February 18, 2008
Contact: Laurie Davis, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, 518-962-4810;
Sam Sherman, Champlain Valley Milling, 518-962-4711

Organic Flour Processor to Speak February 25 in Westport

Sam Sherman, the owner of Champlain Valley Milling, Westport, NY, would much rather purchase his raw materials from local farmers than truck them in from the Midwest. Sherman will talk about the opportunity for crop producers to produce and sell grains to his mill, the necessary production standards and on-farm storage of food-grade grains as part of a February 25 Going Organic in the North Country workshop at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County in Westport.

�We could use 6,000 or more acres� worth of winter and spring wheat grown in Northern New York,� says Sherman, who is actively seeking regional farmers to supply grains for processing into flours for the commercial and home baking of breads, pastries, cookies and cakes.

Sherman notes that there is a 15 to 20 percent annual national growth in the sales of organic flours, and that presents both the opportunity and the challenge for North Country growers. The grains Sherman wants to buy must be grown under certified organic standards.

�At the February 25th workshop I will talk about growing grains for a specific market. I am interested in specific varieties of wheat that is grown to specific production standards,� Sherman says.

Also on the agenda for the free 6-9 pm workshop are Organic Agriculture Specialist Sarah Johnston of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm Manager Michael Davis, and farmer Beth Spaugh of Rehoboth Homestead.

Johnston, a past director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, will talk about State Agriculture and Markets organic marketing initiatives, the unique opportunities and challenges for organic producers, and the factors driving consumer interest in organic products.
Davis will share his experiences with the organic certification process, the production of several different crops, and how organic and non-organic crop production compare. Spaugh of Peru, NY, will speak about marketing her home-grown produce, poultry and cut flowers with and without official organic certification.

Call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 518-962-4810 to register for the workshop. The Going Organic in the North Country workshop is also being offered with Sarah Johnston and other local farmers speaking February 26 in Malone and February 27 in Watertown.