Oechsner Farms & Farmer Ground Flour

Oechsner Farms & Farmer Ground Flour
Newfield, NY

Spend 5 minutes with Thor Oechsner and I bet  a bag of malt you will want to be an organic grain farmer. 

When he was a kid Thor loved visiting his uncle’s dairy farm. By the time he was a teenager, he convinced his parents to let him tear up their suburban yard—to plant corn.

Thor now farms almost 1000 acres of all kinds of grains from emmer to oats.  

At first, his grains went for animal feed. Watching land get snapped up for housing, he realized he needed to make more money on his rented acres. Thor thought first of flour because his German grandfather was a pastry chef.

In 2009, he started a mill, Farmer Ground Flour. Two years later he helped start Wide Awake Bakery, a Community Supported Bakery that uses his wheat. This farmer-miller-baker partnership is a great model of how small scale production builds businesses and relationships.

We met Thor in 2011 at the NOFA-NY conference, and began hounding him to sell us some of his 9% protein Warthog wheat. The stalking got so serious that Thor knighted Andrea Stalker Babe.

Earning this title was energy well spent. We love Thor's Warthog wheat, and so do our customers.

Martens Farm & Lakeview Organic Grain

Martens Farm and Lakeview Organic Grain
Penn Yan, NY

At the ripe old age of 23, Peter Martens farms 450 acres of organic crops including: barley, wheat, rye, spelt, corn, soybeans, and dry beans. 

In 2012 Peter worked for 6 months on an organic farm north of Hamburg, Germany. This experience opened his eyes to the different farming methods in Germany. The farming equipment is expensive but very versatile and efficient. 

Peter and his dad Klaas Martens have been growing 2-Row Winter Barley for us since 2010.   

Rob Cormer

On March 25th we received an email from Rob, “Good Afternoon, I am a small part time farmer and have been starting to grow small grains in my crop rotations. This past season I successfully grew winter wheat that we harvested and resold for seed. I am planning on growing malting barley this year, but am looking for a market before I do so. It would be great to talk to you and possibly work together supplying local markets with local ingredients.”

This is the kind of email we love. Rob is young, smart, and interested in becoming a full time farmer. He works for his family's construction business  and is not shy when it comes to working hard and getting a job done the right way. Within 2 weeks, Rob visited Valley Malt and left with a ton of Conlon seed. We agreed to supply the seed, share the risk, and stay in touch. We also emailed Kent Falls Brewing to let them know that Rob was in their hood and we may finally have some premium CT grown malt for their farmhouse ales. Everyone was eager to see what the season would hold. The Conlon was harvested and Rob had a good crop to sell. He also grew Organic Rye, which was delivered just a few weeks after the barley. After a successful first, year Rob has planted Winter Wheat, Rye and Barley for 2017.

Cook Farm

Cook Farm / Hadley, MA

The Cooks were one of the original 50 families that settled Hadley in 1659. Puritans in exile, they may not have been the biggest fans of beer but today the family is happy to still be stewarding the land and running a thriving dairy farm. Winter Rye is a crop that gets planted in the fall to maintain soil nutrients, prevent erosion, bale straw for bedding, and now make beer and whiskey from.  Working with Cook Farm is rewarding and creates a hyper local source for Rye that also supplements their farm’s income.

Mosher Farm

Mosher Farm / Bouckville, NY

We met Corey through one of our growers Scott Omara, who we had been working with since 2012. Corey, his uncle Terry, and many other members of their family run Mosher Farm in Bouckville, NY. They are an example of a successful diversified farm growing berries, vegetables, hops and grains. About 2 and a half hours away from Valley Malt, their farm’s landscape is vast and they work their farmland in a sustainable system, many times partnering with other growers to rotate land and market their crops. Scott and Corey have worked together and both are succeeding in growing winter malting barley in NY.  We can sleep at night knowing that we have Mosher Farms behind the wheel, they care about quality, variety, and long-term success for both their farm and family and ours.