A little look at Ithaca Heritage Grains
As some of you know, I was chosen to work with Sharon Burns-Leader, Jeffery Hamelman, and a few other wonderful bakers from the East Coast all of tremendous talent and charm. So much was done in such little time, and yet still so much more research is being done on growing heritage grain varieties to bring them back to market. I know that my time spent at Wide Awake Bakery this past weekend was one of the most memorable moments of my career to date.
Oh, yes, I was nervous. Yes, I didn't feel like I was deserving of being there. And yes, we baked some bread.
I was awfully busy and had little to no time to take pictures, but there was a wonderful young women named Allison who put together quite a site to commemorate our studies. The site can be found here; https://ausavage.exposure.so/wide-awake-bakery
I am the silly fellow with lots of tattoos and orange glasses. There is also a flickr of pictures too! That can be found here; http://www.flickr.com/photos/jruss/sets/72157640062973973/
This was the first day, I am seen mixing up one of the heritage varieties sourdough. We worked with eight kinds of wheat and were not allowed to know which kind either until the end.
There was many parameters, protocols, and evaluations for us to follow. Under the guidance of Jeffery, we all did our best, and we did it well.
I have been trying to figure the correct words to say about this event, but I think it will be easier to summarize why this research has been ongoing and still has a few years left to complete.
It is an attempt to find whole, sustainable, value-added organic grains, bringing back economically viable grain farming to the East again. Pretty short and to the point right? Can't say I ever really liked typing a lot ; )
Check out ogrin.org/grains_OREI.html for abit more info on the topic.
I sent my greetings from those who wished, to those in need of hearing. I met amazing people I would have otherwise never had the chance to cross paths with. I explored a great city, ate some great food, and took part in something larger.
And over dinner one night with Mr. Hamelman, I believe I was too choked up with trying my best to answer all his questions and thought provoking considerations he was asking me that I may have forgotten to say this in its entirety, but perhaps I did in other words. But what I have come to realize with all my time spent working in bakeries is that why I bake is because it goes beyond me, it is for something much larger. Community is a start, culture is a part, but it is being a small part in something so much more that I simply can't see doing something else.
I am flying back out this coming weekend and working at a very nice bakery in New York for the weekend. It is a job offer I am rather excited over, but my nervous nature is already making me in a tizzy. I will have more info on that at a later date!
Finally, I mean no harm in sharing the photos and linking to these websites. If the photographers mind, please contact me immediately and I will remove them. Otherwise, thank you.