for red bean paste and ice cream. The black turtle beans do not require pre-soaking. I have used them for soup and chili. Luna Burger uses them in their veggie burgers.
With most of the corn on the market containing GMOs, Brandon and Michelle source organic growers to provide healthy food options. After the cleaning sort, much of the corn is then stone ground. Chips and crackers are prepared exclusively for Shagbark using the traditional native method at a family-owned tortilleria in Toledo .
Wheat does not grow well in our Tri-State regional climate. Spelt is a grain that was used as a common part of the diet until modern factory farming was able to plant and harvest wheat more efficiently, so was a part of the American diet well into the 19th Century.
Shagbark employs four people locally and another five as samplers and farmers market sales folks at nine farmers markets, mostly in the Columbus area. They also provide product to three Whole Foods Stores in Ohio, as well as Local Roots in Wooster. And, of course, at The Wild Ramp in Huntington, West Virginia.
-Stone-Ground Spelt Flour
-Heirloom Corn Flour
-Black Turtle Beans
-Whole Spelt Berries
-Whole Heirloom Corn
-Corn Tortilla Chips
-Corn Minis Crackers
-100% Spelt Artisan Bread
-100% Spelt Pasta
Shagbark Seed and Mill
88 Columbus Circle, Athens, Ohio