Another week, another front-yard farming story: NPR’s Day to Day reports on a Massachusetts bakery in the Pioneer Valley that’s enlisting its customers to grow wheat. No one’s grown wheat on a large scale in the Pioneer Valley for more than a half century, and the bakery’s owners, Jonathan Stevens and Cheryl Maffei, couldn’t find any farmers willing to take a chance on the crop. So 50 local customers are digging 10-by-10 plots in their yards to test several varieties. After a few years, the bakery hopes to have enough data to convince local farmers to plant grains.
The NPR story is curiously circumspect—it never mentions the bakery’s name—but it is clearly referring to the Hungry Ghost, the revelatory artisan bread bakery in downtown Northampton. (Dear Grinder readers: Go.) An article in the local Greenfield, Massachusetts, paper gives more detail on the project, which has real promise. As Stevens says, the rising price of wheat may be the motivation that local farmers need.