• Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org

    We've changed our website. Please update your bookmarks to LocalBanquet.org LocalBanquet.org is where you will now find the latest Local Banquet stories, a new Story of the Day update feature, features from the archives, and information on how to contribute to Local Banquet if you're interested in writing about Vermont agriculture. 

    Read more

  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

    Back in 2007, Local Baquet ran an article by Bonnie Hudspeth on maple innovation and production in Vermont. Since then, maple production in Vermont has tripled to 1.8 million gallons a year and innovation seems to have entered a new golden (or perhaps amber) age. We did a quick maple innovation news round up for 2018 / 2019 to help everyone keep up with the some of the trends. 

    Read more

  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion

    In 2015, the USDA funded a project for UVM researchers to engage in discussions with Vermont farmers about the idea of being paid for ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are things farmers do that improve the environment for everyone, a common example is grass-based farms capturing carbon in the soil as a way to combat climate change. Some services happen naturally through sustainable farming, others take more of an incentive to implement, and either way some policy makers believe that farmers shoudl be compensated for their contribution. 

    Read more

0
Shares

Farmers' Kitchen Nitty Gritty Grains

Nitty Gritty Grain Company

Written on

March 01 , 2011

Corn in Vermont fields is not uncommon, but wheat? In the 1800s wheat was a common sight on the rocky hillsides of the state, but as the country expanded westward, other land appeared to be more hospitable and profitable for the large production of wheat needed for a growing population. During the past decade, however, wheat in Vermont has had a rebirth of sorts. A small cadre of farmers have, individually and independently, decided to again give it a try by attempting to grow small quantity, high quality wheat—and they’ve been finding success.

Tom Kenyon, the cofounder and owner of Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont, has been farming since 1978. Aurora Farm, his certified organic operation, had previously sold its grains in bulk quantities to users who had no knowledge of its origins. But as the movement for local food became stronger, Randy George of Red Hen Baking Co. in Middlesex wanted to produce an all-Vermont bread, and turned to Tom and other local farmers. A new crop for Aurora Farm, a hard red winter wheat, was planted on pristine acres in and around Charlotte and Shelburne. The first two years, due to uncooperative weather, the new wheat variety did not meet the stringent standards for certified organic food. Fortunately, 2009 produced a wheat flour that ”felt just like it was supposed to,” according to Randy, and from this flour the Red Hen Cyrus Pringle loaf was created (see Vermont’s Local Banquet, Spring 2010). If you’ve tried it, you know how good it tastes.

Nitty Gritty was founded in 2008 to sell products from Aurora Farm, and in 2010 the company became a family operation. Catherine, Tom’s sister, who Tom affectionately calls “The Cornmeal Queen,” took over the production and management of the Nitty Gritty operation. Lana, Catherine’s daughter, staffed the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market, where Nitty Gritty enjoyed great exposure and sales. And Tom’s son, David, has become a driving force by both working on the farm and for the company. Our friends Geoffrey Lavallette, Kim Dutton, and Bridget Masterson are irreplaceable workers in our operation.

This cornbread recipe was created by Lana as a taste sample for people at the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market. The combination of our hard red winter wheat flour and our Wapsie Valley cornmeal proved to be a great hit with Lana’s customers.

Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont is based in Charlotte. To see their entire selection of grain and corn products, which includes wheat berries, pancake mix, and pastry flour, please visit their website,www.nittygrittygrain.com.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

What we do

Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.