As we all try our best to incorporate local foods into our diets, fresh veggies and fruits don’t seem to be much of a problem. Organic grains and proteins seem a bit harder to find. However, thanks to NYC’s Greenmarket Regional Grains Project bakers, chefs and home kitchens have access to a variety of locally produced organic grains direct from regional farmers.
The program began in 2004 as an effort to connect local artisans and farmers to develop and grow the local grain economy here in the Northeast. The progress has been astounding, as farmers continue to plant more acres and Greenmarket bakers and shoppers continue to increase demand. All Greenmarket bakers are required to use at least 15% local grains in there products and many use more.
Unfortunately many of us have become intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, and as more research on Celiac’s disease is completed we are beginning to understand why.
Traditionally, bakers would ferment dough for 18-25 hours or more. As dough ferments, gluten proteins breakdown over time which lowers the glycemic index and improves the digestibility of the bread. Packaged bread that we find in the supermarket goes from grain to plastic in less than three hours, leaving little to no time for fermentation. It also contains highly processed flours from wheat grown with dangerous chemicals. The result is a finished product that our systems have come to reject.
Fortunately there a lots of awesome alternatives available at the market and all around NYC. Many bakers have started baking the old fashion way using long fermentation times and whole-milled whole wheat flour to produce amazing artisanal goods.
Stop by the Regional Grains Project’s booth at the Union Square Greenmarket to discover everything they have on offer and learn about incorporating these products into your everyday life.
For more info go to www.grownyc.org/grains