When locally sourced food isn’t available, the tough grow it anyway
Ruben and Kristin Hernandez are bakers in Baltimore, Maryland, who wanted to use locally-sourced wheat in their bread. Only problem is, no one grows the required “hard” wheat in Maryland, because the relatively humid climate leads to disease. (Hard wheats are rich in gluten, the protein that gives bread its elasticity and structure.)
Ruben briefly considered growing the wheat himself, on the roof of his bakery, but ditched the idea when he found Aaron Cooper, the one farmer on the Eastern Shore willing to give it a shot. The secret to growing organic hard wheat in a place no one else would dare? Keeping things small. "Organic wheat is a finicky crop," Cooper told Urbanite magazine, so he’s keeping the planting to 5-10 acres. It’s enough to produce 500 pounds of hard wheat at harvest time.
The benefits of sourcing locally go beyond green cred — like coffee, bread is best when made from fresh-ground starting materials. The Hernandezes are anticipating a “nutty and more complex flavor than bread made from conventional flour.”
- Rising to the Challenge , Urbanite