Great Grains

Tuality Plains Great Grains Project

Wheat and other grains were among the first crops to be grown in our region. In fact, Joseph Gale, the first governor of Oregon, built and operated a gristmill on Gales Creek.

During the 19th century every state in the US grew wheat for local use. Every variety of wheat was adapted to its region. Then came industrial agriculture and industrial bakeries, and local wheat was replaced with standardized wheat – the same few varieties of wheat grown in huge monocultures in limited number of places, selected for yield and uniformity, not taste!

Baked goods made with local grains. Barley wine crackers, rye loaf, Berkshire biscuit, and rye rusks.

Baked goods made with local grains. Barley wine crackers, rye loaf, Berkshire biscuit, and rye rusks.

Yet in Forest Grove, as in many other places, we are rebuilding our local food economy. The Forest Grove Farmers Market, local CSAs, wineries, and breweries offer fresh vegetables, meat, eggs beer cider, wine and local products.

Local grain is the major missing ingredient!

Lyle Spiesschaert, farmer in Gaston, loads his hopper as the first trial run for the rye and red fife seed is planted.

Lyle Spiesschaert, farmer in Forest Grove, loads his hopper as the first trial run for the rye and Red Fife seed is planted.

Here at Foodways at Nana Cardoon we are dedicated to helping build back our regional grain economy. As one of our major initiatives, the Tuality Plains Great Grains Project, we are working with a small and growing group to bring back that missing wheat, and other grains, too.

First year of testing Red Fife and rye seed.

First year of testing Red Fife and rye seed.

 

Why? To build a sustainable, local grain economy for the health of our community and the health of our regional soils.

Where? The targeted growing location is western Washington County farmland.

Lyle and Charlene discuss the trial grain crop.

Lyle and Charlene discuss the trial grain crop.

Our Goals.

  • To establish a local grain culture of growing grain sustainably to be used by local markets, bakers, brewers, distillers, and other consumer access points.
  • Improve soil health.
  • Increase local farmer involvement and consumer interest.
  • Increase appreciation by urban consumers of Tualatin Plains working landscape as the destination to experience delicious taste and flavor adventures.

Our group is dedicated to expanding “know your farmer” to “know your farmer, miller, baker, and brewer.” Assisting grain farmers, miller training, and building a regional support system are just a few of the areas to be covered to build a thriving and vital foundation for farmers, producers and eaters.

Baker at table shaping bread.

Dave Ferrier of Slow Rise Bakery will be using the local grains for his bread this fall.

For more information on the Tuality Plains Great Grains Project contact Charlene at 503-357-4992 or at charlene@nanacardoon.com

Rye bread shown in local field of wheat and rye.

A sample of rye bread with the trial field as a backdrop.

A partial list of individuals and businesses supporting the TualityPlains Great Grains Project include: Charlene Murdock, Foodways at Nana Cardoon; Lyle Spiesschaert, Spiesschaert Farms; Anne Burblinger, Gales Meadow Farm; Dave and Meredith Ferrier, Slow Rise Craft Breads; Waltz Brewing; Dogwood Distilling; Jeremy Jensen, Old Wilson River Ferments; To The Roots Coffee; and many industry consultants and professionals in agencies, businesses and universities throughout our region.