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Flour Goes to the Moon

What if we went to the moon and no one noticed? That’s what’s going in regional flour, I think.

Le Moulins des Cedres at Les Fermes Longpres. Photo credit Loic Dewavrin.

Le Moulins des Cedres at Les Fermes Longpres. Photo credit Loic Dewavrin.

















Red Hen, a bakery in Central Vermont, will soon be sourcing all its flour from within 150 miles. This is the equivalent of the lunar landing for regional flour, in my eyes.  To be able to fetch all your flour from such a tight radius is unusual, especially in the Northeast, where growing wheat for bread fell out of favor more than a century ago.

Yet the bakery has been dogged in sourcing local ingredients, including flour. Over its 15 years in business, Red Hen has developed partnerships with growers. Le Moulins des Cedres, a new on-farm mill in Quebec at Les Fermes Longpres, is the latest connection, and is enabling the bakery to take this bold step. Read more about this in a story I wrote for Zester Daily.



This morning I started some bread dough. We weren’t out of bread, and I can’t really chew because I had dental surgery Thursday (while waiting for the novacaine to kick in, my surgeon told me stories of planting rice in South Korea when he was a kid), but I wanted the comfort of baking.

While I was starting the bread, using a recipe from Richard Miscovich’s From the Wood Fired Oven, I decided to start some pizza dough, too. I used sourdough, and whole wheat Farmer Ground Flour, and some Red Fife flour I got in Canada a couple of weeks ago. Pizza is always good on a Sunday, because there are leftovers for lunches.IMG_5085


After breakfast (pancakes of course), Felix declared he wanted to cook outdoors. Initially I rejected the idea, but I didn’t have a reason other than chores that seemed more important. Plus, I did have some dough he could use for pita. So I bargained for outdoor baking with getting him to commit to helping clean up indoors.


We both had a great time with the food and the fire. The pitas puffed up irregularly, and when they ballooned, we squealed in delight, like we were watching fireworks. Although I’d begun baking as therapy this morning, how it ended, squatting at a fire and feeding sticks into a hole cut in the hill, watching flour glow orange as the heavily dusted rounds of dough heated in the pan, was better than my original plan.


We ate in the yard, dipping the bread in dal, and a cucumber yogurt sauce. Coming inside with extra bread, Felix said, “I feel so satisfied.” Indeed.