Demand for Maine-Sourced, Quality Grains On the Rise

For Immediate Release 
August 18, 2014 

Contact:
Nancy Marshall, Nancy Marshall Communications
207-623-4177 or nmarshall@marshallpr.com 

~ Restaurants, bakeries are experimenting with a wider variety of grains, enjoy direct access to milling experts ~

SKOWHEGAN, Maine - Demand for healthier foods grown close to home has created a growing wholesale demand for locally-sourced grains according to Amber Lambke, president of the Somerset Grist Mill, LLC and its Maine Grains label.

Amber Lambke, left, and Alison Pray  at Standard Baking Co.

Amber Lambke, left, and Alison Pray
at Standard Baking Co.

Lambke is now working with bakeries from Maine to New York, including the award-winning Standard Baking Co. of Portland, that are looking to find ways to increase the amount of Maine Grains flours they use in their products. This is good news for Maine grain farmers.

Lambke says, "Our clients and their customers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the different flavors and nutritional benefits of grains other than modern wheat. They are also recognizing the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, and buying local is one way to do that. As a result, a number of our wholesale clients are proactively seeking to expand their use of Maine Grains."

Lambke also notes that artisan bakers prefer to work with a local gristmill like Maine Grains because they can work directly with the miller in determining which grains to use and how to use them.

Alison Pray, the owner of Standard Baking Co., is in the process of reviewing all of her recipes and products to see how the bakery can convert to Maine flour. She has participated in taste testing trials at the University of Maine and traveled to Demark to learn about stone milling, the traditional method the Somerset Grist Mill uses to process grain, and the traditions of baking Nordic bread.

Pray says, "Our head production baker and staff are constantly in contact with Amber to talk about how to incorporate Maine Grains flours into our recipes. That's one of beauties of the relationship with the local producer. We love it when she comes to visit us in the bakery and see how we are using her products. It creates a great personal relationship between the miller and the baker."

The Standard Baking Co. has begun changing existing recipes and creating new recipes to use Maine Grains products. For example, the bakery's Chunky Chocolate Rye cookie is made using Maine Grains rye flour and a Belgian bittersweet chocolate chunk.

"It's a chunky, chewy cookie," Lambke adds. "Standard Bakery's customers love them. They sell out of them nearly every day. The cookie is so rich and delicious, plus the rye flour adds a depth of texture and flavor."

Forage Market in Lewiston, Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery in Manhattan, and Bien Cuit in Brooklyn are some other bakeries making the switch.

Bien Cuit owner-baker Zachary Golper says, "The taste is distinctly different from the grain produced in mass landscapes on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. The flavor of the grains in fermentation with our wild yeast culture has proven to be a phenomenal addition to the profiles we are already trying to highlight."

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Alison Pray and Amber Lambke at Standard Baking Co.

About Maine Grains
Maine Grains is the largest milling operation in Maine using the traditional stone milling process. It began operations in 2012 with the mission of bringing grain cultivation and processing back to central Maine as a means of spurring new economic development. Working with local farmers, the mill processes all-natural and certified organic whole grain and sifted flours, oats, wheat berries, buckwheat and more on its Austrian stone mill and sells them under the Maine Grains label. The superior quality of Maine Grains has created a national following in the culinary world. Standard Baking Co. of Portland; Scratch Baking Company of South Portland, Maine; Gotham Bar and Grill and Gramercy Tavern of New York City; and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in West Chester, New York are just a few of the award-winning establishments that use Maine Grains in their dishes. To learn more, visit www.mainegrains.com.