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While planning out how to stay true to an all local diet, one of the biggest questions for me was where my grains would come from. I love pasta, and breads and I am not willing to give them up for this challenge, so I realized I would need to make sure that just like the rest of my food, I find a good local source. During my reasearch I ran across Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain. They sell shares much like any other CSA, or community supported agriculture, and their next distribution is only a couple of weeks away! (For those of you who aren’t familiar with how a CSA works, or what they are, let me give you a brief introduction. Community supported agriculture is focused on high quality local foods, often organic or biodynamic, and their distribution. This practice began in Europe during the 1960s when people wanted to ensure food safety and react to urbanization of agricultural land. A CSA, as the name implies, is a community based system where people pledge to a farm that they will support their growing and operations. In this way both the consumer and the producer are sharing the risks and benefits involved in food production). So as I was saying, I found this CSA and decided to purchase a share. Little did I know that one full share is 105 pounds… so I opted for a half. This still leaves me with an enormous amount of grain, and a lot of planning to make sure it goes to good use.

This year the farm planted corn, rye, spelt, farro, barley and wheat along with some beans, so I will be ordering a mill for our house with the intention of making my own flours for baking and pasta, and perhaps even some cereals if things go well.  While I am excited to test out these new grains and get to work in the kitchen, all I can honestly think of right now is the storage of my order. I can’t even imagine what 50lbs of grain looks like let alone how I will ensure that none of it goes to waste while it is waiting to be used. Perhaps 50lbs isn’t really all that much? I will know soon enough.

Some resources for more information on CSAs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture
http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0104/csa-history/part1.shtml
http://www.scribd.com/doc/19761618/41-CSA-History

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