Cultivating Heritage Grains and Legumes in Northern California

Introducing Mendocino Grain Project

The Mendocino Grain Project grows grains and supports other Northern California growers by harvesting, cleaning and milling crops at its granary in Ukiah, California. Lauren Chandler shares her experience visiting the fields and mill during Eat Retreat Anderson Valley in May 2014.

Doug Mosel and John Gramke spent the morning touring us through yellow, green, and purple-hued fields of wheat, barley, rye and lentils. The Mendocino Grain Project farms 50 acres on a nearby vineyard growing ancient varieties of heritage grains. We chewed on small handfuls of Red Fife and found that, due to the high gluten content, it eventually turned into chewing gum–gluten gum!

Back at the mill, Doug taught us how the combines, sorting and milling machines operate. To see how the flours perform, Doug makes pasta with several varieties of grains and invites friends to compare their flavors and textures. They pair the pasta with “lots of beer” and different local sauces. He revealed his favorites: the Ethiopian Blue Tinge and Chiddam Blanc. –Lauren Chandler