The Williams Hudson Bay Farm is located near Walla Walla in some of the best wheat-growing land in the world. It’s also where Tom and Ray Williams grow the wheat for the new Whole Grain Baguette that Macrina Bakery has created in collaboration with PCC. This past summer I visited the Williams Hudson Bay Farm to meet Tom and Ray. Walking through their fields and learning of their holistic approach to the integrity of the grain gave me a new appreciation for what it takes to create a healthy and delicious product.
Tom and Ray took over the farm from their father. Their grandfather had moved West from Kansas and farmed the same land they use today, though the farm has now grown to 3,000 acres. They grow a diverse range of crops. It was mind-boggling learning how they manage the complexity of a modern organic farm.
As we toured the farm in the summer heat, Tom and Ray explained three essentials to organic farming: cover crops, effective pest management and crop rotation. Portions of the farm are designated for animals, which provides meat, but also manure for fertilizer. They also have Beehives everywhere to help with pollination.
While we examined the wheat, they explained how they determine the proper time to harvest. Having an understanding of the whole operation and feeling the nearly mature grains in my hands gave me a new reverence for their flour. The Edison and the Expresso wheats they grow, the heritage wheats we use in the whole wheat baguette, have so much more flavor than commodity flour.
Part of the Williams farm is on PCC Farmland Trust land, which supports farmland preservation, organic production and sustainable practices. Tom and Ray hold the same core values that PCC and Macrina share. This is what makes this partnership so unique. We are all working together to bring the most nutritious and delicious baguette to the epicurean and environmentally-conscious customer that PCC attracts.
January 2019 Recipe of the Month
This light, sophisticated meal is surprisingly straightforward to prepare and quick enough that it can be a weeknight dinner. It is also easy to double or triple if you’ve got a crowd. Fresh mussels pair perfectly with our new Whole Grain Baguette, which is crusty enough to soak up the delicious broth. The natural sweetness of the stone-ground whole wheat complements the bold flavors of ginger, garlic and harissa. Although it was once hard to find harissa in the Seattle area, the North African chili paste is now widely available at specialty shops and many supermarkets but you can also make your own. With a little prep beforehand, you can step into the kitchen for 10 minutes and emerge with steaming bowls of flavorful mussels. Serve with a dry Riesling and an extra bowl for the empty shells.
1 pound live mussels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium shallot, diced (2 tablespoons)
1-1/2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely diced
2 tomatoes, medium dice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Macrina Whole Grain Baguette
2 tablespoons aioli
Rinse and remove beards from mussels and set aside in the refrigerator.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add the shallots, harissa and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the mussels and white wine. Cover sauté pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes until mussels open. When all mussels are open, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Whisk the egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice and Dijon in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the canola oil in a slow stream while whisking constantly to emulsify the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Divide mussels between 2 shallow bowls and top with cooking broth. Drizzle aioli over the mussels. Serve with slices of Whole Grain Baguette. Enjoy!