Cost of wheat increasing?

I just took delivery of more grains and flour this spring and for a variety of reasons will be paying almost double for white flour what I paid last year (and thus four times the price which most bakers pay for typical, commercial white flour). This is partly because my previous source of White Red Fife has dried up until the next harvest, and partly because Speerville’s Whole Whites, since the 1980’s when I first started using them, are the best ‘white flour’ I have ever had, so rather than buy an inferior type of flour at less cost (albeit still organic) I took the plunge – despite lower sales the past six months – and ordered something of better quality albeit almost double the cost because the Maritime farmers are not subsidized like other farmers, and because of smaller operation milling fees being a tad higher per kilo.

Speerville’s Whole WHite isn’t a typical white flour: they sift it differently so that some of the germ remains whilst most of the bran is sifted out. They do not publish percentages or other technical information but it looks to me like it is about 85% extraction vs. the usual white-white which is is 75% or less. (These figures should be checked since milling is not my area of expertise.) It has a rich, golden colour. It’s really, really good.

In any case, I will now be paying more. But that’s not really what this post is about, nor is it about a general flour shortage in Canada due to problems with silos, train deliveries etc. in the Great Prairies out West, since that shortage doesn’t effect either of my organic suppliers except indirectly perhaps. No, this is a heads-up about wheat and food prices in general from a hard-hitting – and often controversial – financial blog, Washington’s Blog.

Looks like either gold is going down, or wheat is going up. Personally, I hope its the former but I suspect we are going to get a massive rise in food prices soon. We have had low interest rates and cheap money since the early 90’s. That’s a long time. At some point food and basic will go up given a boom-bust cycle is pre-programmed into the banking cartel financial system we have all consented to live under wherein monies are issued for public use by profit-earning private cartels in a way that is essentially a scam, and according to many is the source of many of the world’s evils and relative lack of authentic societal progress the past couple of centuries. Certainly their profits constitute a hidden tax and also make inflation a virtual certainty, meaning there is no simple way to save over a lifetime of earning which hollows out family continuity and dignity amongst many other things. Yes, there has been much material progress, most a result of technological advances that happen naturally over time, along with population growth which such advances furthered by making larger-scale urbanisation more easily possible, but culturally, spiritually, socially, we have been going downhill steadily for quite some time, and most likely this is because the social contract, including how we raise families and earn livings, has been degraded by the over-reliance on market forces, profit motives, private corporations, crony capitalist politicking and all the rest of it, most of which I never bother to bring up on this little bread-related blog. But hey! Wheat prices might be going up big-time soon, and I believe it’s good to realise that these sorts of things, including a serious threat to the viability of my little organic bakery, don’t happen in a vacuum and most certainly are not due to over-simplifications like ‘the law of supply and demand’.

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Anyway, this is a heads up for my readers here: in this Year of the Wood Horse (and Wood is the energy of green, growing things), prices could get wild. I won’t be able to pass on costs to my customers for a while since this is a small town with most people on limited budgets, meaning I will take a hit of 5-10% to annual income from changing flour types, but I am happy to do so because I really like the flour in question. And this year it’s a new type which I believe only one farmer in the region is growing (again, I don’t have specific information unfortunately), namely Acadia wheat, a heritage variety developed in the 1930’s which specifically thrives in Maritime climates. I believe I have posted about this already. It is regarded as a landrace variety, i.e. is not a modern hybrid. It is soft, rises nicely, has a light, rich flavour and aroma. I like it.

I am REALLY looking forward to baking with Speerville’s Whole White Acadia, and having to pay more for it, though a tad painful, is something I don’t regret in the slightest. It’s worth it.

One last link from this blog describes modern American (and essentially Western including Canadian) class structure:

I am a proud member of the new, and last class, what he terms the ‘Mobile Creative’ class, who are by and large independent and self-employed and the only one of the other eight identified not essentially bound to current system. So I guess I must be doing something right!


Rise of Artisan Bread – traditional Miche in NYC

A friend in the States just shunted this link along about Artisan Bread:

The artcicle is about his miche but I suspect this is a generic photo; in any case, can’t tell which one is the miche.

I was making I pretty good 1.5 kg Miche last year but people stopped buying it, no doubt because it’s just too expensive. I make many hearth loaves weighing around 680g/1.5 lbs which are essentially similar, but mine don’t take 60+ hours to make, ‘merely’ about 30. I suspect that quite a bit of that time is dough soaking in a cool walk-in (which I don’t have) but the article doesn’t explain.

In any case, it’s always good when articles pop up praising what I think of as ‘real bread’. And unfortunate that so many people still aren’t exposed to it or don’t understand it’s significance when they are, how basically an almost miraculously delicious and healthy food has been transformed into something that barely even resembles the authentic article. So much so that when chatting about this with my fresh fish man last week at the market, he confessed that he much prefers ‘traditional bread’ to mine – and of course by ‘traditional bread’ he means the supermarket imitation he and most people nowadays think of and are used to and even enjoy as ‘bread’.