Really local flour: Urban Grains

30 October 2012

Homemade bread, spread with overnight apple butter, made with my new very local flour

One Saturday morning we drove around East Van by the train tracks and Strathcona Park, looking for a warehouse. It was pouring rain, and the windshield wipers were going full bore. My husband asked me again which street we were looking for and Elliot had just fallen asleep in the back seat.

Using a map emailed to me, I finally got us to a very small loading dock outside a warehouse. Two balloons waving in the rain gave us a hint that something was inside. I ran through the rain from the car and when I got to the door, a small cardboard sign said ‘Urban Grains’, and I knew I was in the right place.

Picking up your loot from community-supported agriculture projects is always a bit of an adventure, it seems. By their very nature, they don’t go in for storefronts or permanent fixtures – the whole point of these things is for farmers and fisherfolk to do what they do best. I kind of love the crazy adventure of emailed PDF maps and peering around warehouses and wharves, looking for a crowd of happy looking people picking up boxes of things.

This rainy Saturday, I was picking up 20kg of organic flour, grown by the Urban Grains farm. I had heard about Urban Grains when I was researching this story about our amazing community-supported fishery Skipper Otto for VancouverMom.ca. After several hysterically excited emails to the organizers, I managed to sneak in for this year’s harvest.

I have a special place in my heart for community-supported agriculture, whether it’s growing wheat or fishing salmon. I don’t have these skills for producing food, and they are skills, learned over time and requiring deep knowledge, patience and practice. I admire and respect the people who grow the grain for the flour and go out in fishing boats for 18-hour days to catch fish. It makes me happy to be able to eat local food and support independent people doing what they love.

Harvest time has come and gone now, but get in touch with the folks at Urban Grains if you want in on some organic flour next year. If you’re interested in the fish – contact Skipper Otto now to get on the wait list for the spring.

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