Thursday, September 24, 2009

Amber waves of LOCAL grain

You know we love to keep it local here at Cupcake Royale, and we're always tryin' to find ways to make our business even more local-er. We're members of our neighborhood chambers and local business owners groups, we donate to all sorts of local organizations and schools, and we always support our fellow neighborhood business owners whenever they are in need of a little sugar and caffeine. We've been baking our cupcakes with local dairy and eggs for some time now, and we feature seasonal, local produce in our delicious Cupcake of the Month. Sugar, cocoa, and vanilla are a wee bit tough to come by north of the equator, but we knew we could still do better.

So, we got in touch with the good folks of Shepherd's Grain.

There's grain in them there silos.

We've known about Shepherd's Grain forever, but they just didn't have the right type of flour to make our cupcakes truly Royale. Turns out, when you bake as many cupcakes as we do each morning, the kind of flour you use is a pretty, pretty big deal. Fred & Co over at Shepherd's Grain were excited to work with us, and totally up for the challenge of milling a cake flour that was truly Royale. We handed them our flour spec sheet, and voila! The perfect cake flour, milled just for us, from the grains they grow on their no-till farm in Eastern Washington. That's right. They are milling a local flour made specifically for us.

Jody learns a thing or two from our man Fred.

What's so great about that? A LOT.

First of all, we are just wholeheartedly thrilled to be working with such a fine bunch of people. They care about their community, their product, and the earth. A no-till farm is just what it sounds like - they do not till the earth after a crop has been harvested. The field is left as-is, and the remaining plant matter is left to decompose, resulting in a type of soil called humus. This nutrient rich, highly absorbent soil holds water even in the desert climate of Eastern Washington. Plus the non-invasive processing of the fields results in less erosion and overall topsoil loss. It's a sustainable farming practice that preserves the field for future generations, and makes us feel REAL good about using their flour.

The Royale inspection.

Second, we all pretty much know by now the benefits of participating in the locavore movement. Support local agriculture, an integral part of the local economy. Cut down on fuel usage and transportation needs. Encourage sustainable farming practices. And of course, you get the absolute freshest, premium ingredients.

100 years of local, sustainable farming! We HEART Shepherd's Grain.

So now that we have an amazing local grain producer making flour just for us, our cupcakes are all at least 66% local. For a sweet little product that relies so heavily on so many equatorial crops (vanilla, cocoa, sugar,) we think we're doing pretty darn good!

And now, more fun photos from Melanie & Jody's trip to the farm! Melanie is behind the camera, so you will see her only in spirit. The two ended their trip with a harvest meal at an outdoor table with the whole farming family. Seriously. These people are just that good. For more info on Shepherd's Grain, click HERE. To read the recent Seattle Times article about all this goodness, click HERE.

Bosslady loves to take the wheel.

The deed to the farm. Yup. That says Grover Cleveland, President of the United States of America.

That Fred is just a wealth of wheaty knowledge!

Machines of the trade.

Bosslady loves a goody bag!


  1. I just read an article about Stone Buhr flour, available at our local supermarket, that is also put out by Shepherds Grain. I like to make my own bread, so I was really happy to find this. Glad to hear you were, too.

  2. @Srcsmgrl That is awesome! Nothing like freshly baked bread made from local goodness.