Sourcing Ancient Grains | Part 2
In the previous blog post, we spoke about some of the challenges of sourcing ingredients for Teffola and why our focus is grains. The team on the farm knows how to clean teff and is working on learning how to dehull millet and buckwheat. The last grain that we use is oats and they present a unique challenge that we're going to get into today.
The process to get oats from the field to the canister of rolled oats you see at the grocery store (and what you see in Teffola) goes something like this: harvested, cleaned, dehulled via quick steam to kill any little critters, then using steam to keep the groat as large as possible as it's rolled. There are nuances to rolling oats and sometimes there's more processing after being rolled! Instant oats for example are rolled oats cut into pieces so they cook faster.
There are 5-10 companies doing the above process at a large commercial scale volume. And because most grain processors don't just clean or process a single type of grain, many facilities work with grains containing gluten. They'll source their oats from Canada and from farmers across the US blending them (after lots of testing) to make sure the end product is consistent across all their markers and specifications.
Thinking we should just use the oats on our farm?
Great question! Rolling oats requires significantly more licensing, regulation, expensive equipment and set up and just isn't something that we're ready to take on. Finding a miller who rolls oats from local farmers is tough but possible.But introducing the gluten free requirement? That narrows the options significantly even without taking price, shipping, certifications etc into consideration. And I haven't found a single one. Please let me know if you know someone! This will be a big piece of the grains supply chain puzzle for us: claire @ teneragrains.com
So that's some of the thinking that goes into sourcing oats. We care deeply about supporting grain farmers and the crops they put so much work and care into.