Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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52 | MAY + JUNE 2015 CONTACT Alprilla Farm 94 John Wise Ave. Essex 978-273-9339 LIVE his cover crop, he harvested it, thus becoming the region's only grain producer and allowing peo- ple to buy flour made with locally grown wheat. That first growing season, with its experimental wheat plot, had its ups and downs—Kellerman says he made the "comical" mistake of hand-threshing his harvest, for in- stance. He had a terrible yield. But what he learned was priceless. "I think the learning experience was definitely the most successful part of it," says Kellerman, who studied sustainable agriculture at Hampshire College. "You can read about growing a crop until the cows come home, but until you actually see the plant through its growth cycle, you don't have a sense for it. It's sort of like trying to learn a language from a book without ever hearing it spoken." Although Kellerman says vegetables and the CSA make up Alprilla Farm's heart and soul, its stone-milled whole wheat flour has gained a steady and loyal following. People already know that fresh, local tomatoes and strawberries are flavor revelations compared to their supermarket counterparts, and they're learning that the same is true for locally grown grain, too. "It hasn't really crossed people's minds that the same difference is possible in grain," Kellerman says. Foodies can buy Alprilla Farm flour at the Cape Ann Farmers' Market and at the Appleton Farms Dairy & Farm Store in Ipswich. They can also sample it in baked goods at A & J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, which has always sourced its ingredients as locally as possible. "When we found out what Noah was doing, we knew we had to source some of the wheat locally because local grain economies are so rare," says the bakery's co-own - er, Andy King. The bakery regularly incorpo- rates Alprilla Farm flour in many of its baked goods, including honey buttermilk oat bread and whole wheat honey buns. They even use the flour to make whole wheat shortbread that's filled with home- made fruit jam. "What people don't realize is when you use fresh-ground whole wheat, it doesn't just make it healthier," King says. "It gives it a depth of flavor, which is really almost indescribable." He likens the difference between store-bought and fresh-ground whole wheat to the difference be- tween canned and freshly ground coffee. "The quality is so much better and adds a really deep dimension to our doughs," King says. Kellerman agrees, saying that when he's milling his farm's wheat, "there's this beautiful, grassy smell." That freshness is something that consumers can't get anywhere else on the North Shore. Even with the farm's success, though, Kellerman says he's content to keep its wheat production on the small side. "The mantra right now is better," he says, "not more." photograph by Robert Boyd (top); by Paul Carey Goldberg (bottom left and bottom right); by Samantha DuPont (bottom center) Noah Kellerman grows multiple crops, but wheat is a specialty. …UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY SEE THE PLANT THROUGH ITS GROWTH CYCLE, YOU DON'T HAVE A SENSE FOR IT. IT'S SORT OF LIKE TRYING TO LEARN A LANGUAGE FROM A BOOK WITHOUT EVER HEARING IT SPOKEN." —Noah Kellerman, farmer

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