I spent four hours today pushing wheat, straw and ears, through a Bosch leaf blower/ sucker to separate out the wheat berries. I have about 20kg of wheat berries (grain) from 20% of the harvest, so once it’s all processed I’ll have 80kg, which doesn’t sound a lot from 1/3 acre. Considering I knew nothing about growing grain up until five months ago, and two years ago I was selling digital advertising to agencies and dinning at La Gavroche and buying wine from La pont de la tour near Tower Bridge, the 80kg is a bloody miracle.
Those expensive places of my not to distant past couldn’t be further from my mind as I embark on a life that is much more about the imprint me and my family has on this planet. I am now acutely aware that every step I take has an impact somewhere on this planet, both nearby and far away and that everything – oxygen, mycelia, adrenalin, smiles – on this planet is finite and therefore precious, buying wine, having expensive meals, living in the bright lights of London rather dampens your awareness of this. What I did today is part of a transformative journey for me that in every respect feels right. The only thing that drags me down is the feeling that the current paradigm of mass consumption, of cheap expendable consumer goods, and the job as the driver for life that dominates in London and fills every inch of the restaurants I frequented will subjugate us and our desires to tread lightly on this earth.
If I can grow grain, process it – as the photos show…..
have it milled, and bake sourdough bread, or sprout it and consume the mass of nutrients – Protein, Iron, Zinc, carbs and micro nutrients – then I shall be leading my family on a more sustainable path, something we all should be doing with some urgency. In a generation or two, at most, the world is going to be a very different place, one way or another. So I am choosing to change my imprint and my families imprint now. Yes I am driving a van and using electric power to thesh my wheat, but I rationalise this with the fact I was given this Van when my dad passed away and that the blower/ sucker was my only option asides beating it with a stick, as there is no farm scale processing left in the UK anymore.
I am proud I am fighting against the industrialised agrobusiness arable industry in some small way. I am proving that any idiot from the cities with an once of passion can change their imprint on the world and provide hope for future generations. Besides I am sure the loaves I make from this fresh heritage wheat flour will be the most nutritional and tasty bread I have ever eaten.
If you would like some flour get in touch….. I’ll be milling mid-sept 2014.