Flour Power

The goodness/greatness of Brian Severson Farms: organic grains grown and milled locally.

All of the flours and grains available in your weekly CSA box come from right outside Dwight, IL–just about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. That’s the location of the family-owned-and-operated Brian Severson Farms.

Farming has been in the family since the 1860s, and Brian’s farming initially centered around pigs, corn, and soybeans. In the 1990s he quickly became disillusioned by the trending farming practices and their GMOs and started to experiment with organic methods. Brian bid farewell to the pigs and added oats, field peas, wheat, popcorn, and buckwheat to his list of crops, with as many varieties as possible falling into “heirloom” qualification.

But what IS an heirloom when it comes to crops? An heirloom is typically categorized as a crop that was developed before World War II, meaning it came before agriculture in the US had cheap access to nitrogen in the form of ammonia. Post-WWII, conventional farming favored high-yield, low-flavor, low-nutrition crops that could handle the excess of nitrogen being used in the soil. Though the heirloom varieties at Severson Farms are a little slower growing, they are extremely flavorful and packed with nutrients–so of course that’s what we’re going to bring you!

As if organic and heirloom qualifications weren’t enough, Severson grains also spend their whole life on the farm–from planting to harvesting to milling, and everything in between. Most flours you buy at the store have been milled at larger processing plants, which makes the process cheaper and increases its shelf life (most of the nutrient-dense parts of grains are also the ones that contribute to eventual spoilage). With Severson grains, local milling means fresher products with more nutrients and greater flavor, and they’ll stay fresh if you keep them in your freezer. Brian also believes that by seeing his products through from start to finish, it helps him keep all the crops’ factors in mind, allowing him to adjust his practices to ensure the highest quality products. Ditto, Brian. Ditto.