Attila ventured out on Monday after work to find a Christmas Tree. He likes a real tree, and so do I. There weren’t many available by the time Attila started looking, but he eventually found one, for $40. It is our Christmas indulgence, well one of them, food is the other. I am lucky in that he will do all the decorating, and enjoys doing it. I just have to be careful not to supervise, although the temptation is great at times! I have to content myself with sitting in my easy chair and playing the part of the great admirer… I’ve got this!
I milled flour earlier this week, and used the last of the bag of wheat berries. That bag lasted for four months, as we purchased it early in August. It provided us with all of our wheat related products, which are primarily breads and muffins. We have two more bags in the freezer, which should last until early August, at which time another journey to the supplier will be in order.
Whole wheat flour will go rancid. We used to purchase large bags of it, when I was working, and we lived in the country. But the intermittent and unpredictable hours that I worked interfered with bread baking, and as a result I did not use all of the flour in time, we lost some of it. So I knew I needed to come up with a better supply flow model. Wheat berries will remain viable far longer than ground flour, so I turned my attention to wheat berries, and a grain mill. Freezing the wheat berries further extends their freshness, so that I can keep a year’s supply without losing quality in my whole wheat flour. Domestic grain mills are readily available on the internet.
Now that I mill my own flour, I use it for everything, bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, squares, if it calls for flour, I use whole wheat. This can be challenging at times, but I am learning how to tweak recipes for optimal results. I enjoy doing this, it is a hobby with benefits. If I didn’t enjoy it, it would be a tedious and frustrating job!
Finding the wheat berries was the challenge. There are no locally grown grain products to be had. There are a few farmers selling wheat berries locally, but they are not interested in selling to individuals, as they focus on sales to specialty bakeries and small artisan food processors. They fail to respond to my inquiries. I think it is a matter of “if you have to ask the price you cannot afford it”, so why waste time talking to me. I am keeping an eye on organic producers in Western Canada, and ways to ship their product here at a reasonable cost. So far, so bad, I haven’t found a feasible way to do it. But I haven’t given up, in my imagination there is someone returning to Ontario with an empty truck!
Date: 7:00 AM EST Wednesday 11 December 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Dew point: -9.7°C
Wind: ESE 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -12
Visibility: 24 km
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I’m the tree decorator at our house, DH doesn’t seem to enjoy helping. I really wish he did, it’d be so much more enjoyable to share decorating the tree.
So, you’re still having problems finding whole wheat. Well, isn’t that a mess. All the wheat Canada produces and you have problems finding smaller quantities.
Bob’s Red Mill has wheat berries in small quantities that you can buy online or look for in a local store. Maybe that would help?
Teri, I guess we are lucky, because Attila would rather I admire him and the tree while he works, and would get very irritable if I tried to help, lol. But if I was decorating the tree, I would definitely enjoy sharing the experience.
I’ve looked at the Bob’s Red Mill wheat berries, and they are far too expensive for our budget. Shipping costs are the issue. I process 22 cups of wheat berries at a time, about twice a month. I think Bob’s Mill berries are $5.29 for 793 g, about 4 cups. This would add up to about $29 twice a month, or $58 a month.
We buy a 25 kg bag for $55, and that will last for 4 months, at $13.75 a month. The catch is we have to take a weekday to drive to Toronto to pick it up, and pay cash. I tried having it delivered near here, and was charged $98 for the 25 kg bag of wheat berries, plus $20 in fuel to pick it up, there and back again.
So far, driving to Toronto for a 25 kg bag of berries is the most economical way to go. it is organic wheat grown in Canada, but not in Ontario. Ontario grown wheat is priced way beyond our means.
There are places in Western Canada to buy excellent organic wheat berries, but shipping them to Ontario costs more than the wheat itself, which makes sense, shipping something that heavy is costly.
In the States there is a company called Azure Standard, who ship organic foods across the country (US not Canada), so Americans can buy US produce at reasonable prices. That company has trucks with drop off points, where people meet the truck in a parking lot to pick up their orders. There is nothing like that here in Canada, I wish!
What about Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipping?
I’ll ask DH for suggestions, he used to be a manager for several trucking firms.
Teri, I haven’t looked in that. The companies I have found that are selling organic wheat berries have their own shipping arrangements, which are quite costly to Ontario. I’m not sure how it would work to have a partial pallet shipped via one’s own arrangements. Something to keep an eye out for!
DH suggests that the company you’re buying from should know who their most reasonable shipper is, since shipping product is part of their business, so you might ask who they would recommend.
Thanks Teri, I appreciate the feedback. The companies I’ve contacted have their preferred methods of shipping, and that shipping is costly. Well, it seems unlikely that a cost effective way of getting wheat berries across the country will turn up, but I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open, lol.