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Cleaning Teff

My parents have been debating this new barn/facility for several months. It’s a big decision. 2,400 square feet and nearly two stories high would go up after two 70 feet tall silo’s are torn down to make room for it.

They decided to go for it based on looking at the future of alternative grains and seeds, conversations with buyers, and the momentum of Teffola (and that’s in huge part due to you). Our intention is that this be a gluten free cleaning and processing facility for teff and other grains and seeds that we grow. When teff is harvested, there’s lots of weed seeds, bits of stalk and dirt mixed in with it. And because teff is so small (half the size of a poppy seed), it’s very difficult to clean to a high purity rate.

Cleaning grains and seeds is a lot like sifting sand on a beach to find shells. As the pure sand goes through the sifter, there are stones, shells, and pebbles that are left. But the difficulty with teff is that it falls right through with all the other bits that we don’t want. One way to clean teff is to do the opposite: find a tiny screen that’s small enough for teff to go through but nothing else. Not an easy task.

This is the way we’ve been cleaning teff and we’ve gotten to it to an incredible purity rate that we’re happy with. There is another method to cleaning grains called a gravity table. A gravity table is even more efficient and effective way to clean grains, but they’re quite expensive. We were fortunate enough to be the recipient of a Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to purchase the gravity table. A huge thanks to the people there who helped us with our applications, came to visit the farm and the committee members that approved it!

We can’t wait to see what else we can do with the gravity table. It’s an exceptional piece of equipment and we’re thrilled to be able to work with it!