American business Shepherd’s Grain promotes no-till, and direct-seed farming for sustainability, in a bid to renew and preserve the land for future generations.
Shepherd’s Grain farmers invest time, energy, and agricultural science to improve soil health. They are committed to utilizing these practices that result in a healthier soil with a better structure that holds roots in place, stores water and nutrients to nourish crops, and enhances the quality of the seed—ultimately providing a more consistent and more nutritious flour.
“Tilling the soil has been part of farming for millennia, but unfortunately, this long-established practice—which includes cutting deep grooves and turning the soil—increases the natural process of erosion by which soil is moved by wind, water, or gravity. This is a natural enemy to farmers because rich, healthy soil that is full of nutrients is the lifeblood of crops being grown,” the representatives of company told WorldBakers.
Tracking the Flour
In order to achieve more sustainable products, the company offers the possibility to track the origin of their flours. “Additionally, we identity-preserve our flour—meaning that customers can track back to the very farmer who grew their wheat simply by using the identification numbers on their bag, then visiting the “Find Your Grower” page on the Shepherd’s Grain website. Our new noodle flour is also available for restaurateurs and chefs in 50-pound bags from the ADM mill in Los Angeles, California,” according to Shepherd’s Grain.
The business is certified by the Food Alliance, a non-profit organization that creates incentives for sustainable agricultural practices, and educates business leaders and other food system stakeholders on the benefits of sustainable agriculture.
To earn the certification, the 35 farmers must meet numerous criteria to ensure the crops are being sustainably-grown, including providing safe and fair working conditions; ensuring healthy and humane care for livestock; ensuring no added hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics; ensuring no genetically-modified crops or livestock; reducing pesticide use and toxicity; conserving soil and water resources; protecting wildlife habitat; and planning for continuous improvement.
Shepherd’s Grain also maintains an equitable and sustainable pricing philosophy, which means they are focused on paying their farmers stable prices for their wheat, based on the cost of production (instead of being guided by the volatile commodity wheat market).
The Flour Types
This year at IBIE Las Vegas, Shepherd’s Grain has launched a new Soft White Enriched Pastry Flour, a premium flour, which is now available for commercial bakers in 50-pound bags from ADM mills in Los Angeles, CA (ADM #817215) and Spokane, WA (ADM 816208).
According to the producer, the new assortment has many characteristics that make it the perfect flour for discerning pastry chefs. Created by selecting superior wheat varieties and blending them to provide a consistent, high-quality product, the Soft White Enriched Pastry flour is said to offer superior texture, rich color and flavor, and delicious smell and taste—as well as ease in workability and steady consistency. The pastry flour can be used for everything from tender and flaky savory and sweet pies, pastries, tarts and puffs to croissants, eclairs, cannoli, strudels, and more. The company has a long list of well-known customers—from James Beard Foundation Semifinalists craft bakery Seawolf Bakers (Seattle), to the delectable St. Honore Boulangerie (Portland), and Erin Baker’s Breakfast Cookies.
This flour was added to the existing line-up of seven non-GMO verified wheat flours, semolina, and flaxseed products.