All Souls gets grounded

GIRL WITH A GRIST: Owner Jennifer Lapidus and head miller Stuart Wedhoft at Carolina Ground Mill. Photo by John Dickson
GIRL WITH A GRIST: Owner Jennifer Lapidus and head miller Stuart Wedhoft at Carolina Ground Mill. Photo by John Dickson

Pig roast event supports Carolina Ground Flour Mill’s wheat-seed expansion project

Jennifer Lapidus, owner of Carolina Ground Flour Mill, was on a mission to find locally grown, soft white wheat seed to stone-grind at her mill. When she called Paul Murphy, professor of crop science at N.C. State University in Raleigh, she found what she was looking for. Murphy had in fact developed a soft white wheat seed, but he advised Lapidus that there was no market for it. “I told him we are the market,” says Lapidus. David Baur, co-owner of All Souls Pizza in the River Arts District and Farm & Sparrow bakery and flour mill in Candler, was in the very same market and, happily, the shared goal of obtaining the local wheat brought the two businesses together. On Saturday, April 12, All Souls Pizza will host a pig roast dinner and fundraiser for Carolina Ground. The money raised will be used to purchase the soft white wheat foundation seed, as well as support Carolina Ground’s efforts to expand seed varieties in the Southeast. According to Lapidus, the majority of grain grown in North Carolina is soft red wheat, which is what makes the local soft white wheat seed so special. Not to mention, it tastes better in certain applications. “Lots of bakers prefer to make their pastry flour from white wheat because it is lighter with less bran and therefore has less bitter tannins,” explains Bauer, who says he is excited to experiment with flour derived from this new seed variety at both his restaurant and bakery.

The seed will be a public variety, meaning anyone has access to it. Lapidus describes Carolina Ground as a “mission-driven for-profit.” Part of that mission is closing the gap between farmer and baker. The hope is that more producers buy from local growers rather than importing from the larger markets in the Midwest. Both Lapidus and the folks at Carolina Ground’s sister company, Riverbend Malthouse, were satisfied with Murphy’s seed sample. After gaining approval, Murphy sent 40 pounds of seed to the Rocky Mount Research Station to be grown as foundation seed. According to Lapidus, the plan is for Looking Back Farms in Tyner, N.C., to plant 14 acres of the seed in June. This certified seed will be available for the 2015 planting season, making expanded seed varieties that grow well in the Southeast and work well in a food-grade application — such as bread, beer and spirits — a reality. The relationship between Carolina Ground and All Souls Pizza was first formed in 2013, when Bauer’s bakery and mill, Farm & Sparrow, lost 97 percent of its wheat supply due to rains. Bauer turned to Lapidus, who was able to connect him with local growers whose wheat had survived. “You can’t go it alone on grains,” Bauer says. The fundraiser dinner will be prepared by All Souls chef/co-owner Brendan Reusing. Reusing plans to slow-roast the pork and serve it alongside plentiful vegetarian offerings such as cowpeas with spring veggies, bulgur wheat salad with fermented vegetables, fresh greens, breads and pastries. In addition, tickets include one pour from a Riverbend Malthouse featured beer. “I think Carolina Ground is awesome,” Reusing says, “We’re all connected.”

SHARE
About Toni Sherwood
Toni Sherwood is an award-winning filmmaker & writer of articles, screenplays, and fiction. Recently she wrote, produced & directed two sketch comedy films soon to embark on the 2014-15 film festival circuit.

Leave a Reply