Is the grain organic?

Initially, this project started when CSA organizers were eating only food produced within 100 miles of where they lived, and were unable to locate a source of organic local grain. CSA organizers have not required that growers be certified organic, but they are moving toward certification through either Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (KLAS) or Kootenay Organic Growers Society (KOGS). In the interim we believe that knowing the farmers, visiting their farms, and participating in their experience has assured us of their integrity and commitment to our needs.

Can only local people buy shares?

The whole idea behind this project is to encourage local eating. Additionally, Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations impact how grains may be moved outside of the Creston region. If the project speaks to your values, and is the closest grown product to where you live, you may put your name on a waiting list and if there is grain available at the end of the season, and that grain passes CFIA inspection, you may purchase. We just hope you will keep a watchful eye for projects closer to your home and lend your support to those, if possible... or better yet, let our work inspire you to start a Community Supported Agriculture project for food in your area!

How does the price of the CSA grain compare to store bought grain?

We've set our price to be less than the average commercial price of the combined grains. When you factor in the cost of milling our grain, the cost of our flour is substantially less than organic flour purchased at our local stores.

Do you have contact info for people who will mill my grain?

Jennie Truscott, Creston, BC: 250-428-5781

David Everest, Nelson, BC: 250-352-0063

What are the best home mills to buy?

In 2009 subscribers were surveyed on their grain mill experiences. Read survey results here.

There are four main types of home grain mills: manual mills, electric stone mills, micronizer mills, and kitchen machine attachments. Each one of these classes of mills have their drawbacks, and each person must decide which one best meets their own needs.

Manual mills are slow, time consuming and take a great deal of elbow grease to produce enough flour for more than 1 - 2 loaves of bread. They are good backups and can crack grain as well as grind it for flour.

Electric stone mills are heavy duty and good family workhorses. The drawbacks of the stone mill are they grind a little coarser than the micronizers, and the grain must be completely dry or the grain will glaze onto the stones which must be removed to continue grinding. Some stone mills tend to glaze up more than others, and some not at all, customers report. For those who seek to grind oily beans or nuts, some stone mills have optional steel burr attachments. These attachments allow you to grind nuts for nut butter, soy beans for soy flour and all grains whether moist or dry. The drawback with the steel burrs is the coarseness of the grind. The steel burr is excellent for making cracked grains, as is the stone mill. Be sure to look for slow speed, no cabinet stone mill, as these have been reported to be the best.

The most common complaint about micronizers is that they are loud, and that you have to double check your wheat to be sure it is completely free of any stones or other debris so that you do not damage the mill (and invalidate the warranty!). However, some models of micronizers are less noisy than others.

Attachments to kitchen machines are either stone or steel burr or plate and can usually only do small amounts with a fairly coarse grind.

Can you provide other grains, like quinoa, rye, buckwheat, barley and rice?

Our farmers are excited to experiment with different grains and legumes and will add them to the CSA if they seem viable.

How can I best use the grain?

Using a grain share requires a willingness to learn about the particular traits of the different grains and eagerness to experiment. One also has to be willing to a make space in his/her life to cook with these grains on a regular basis. We have the good fortune of having terrific resource people in Creston and Nelson who are offering courses on how to use the CSA grain. For more information on this and other resources, see our News and Events section. Also look at our Recipes and Information Exchange page.

How do I store my grain?

When you receive your grain, it's best to keep it in sub-freezing temperatures for 3 or 4 days to kill any insect eggs that might have made their way into your grain. Then, simply store the bags of grain in a closed container so no rodents can get at it. Once you mill your grain into flour you can enjoy its exquisite fresh flavour by immediately using it or preserve its freshness by putting it in the freezer. This also prevents it from going rancid and losing some of its nutritional value.

Will any of the grain go rancid?

Whole grains last a very long time and are not susceptible to going rancid as long as you store them in a cool, dry place. The natural oils in oats are particularly susceptible to oxidization and can go rancid quickly if not stored in a cool, dry place. The farmers will ensure that your grain is dry when you receive it.