This past weekend, I experienced one of the best day trips ever. My husband, Josh, and I drove out to Agassiz to tour Cedar Isle Farm – a family-run farm that grows organic grains. It was such a special experience that I had to share it with you here…
Up until recently I didn’t think it was possible to purchase local grains – oats, wheat, barley, rice, etc. from our part of the world. But I learned that Cedar Isle Farm is doing this very thing when I read Claire Livia Lassam’s story in Edible Magazine. I was super excited to learn more about them, so when I heard of the opportunity to tour their farm, I jumped on it – and took Josh with me, too.
We found Cedar Isle Farm nestled in the most idyllic spot in Agassiz, about an hour and a half from where I live. It’s run by husband and wife team, Jim and Diane, and Yoshi – one of their very first CSA members! Their home is surrounded by mountains, tons of chickens, a variety of fruit trees, and a sense of peace that had me longing that much more for a similar way of life…
Jim, Yoshi and Diane gave a group of us a tour of their farm and taught us all about their grains. The best part is that the entire farm is organic. I couldn’t believe it – local AND organic grains (not to mention that the farmers and all their children are some of the warmest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met). We enjoyed ice cream and lemonade at their home, picnicking under their fruit trees, a hay ride through the acreage and blackberry picking along their property. We even got to work on the field a bit, too, which was such a highlight. Jim taught us so much about growing grains and their varieties. When we said goodbye, they gave us a dozen eggs from their chickens and the biggest bags of oat “samples” to take home. It truly was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a very long time.
Josh and I signed up for their CSA program and look forward to enjoying locally-grown, organic grains all year round. (CSAs are “Community Supported Agriculture” programs where members purchase a “share” of the harvest.) We will get a year’s worth of grains and flours when they’re ready in October, and I’m sure following that you can expect to see many grain-centric recipes on this blog!
One of the things I advocate for the most in my work is eating locally as it is such an important aspect of wellness for many reasons:
- local produce is higher in nutrients than those that have travelled from a greater distance. When a fruit or vegetable is plucked from its source, it begins to lose nutrients, so it’s best to eat as close to the source as possible
- local produce hasn’t had to withstand added chemicals or irradiation that occur when produce has had to cross the border
- the body receives the type of nutrients it needs to thrive in the particular climate it’s in (such as raw, cooling fruit in the summer, or cooked, hearty root vegetables that warm you in the winter)
- it gives you the opportunity to know where your food comes from – to get to know the farmer and ask questions
One of the things we learned on this tour was that store-bought rolled oats have been steamed (sadly destroying some of their nutrients). At Cedar Isle Farm they practice “cold-rolling” their oats so that they retain their nutritional value.
Cedar Isle Farm sells wheat, barley, rye and oats (groats, crimped and cold-rolled). For the rice lovers among us… Jim let me know that Masa Shiroki of Artisan Sake Maker is making locally-grown rice! Yay!
(A little note… this is just me spreading the word on a way of life I whole-heartedly believe in – it’s not sponsored content or anything of the kind, and I will definitely let you know if it ever is xo)
Photos by Josh and Natasha Asselstine