Farm Update - Fall 2021
It's harvest time! Just not for teff.
If you follow us on Instagram and remember back in June I spoke about our struggles with the dry spring. A week later after our farm manager replanted the sizeable field with teff, we got about 4 inches of rain...in one week. The field flooded and the crop failed. And just like that there's no 2021 teff harvest. Which at first was really startling to me. The whole "I'm building a company that rests on that grain" meaning hit me - is Teffola a failure if our farm can't grow teff?
A valid concern but that's not the whole picture. Let's take a look at a couple of facts:
- The weather fluctuates wildly in Michigan and teff is not native to this climate. It's actually quite difficult to grow here.
- Growing crops for grain (meaning intended for human consumption not livestock) is a new world for our farm. There's still a learning curve especially when you take into account that ancient grains and seeds are still a very small part of what our farm does.
- Our farm grows millet and buckwheat very well! But unlike teff, those crops require further processing. We have to take the hull off before I can bake it into Teffola.
- The gluten free cleaning and processing facility is up and running for the most part. We have a 4 step cleaning process for teff that we feel confident in and are nearly done with the process from dirty hulled buckwheat and millet to clean, dehulled grain.
When you take all of this into consideration, completely relying on one grain for the story of Teffola doesn't make sense. A better decision or platform to build on would be to say we source at least one ingredient per product from our farm. This allows for some grace for the farming team who's doing their best.
That said, we still have some teff grain from previous years that I'm able to use in Teffola. And once we have some training on a specialized piece of equipment for the dehulling and cleaning process for buckwheat, we'll be able to source buckwheat from our farm.
Questions, comments or just want to join the conversation of the grain supply chain in the Upper Midwest? Shoot me an email: claire [at] teneragrains.com