The New Barn
At the center of Grapewood Farm is the hub of operations, the new barn and flour mill. In 2017 we finished construction and installed our grain cleaning system. It then took us another year to complete the flour milling room. With spacious room for storage of up to 50,000lbs of grain, the clean facility allows for future expansion. The barn's wide bay doors allow us to drive equipment through for mechanical or agricultural needs. On its roof, the barn has a 13Kw solar array net metered with a goal of offsetting electrical use within. The barn roof also collects rainwater that we store in underground cisterns for our non-potable uses and chores..
The process of removing field debris and sorting grain after harvest is called “cleaning”. We clean our grain with particular attention to remove undesirables and undersized kernels prior to bagging. Our cleaning process is a two-step operation using an Oliver Eclipse 334 air screen cleaner before passing the seeds across an Oliver HC160 gravity table. Together the two machines separate out the good seed that is then analyzed and tested using an assortment of Perkin Elmer (Perten) instruments to record data points such as protein, moisture content, wet gluten, dry starch and falling number of the grain and flour.
Seasonal storage of the cleaned grain is an important issue facing all organic farmers. While there are different methods commonly used, it's essential to stay vigilant for insect and moisture damage. Previously we used a chemically inert, organic food safe product called DE (diatomaceous earth) to coat the grain with fine powder that helped control insects. In 2020 we took major steps towards our healthier, more effective goals by installing a new CV-TEK vacuum bagger. Switching to clear plastic bags instead of paper, a strong vacuum pulls oxygen out of the bag and heat seals the bag closed, but not before a small amount of inert Carbon Dioxide is pumped into the bag. Any larvae that might remain in the grain are unable to survive in this environment. Improving shelf life, cleanliness, flavor and freshness, we feel this technology will allow us to continue improving the quality of the product and service we provide our valued customers for years to come.
Stone ground flour
Our tag line of "Virginia Grown, Virginia Ground" promotes our mission to bring stone ground flours and healthy flavor- rich grains to chefs, bakers, and families living in our Mid-Atlantic region. There is nothing like using stone ground flour - the natural oils, starches and proteins in the flour retain so much more of their delicious flavor and nutrition!
Grapewood Farm produces flour with traditional stone burr mills. Because these “cold" millstones produce less heat in the grinding process, the wheat germ is not exposed to higher temperatures that cause the oils from the germ to oxidize, which destroys some of the vitamin content. Stone milling retains more of the natural goodness and flavor of the grains. Although best enjoyed fresh, these products should be refrigerated and used within 3 months.
We use Meadows Mills products including an 8” and 20” stone burr mills. The unique vertical positioning of the runner and bedstone allows for finer control over the spacing of the stones, and easier cleaning between different grains. The resulting flour is either bagged as unsifted whole grain flour or mechanically moved with air blower through 4” pipes into an eccentric sifter. Here it passes over screens that sift out lager particles of bran. Depending on the intended application the flour can be sifted to different grades of extraction, and bagged in multiple sizes. We use Perten equipment to test the flour for its level of protein; gluten; ash; and its falling number.
Check out our products page for more information.