It can be easy to ignore the whispers of Mother Nature; gentle breezes on sunny days or even misty mornings followed by an overcast sky. For a farmer and maltster these whispers of mother nature are music to our ears. They mean that our crops were not being subjected to harsh conditions which will negatively affect our crops.
So for the most part we have great news to report from our 2014 crops. Sadly much of the winter barley planted did not make it through the harsh, cold winter. If you recall we had very cold days without any snow cover to protect our the small barley plants. To balance things out the spring barley did great. We will mostly have 2-Row Conlon from about 5 different farms to work with this year. The farms we are working with, including our own, are in the CT River Valley (MA & CT) and the Hudson and Finger Lakes Region of NY. We also have Aroostook Rye from Maine and Danko Rye and Warthog Wheat from NY. Almost all of these grains are certified organic or have been grown on land that is transitioning to organic. Our Spelt is being sourced from Small Valley Farm in PA because the entire NY Spelt crop killed over the winter.
As a comparison to last year, this year has us exhaling a huge sigh of relief. Because of wet conditions during harvest from NY to MA to Maine, last year's crop had significant challenges with much of the grain becoming either darkened from microflora or sprouted or both due to moisture and humidity at the critical time when grain is supposed to dry down and be harvested. Good quality grain does not only benefit us and our customers but also benefits the farmers and the remerging industry of grain farming on the East Coast. If we has another bad year like last, many farmers would have just thrown in the towel and continued to grow corn and soybean as a faceless commodity crop. Instead farmers are excited, seeing decent and even good yields. Even better farmers are seeing a real market for growing malting grade grains. Many of these farmers will be coming out to celebrate the harvest with us at Barleyfest. We hope you and your family and friends will join us, too