In December 2011, New York Magazine published "The Greatest Thing Since...", an homage to the rise of artisanal bread in New York city. Among the 13 bakers showcased in the 14-page spread from the magazine's "Reasons to Love New York" issue, no less than nine have been direct participants in Greenmarket's efforts to spur the growth of regional grains in the Northeast.
These efforts began in 2004, when Greenmarket introduced a rule that would require bakers to use grain grown and milled in the region. The longstanding belief was that the climate in the Northeast wasn't suitable for producing grain for human consumption. But the work of a few pioneering farmers and millers showed Greenmarket that it could be done.
What started as a conversation about how to urge Greenmarket bakers to incorporate local flour into their baked goods has bloomed into a full-blown initiative to revitalize and sustainably scale up the production of grains in the Northeast.
Since the implementation of the baked goods rules, much has happened: new local grain growers have been identified, mills have been built, and steadily, a broader range of grains from freekeh and spelt to emmer and wheat berries are increasingly more available to Greenmarket bakers and Greenmarket shoppers alike.
In January of 2010, Greenmarket stepped up its commitment to strengthening the regional grains system to the next level. In partnership with the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, Greenmarket hosted a discussion and tasting of products featuring regionally-grown grains, baked by local bakers. This event brought together the city's top bakers and distillers, and was an important coversation about how to incorporate local grains into the city's diet.
Greenmarket is continuing this phase of building demand for regionally grown grains by educating eaters, home cooks, bakers, brewers, chefs, and distillers in New York City. We are also ensuring that the resources and supply are in place to meet growing demand, by working with farmers, millers, and grains experts to grow more, and better, regional grains.