Polenta Bread from She Wolf Bakery. Photo: Kristen Wharton 
It all starts with the choice of grain, which is first a question of place and time."
-- Karen Hess, A Century of Change in the American Loaf
The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project is pioneering the new frontier in local food: grains. With our partners, we're building the marketplace for grains grown and milled in the northeast. We are educating and connecting growers, processors, bakers and chefs -- sparking a rise in demand for local grains while helping ensure the crop supply and processing infrastru cture are there to meet that demand. 
The evidence is clear: Regional grains have arrived. 

Upcoming Market Dates
The Grainstand is coming to   Inwood! The retail stand also continues its weekly presence at  Union Square on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We will have an extra market the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Union Square, as well as the usual Wednesday market. Here is our full schedule through Christmas:
Pre-ordered bulk bags are available at Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday.     Check availability and pricing here.   To pre-order and for more information, please  e-mail  us.   Wholesale  orders of $250 or more can be delivered through  Greenmarket Co. ,  GrowNYC's wholesale distribution program. 
News Highlight: She Wolf Bakery's Polenta Bread
Polenta Bread from Greenmarket's Own She Wolf Bakery Takes The City By Storm

Polenta Boule on sale at She Wolf's Greenmarket stand at Union Square. Photo by Marie Tribouilloy

Austin Hall, the master baker behind She Wolf Bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, believes human relationships at every step in the production chain are what make truly great bread possible. Austin's close collaboration with Farmer Ground Flour, based in the Finger Lakes region of New York, is a strong example. FGF's organic, freshly stone-ground polenta and high extraction half-white flour shine in She Wolf's Polenta Bread. The bakery, which started out of the Fort Greene restaurant Roman's in 2009, debuted the new bread one year ago. The culinary innovation is a testament to the team's commitment to the highest quality New York grain, as well as to the rising supply of regional grains and flours -- part of a burgeoning Northeast "Grainshed" proving its comeback after grain production vanished from the region at the turn of the 19th century.

A toasted polenta "mash" is incorporated into this blended wheat dough, creating breads with a robust sweet-corn flavor, gentle crunch, and medium-open crumb.  Light and spongy with a perfectly crispy exterior, this bread is sublime on its own or as a sandwich base. And it makes a mean French Toast.
Polenta mix for She Wolf's polenta bread. 
Photo by Marie Tribouill

Initially created as a niche offering, the bread has proven to be popular with both chefs and market customers. It's as versatile as it is delicious, offered as a boule, table loaf, rolls, and pullman. It's on menus around the city as a table bread, sandwich bread, french toast base, breading crumbs for frying, and a stuffing/bread pudding base. "Not too shabby," says Maxwell Bernstein of She Wolf.

Ingredients are: Organic white flour, Farmer Ground organic Half-White flour, water, natural leaven, Farmer Ground organic coarse corn polenta, Farmer Ground organic cornmeal, kosher salt.

She Wolf Bakery can be found at the Union Square Greenmarket on Monday and Wednesdays, at 79th Street on Sundays, at West 97th on Fridays, at Columbus on Fridays and Sundays, and at Fort Greene Park on Saturdays. You can also find it on sale at the Brooklyn Kitchen, the brunch menu at Diner, and at Marlow & Daughters -- all in Williamsburg -- and at Roman's in Fort Greene. 

-- Contributed by Kristen Wharton and Maxwell Bernstein
Featured Product: GRGP is Thankful for Corn
Iroquois White Corn Project:  A Story of Sustenance, Resilience and Food Sovereignty  
The stories behind the food we eat are often as important as the food itself. The story of Iroquois white corn, an heirloom flint corn, began 1,400 years ago. 

"White corn was originally a huge staple in our diets when our people were living in villages," said Lauren Jimerson, project manager of Iroquois White Corn Project, which mills and processes the corn from its base at the Ganondagan State Historic Farm in Victor, NY. Cultivating and eating the corn now "is a way of tr ying to get back to our original diet." When the  U.S. government removed Native Americans from their ancestral territory and put them on reservations that were poor for farming, they also gave them commodities like flour, lard, suga r and salt. People started using it to make fatty fry bread, eating it as a bread rather than an occasional confection, said Lauren. "There's a belief that that's when we started to see diabetes.  An d people weren't as active because they weren't cultivating the land." 

Lauren, a member of the Iroquois Seneca Nation, recalls that her grandfather grew the corn, a white flint variety with large, hard kernels. The corn has a low glycemic index and is high in protein. A colleague who was at risk for diabetes started eating the corn flour mixed with water and a little maple syrup every morning for breakfast. Her blood sugar returned to normal levels and the risk abated, said Lauren. 

Its political significance stems from its integral connection to the Seneca people; invaders knew that the best way to hurt them was to destroy their crop, as in 1687 when they burned a half a million bushels. "So the return of the white corn to Ganondagan is as symbolic as the return of the Seneca people to Ganondagan," said Lauren. "We're talking about resilience and survival."

Lauren's family still harvests and processes it the traditional way: T
he corn is first 40% dried while still on the stalk, then harvested, stored and completely dried in storage for an entire season. In the spring the hull is removed to make it more digestible . The painstaking, traditional method begins with burning hard woods in the fireplace. Then large chunks of wood are sifted out so all that remains is the ash, which contains lye that softens the hull. The corn is boiled in  an ash-water mix. Finally, its hull is scrubbed off against the side of a corn-wash basket in a process that takes up to 5 hours for two quarts of kernels.

The Iroquois White Corn Project was launched in 1997 by John Mohawk, a Seneca born on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in Western New York. John figured out how to get a higher corn yield more quickly by using culinary lime to dissolve the hull - a process that also releases the nutrients in the corn. In 2006 the project shifted to Ganondagan, where it remains today. "We have these really old traditions but we are a contemporary people," said Lauren. "We don't live in teepees."

Iroquois White Corn is available at the GRGP Grainstand. 
Decoding Corn: Grind, Color, Taste
Maine Grains Polenta made with Organic Garland Yellow Flint Corn. Photo: Amber Lambke

The Grainstand carries several kinds of corn products, and it can get confusing pretty quickly. Below is a handy guide from our own Henry Randall.  

  • Yellow Grits from Castle Valley Mill: Coarse grind, bright sweet and savory traditional corn flavor. Perfect for chewy, hearty grits and porridges.
  • Polenta from Wild Hive Farm or Farmer Ground Flour: Medium grind, fresh flavor. Great for porridge and fried polenta cakes.
  • Yellow cornmeal from Maine Grains:  Fine grind with some coarse, chewy particles, made from a yellow flint corn called garland.  Makes a rich, hearty porridge. Great for Johnny Cakes.  Try toasting the grain lightly before cooking for a nutty popcorn flavor.
  • Yellow cornmeal from Farmer Ground Flour: Fine grind for baking and dredging. Made with a yellow dent corn. Full sweet and sour corn flavor. Use for cornbread, corn muffins, Anadama bread, corn pancakes, hush puppies, mix into fried chicken dredge, dusting fish.
Bloody Butcher Grits and Yellow Grits from Castle Valley Mill in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Available at the Grainstand.
  • Hulled corn from Iroquois White Corn Project: Hulled whole corn for soups, stews and composed salads.  Sweet, starchy and chewy.  Can be prepared similarly to dried beans; Think pazole.
  • Roasted corn flour from Iroquois White Corn Project: White corn is toasted and milled into a fine cornmeal.  Makes a deliciously robust cornbread, cake, pancakes or cookies.
  • Bloody Butcher red grits from Castle Valley Mill: Coarse heirloom red wheat going back to the 1800s.  Make just like traditional grits.  Savory berry flavor akin to currants or grapes.  Pairs well with red meats or grilled fish. 
Come by The Grainstand to pick up some regionally grown corn in all its glory!

Recipe Highlights
Some fall recipes using regional grains and flours available now from the Grainstand...
  • Here are two recipes from one of our most popular producers: Iroquois White Corn Project, taking a traditional staple food of the Iroquois and applying them to modern dishes. "We run into the stigma that Indians are dead," said Lauren Jimerson, of the Seneca Nation. By putting a contemporary spin on these old concepts, "We are educating against those stigmas and stereotypes.Enjoy!
Pumpkin Corn Bread 
Pumpkin Chili 
With White Corn

Donate to the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project
Keep us in mind for end-of-year tax deductible donations! The Regional Grains Project is more committed than ever to building  a resilient regional food system through  linking urban and rural communities together.  

Make donations to GrowNYC here. Be sure to note "GRAINS" if you'd like your donation to fund our project. Thanks!
The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project and the Grainstand are programs of GrowNYC, the sustainability resource for New Yorkers: providing free tools and services anyone can use in order to improve our City and environment. More gardens, Greenmarkets, more recycling, and education for all. 
Learn more at www.grownyc.org
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