Behind the Farmers Market: Greenwillow Grains
We’ve teamed up with the Washington State Farmers Market Association and the Portland Farmers Market to bring you our new Behind the Farmers Market series. Here you’ll meet farmers from around the Northwest who provide the fresh, local and seasonal products found at your local farmers market.
Name: Clint Lindsey
Farm: Greenwillow Grains in Brownsville, Oregon
THE GREENWILLOW STORY
While gluten-free meals and diets are well established by now, many of us remain big fans of bread and cereal. But it’s important to realize that not all wheat products are created equal. A good deal of variation—and healthfulness—depends on how it is grown and processed.
Enter Greenwillow Grains. Based in Brownsville, Oregon, Greenwillow is an organic grain farm and milling operation committed to sustainable practices and sharing truly “whole” grains to the Willamette Valley and beyond. The operation produces stone-ground wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat and triticale flours, as well as organic whole grains and rolled oats—all of which it distributes itself, deepening its ties to the local economy and community.
Below, Clint Lindsey of Greenwillow Grains sheds light on what defines a whole grain—and why it’s better for you.
What is the difference between stone-ground and commercially processed flour?
Most flour is processed on steel roller mills, which are very fast and hot. As a result, commercially processed grains are stripped of the nutrient-rich parts of whole grains like bran and germ. Stone mills, on the other hand, grind slowly and remain cool.
“Every single piece of the grain comes out of the mill,” says Lindsey. “It is a slower, much more laborious process, and millers need a trained eye to run the mill and ensure the grind is even. But the result is a true ‘whole’ grain.
Stone-ground flours also offer unique flavor profiles lacking from highly refined flours. As Clint explains, “Big mills blend their wheat to ensure consistency, but smaller mills are unable to do this. That means you can have year-to-year differences in flavor and texture, which lends a unique quality to each year’s bread. Similar to wine, the flours have their own terroir.”
How is stone-ground flour better for you?
The bran and germ removed during commercial milling happen to be the most nutritious elements of wheat. Typically, so-called “whole grain” products are made by adding back in some of the bran. However, as food author Michael Pollan asserts, these highly processed products are a far cry from a truly whole-grain flour, because they lack fiber contained in the bran and the healthy Omega-3 oils and vitamins contained in the germ.
By contrast, Clint Lindsey points out that Greenwillow’s products are “100% organic and contain no additives or preservatives. You get nothing but wonderful, natural, and unique flavors from each grain.”
Where to buy
Want to check out Greenwillow’s offerings? You can find Greenwillow Grains at the Corvallis Farmers Market and the Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Saturdays. The People’s Food Coop in Portland stocks Greenwillow’s flours and rolled oats, and several local bakeries sell baked goods made with Greenwillow flour.
For those outside the Portland and Corvallis area, Greenwillow now offers all of their organic flours and whole grains online through their website at www.greenwillowgrains.com.
Founded in 1992, Portland Farmers Market operates world-class farmers markets that contribute to the success of local food growers and producers, and create vibrant community gatherings. The independently-run non-profit manages eight year round farmers’ markets in the Portland-area attracting more than 720,000 shoppers to purchase farm-fresh produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, baked goods and other specialty foods from more than 190 vendors. In addition to operating markets, Portland Farmers Market also serves as an incubator for emerging businesses, a leader of the local food movement, a source of education, a culinary focal point in the community and a cultural destination.