Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith (and Farmstand Associate)
What goes better with plummeting winter temperatures than hearty, whole grains and freshly baked bread? This week, 2-pound bags of emmer wheat, rye flour, soft and hard whole wheat flour, grits, and polenta arrived at the farmstand from Castle Valley Mill in Doylestown, PA, and we couldn’t be more excited. Made from locally grown grains on authentic buhr stone mills, Castle Valley products are packed with vitamins and nutrients that will keep you healthy and warm all season long.
Whole Berry Emmer (Farro) – Emmer wheat, also known as farro, is an ancient grain that dates back more than 10,000 years to the Fertile Crescent. High in protein and low in gluten, with a plump, chewy texture and subtle sweetness, this whole grain is especially yummy in soups, risottos, salads, and pilafs.
Stone Ground Rye Flour – Using grains grown in Bucks County, PA, Castle Valley produces one of the best rye flours you’ll ever have. (Try it out in Smitten Kitchen’s Rye Bread recipe.)
Stone Ground Soft Whole Wheat Flour – Made from varieties of wheat that are lower in gluten-forming protein, “soft” flour is best for batter-based treats, such as pancakes, cookies, cakes, and muffins. In Castle Valley’s whole wheat version, the bran and germ are mixed in, producing a full, nutty flavor.
Stone Ground Hard Whole Wheat Flour – Hard wheat is high in gluten and therefore ideal for breads, pastas, and rising dough recipes. Castle Valley’s hard wheat flour is made with either red spring wheat or red winter wheat, depending on the season and what their farmers can provide.
Stone Ground Grits and Cornmeal, Yellow and Bloody Butcher Red varieties –The difference between grits and cornmeal is in the coarseness of the grind; grits are more coarsely ground, commonly used in savory dishes or hearty porridges, and cornmeal is more finely ground, commonly used in baking and smooth polentas. At Castle Valley, all grits and cornmeal are made from locally grown, non-GMO dent corn, producing exceptional textures and flavors. And while their yellow varieties are some of the best around, their magenta-hued Bloody Butcher Red grits and cornmeal, made from the heirloom variety grain, is a guaranteed show-stopper at any meal.
You can find a bunch of recipes for these whole grains on Castle Valley’s website, and here are a few more for further inspiration:
- Whole Wheat Carrot Cake, from Bob’s Red Mill
- Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread, from King Arthur Flour
- Pain d'Epices (French Honey Rye Cake), from the Whole Grains Council
- Simple Farro & Bean Stew, from 101 Cookbooks
- Baked Cheese Grits, from Epicurious.com
- Polenta ‘Pizza’ With Pancetta and Spinach, from The New York Times
**Grain sale! To make room for the new, bigger bags of grains, all remaining pints and quarts of Castle Valley grains, including grits, cornmeal, rye flour, and emmer/farro, will be 25% off while supplies last. Come on down and stock up your pantry!