Made Locally in Northern California, Recipes Included
By FBWorld Team
Bilbro mills small batches of hard red wheat into sample
bags for restaurants at Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg.
(ALVIN JORNADA/ PD)
North Bay chefs and growers have long been at the forefront
of the movement to eat local, championing the return to
the table of heirloom tomatoes and grass-fed beef.
the farmers are starting to grow grains like rye, farro
and wheat as well, providing chefs with whole-grain, freshly
milled flours for their breads and pasta.
are the logical next step," said Debra Walton of
Canvas Ranch in Two Rock. "We're really moving totally
local, from vegetables and meat to grain and breads and
Daniel checks the consistency of the flour she is milling
at Shed in Healdsburg on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (ALVIN
Walton fell in love with farro - an ancient grain believed
to be one of the original strains of cultivated wheat
- while attending Slow Food's 2009 Terra Madre conference
at home, Walton did research and discovered that the grain
had been commonly grown in the Two Rock region back in
"Mostly they were growing it for livestock, but also
for the San Francisco market," she said. "As
the railroads came West, cheaper grains from places like
Nebraska made it so it didn't make much sense to grow
few years ago, Walton started growing farro, which she
sells to local chefs like Austin Perkins of Nick's Cove
in Marshall and Bruce Riezenman of Park 121 Cafe in Sonoma.
"The fun thing is to put it into a minestrone soup,
and that's what I eat all winter," Walton said. "We
grow heirloom beans as well, so between the grain and
the legumes, it makes a complete diet."
Ranch also grows rye for bread baking and golden flax
seed, which is high in nutrition and Omega-3 fatty acids.
golden flax sold out immediately," she said. "People
are really into that."
the health benefits and the fresh flavor, farmers are
attracted to the sheer beauty of the golden waves of grain.
have an emotional attachment to a field of grain,"
said Peter Buckley, who owns Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg
with his wife, Mimi. "But it's also a very flexible
crop. It can feed people or animals, and it keeps well."
the goal of creating a diversified farm, Buckley bought
the 110-acre ranch three years ago, pulling out 55 acres
of vineyards on the valley floor.
researching wheat, he came across a website created by
Bob Klein, owner of Oliveto restaurant in Oakland. Klein
founded Community Grains in 2007 with the goal of creating
a local grain economy and producing flours with flavor.
Klein's help, Buckley planted a couple of varieties of
wheat for seed use only, including Senatore Cappelli,
a heritage variety that was recently reintroduced.
2011, Front Porch Farm planted its first crop of wheat
on 10 acres. Like other grain growers on the North Coast,
Buckley enlisted the help of Doug Mosel of Ukiah to help
had already started to revive wheat growing, so he had
a harvester and a seed cleaner," Buckley said.
is one of three farmers growing grain at the Nelson Family
Vineyard near Ukiah as part of the Mendocino Grain Project.
He also organized The North Coast Grain Growers, a support
group that now boasts about 100 members, from growers
really a remarkable story, when I think about what happened
in just four years," Mosel said. "I can only
image what we might see in five years hence."
with heritage varieties of wheat, Front Porch Farm also
grows barley, rye, oats and flint corn for polenta.
farm has a mill to grind its own grain, then delivers
it to local chefs like Louis Maldonado of Spoonbar in
Healdsburg and Dino Bugica of Diavolo in Geyserville.
uses the Bolero flour to make Spoonbar's signature sourdough
bread and the Desert King for gnocchi and pasta. At Diavolo,
Bugica uses the Cristallo flour to make pasta and is serving
the polenta with his seafood stew.
fresh polenta is nice because it's a little chunky, so
it has texture," Bugica said. "And it's creamy
Porch Farm also sells its wheat and rye grain to Shed
in Healdsburg, where owner Cindy Daniel grinds it on a
stone mill from Austria.
milling them and using them in scones, bread and crackers,"
Daniel said. "We also sell the freshly milled flour."
Silverman of Chalk Hill Cookery in Windsor folds the Bolero
flour into all of his baked goods. "It's an heirloom
variety, so it's more digestible and nutritious,"
he said. "And the flavor is great."
Canvas Ranch farro is available at the Fatted Calf in
Napa's Oxbow Market and at the Santa Rosa Original Farmers
Market at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts on Saturday.
Flour grown from Front Porch Farm grain is for sale at
Shed in Healdsburg.
This recipe is from Austin Perkins, executive chef of
Nick's Cove in Marshall. Perkins uses the Navarro Vineyards
Verjus and McEvoy Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Tomato and Canvas Ranch Farro Salad
6 to 8 servings
1 shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons verjus (or saba, if unavailable)
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound farro
4 to 5 medium heirloom tomatoes, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup Bellwether San Andreas cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 pound fresh arugula leaves
1/8 cup chopped parsley
vinaigrette: Combine the ingredients in a bowl
and whisk thoroughly.
salad: In a large pot, boil 8 cups water. Season
generously with salt. When water is boiling, add the farro,
reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover
and over very low heat cook for 20 more minutes, until
just slightly al dente. Strain and allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss thoroughly.
This recipe is from Bruce Riezenman of Park Avenue Catering,
who serves it at his Park 121 cafe at Cornerstone Gardens
"This can be served as a room temperature luncheon
or as a warm dinner,"
said. "It is delicious, rustic and very nutritious.
The farro in this recipes makes enough for six, so you're
assured of extra for a quick lunch the next day. "
can substitute wild mushrooms for the crimini mushrooms
and serve the dish family-style, if you like.
Rubbed Beef with Farro and Mushrooms
pound beef tri-tip or New York Steak, trimmed, no fat
1 teaspoon ground coffee
Sea salt, medium coarse, to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper, 8 grinds
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled, cloves left whole
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Fresh-ground black pepper, 8 grinds
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 medium carrot)
1/4 pound crimini mushrooms (about 10), halved and sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup semi-pearled farro
1 1/2 quarts salted water for cooking the farro
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
4 sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano
2 ounces aged white cheddar cheese, medium-sharp, diced
1 quart arugula, cleaned
the beef: If you prefer the beef to be served
warm, start the farro first, then cook the beef while
the farro is cooking. You can easily reheat the farro
in the oven before serving.
your butcher to trim the beef and remove all the outside
fat, and to cut it into pieces, with the grain, that are
1-inch thick. At home, place the beef on a cutting board
between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth
side of a mallet until it is 3/4-inch thick. This will
help tenderize the meat.
the top layer of plastic, and season the top side of the
meat evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of ground coffee, 4 grinds
of a peppermill and sea salt (medium coarse from a grinder).
Turn the meat and do the same to the other side.
a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Place the
canola oil in the pan, then place the seasoned beef into
the cold sauté pan. Put a grill press on top of
the beef and cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until the
bottom of the beef is nicely seared. Remove the press,
turn the beef, replace the press and reduce the heat to
medium-low. Cook until the beef is medium-rare, approximately
4-5 minutes more.
the press and place the beef on a platter to rest.
the farro: Place a small sauce pan over medium-low
heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the whole garlic
cloves. Cook slowly for 5-7 minutes, turning the garlic
a few times during the cooking so they are golden brown
on all sides.
the onions, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 8 grinds of black
pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions
Add the carrots and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Then,
add the mushrooms, thyme and oregano. Cover and cook for
8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms and carrots are cooked.
place the salted water in a medium sauce pan and bring
to a rolling boil. Add the farro and reduce the heat to
medium. Simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, until
the farro is cooked. It is ready when it has a consistent
dense texture throughout without tasting hard or raw in
the farro into a colander and then place in a mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix gently. Add the
vegetable mixture, dried cherries and chopped parsley
to the farro and mix. Add additional coarse sea salt and
ground pepper to taste.
serve: Place a handful of arugula on each of
4 plates and top with a cup of the farro blend. Cut the
beef into 20 nice slices and place 5 slices on each plate.
Sprinkle with the diced white cheddar, and drizzle the
beef, farro and arugula with the remaining olive oil.
Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.
with a small bowl of coarse sea salt for your guests to
sprinkle as needed.
can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or email@example.com.
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