As the days grow a bit shorter, cooler, meeker, our appetites sprout a hankering for something just as filling as it is nourishing. Enter: the grain bowl, a regular appearance on the Heirloom Cookshop dinner menu with selections from Bluebird Grain Farms always the staple.
Chef Schu first encountered Bluebird Grain Farms at the farmers’ markets she frequents and sources from. While involved in Chef’s Collaborative and Cascade Harvest Coalition Events as a liaison between chefs and farmers, she developed a strong connection with and affection for this local, family-owned farm. While initially attracted to their living soil approach to farming quality ancient grains, Chef Schu has remained loyal to the granary for delivering a product that is just as delicious as it is nutritious.
As such, when Brooke and Sam Lucy, owners of Bluebird Grain Farms, invited her to visit, Chef Schu leapt at the chance to “reconnect with friends who have the same mindset.” Located in Methow Valley in Central-Northern Washington, just past Chelan, the Bluebird Grain Farm name was inspired by the flocks of bluebirds that land here each spring, as planting begins, and linger through the summer growing season. Chef Schu visited the farm in early October, shortly after the bluebirds had migrated south, signaling time for harvest.
While at the granary, Chef Schu enjoyed both an aerial view of the emmer farro fields during a hike and an eye-level examination of the production operation — from their silos to the all-wood grain mills. “I loved nibbling on the raw product from the bins and smelling the grains,” Chef recalls. She even “learned about their newer products and took samples home to play with.”
Since her visit, Chef has been experimenting with “their high protein flours in our breads and baked goods” at Heirloom Cookshop. Even more regularly, however, she finds herself craving “a warm bowl of farro with sheep’s milk feta, caramelized onions and fennel and greens.” Recently, farro has appeared on the Heirloom Dinner menu alongside delicata and tahini. With its toasty flavor and hearty texture, Bluebird Grain Farms’ emmer farro and einkorn pair well with nearly any seasonal vegetables.
Stop by Heirloom Cookshop to taste one of Chef Schu’s seasonal creations or pick up a bag of your own to take home for some kitchen experimentation. Locally sourced and protein-dense, this guilt free grain is sure to keep your conscience and appetite satisfied all season.