What is hard wheat?
Hard wheat refers to any variety of wheat having hard grains (kernels) with high protein and gluten content. Hard wheats produce strong flour especially suited to bread and pasta making. Hard wheat contains protein levels over 12.5% which is necessary for bread making.
What is soft wheat?
Soft wheat refers to any variety of wheat having soft grains (kernels) with high starch content, low gluten content, and relatively low protein content of 9.5% or less. Soft wheat flours are especially suited to cake making, and are used in the production of confectionery and other baked products including sweet biscuits, cookies, pastries, steamed buns and snack foods.
What is Bio-Dynamic?
Demeter Farm Mill uses Bio-Dynamic products wherever possible. If Bio-Dynamic products are not available, it uses, as a minimum, certified organic products.
Bio-Dynamic agriculture conceives of the farm as an organism, a self-contained entity with its own individuality. Emphasis is placed on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, maintenance of soil, and the health and wellbeing of crops and animals; the farmer too is part of the whole. Cover crops, green manures and crop rotations are used extensively. The approach also attempts to consider celestial (i.e., astrological) influences on soil and plant development and to revitalize the farm, its products, and its inhabitants. Seeds are planted at certain lunar phases.
With the breakdown of natural plant growth conditions through forced farming methods, and deteriorating environmental conditions, a new agricultural regime became necessary. This new regime is achieved by the correct application of the Bio-Dynamic Method.
The development of Bio-Dynamic agriculture began in 1924 with a series of eight lectures on agriculture given by Rudolf Steiner at Schloss Koberwitz in Germany. The course was held in response to a request by farmers who noticed degraded soil conditions and a deterioration in the health and quality of crops and livestock resulting from the use of chemical fertilisers.
In Australia the first Bio-Dynamic preparations were made in Melbourne in 1927. Since the 1950s research work has continued at the Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI) in Powelltown, near Melbourne. In 1989 Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Australia was established, as a not for profit association, to promote the practice and understanding of Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in Australia. The association is a member of the Organic Federation of Australia and is registered with FarmBis and as a VETAB Training Provider. In this capacity it provides workshops and field days on a local and national level.
The term Bio-Dynamic is a trademark held by the Demeter association of Bio-Dynamic farmers for the purpose of maintaining production standards used both in farming and processing foodstuffs. The trademark is intended to protect both the consumer and the producers of Bio-Dynamic produce. Demeter International is an organization of member countries; each country has its own Demeter organization which is required to meet international production standards (but can also exceed them).
Source: Bio-Dynamic Research Institute, Wikipedia
What is Demeter?
In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, Demeter was the Goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. Demeter means “mother earth”, and was the goddess of agriculture in Greek mythology.
Today Demeter is synonymous with Bio-Dynamically produced food. Demeter certified bio-dynamics is an enhanced holistic biological farming practice, which is highly regarded by both farmers and consumers for product quality, with the health of the soil being at the heart of production.
What is Organic?
Certified Organic products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers, or GMOs. It is an innovative method of farming and production – and is increasingly becoming recognised as being on the leading edge of food and fibre technology into the future.
Organics is not just chemical free by testing. It is about the way your food is grown and handled. The whole system is linked – Soil, Plants, Animals, Food, People, and the Environment.
Standards to achieve this are internationally recognised, and are assured through annual audits of all certified operators by an independent third party auditor.
Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.
The organic movement began in the 1930s and 1940s as a reaction to agriculture's growing reliance on synthetic fertilisers. Artificial fertilisers had been created during the 18th century, initially with superphosphates and then ammonia derived fertilisers. These early fertilisers were cheap, powerful, and easy to transport in bulk. The 1940s has been referred to as the 'pesticide era'.
As environmental awareness and concern increased, the originally supply-driven movement became demand-driven. As a proportion of total global agricultural output, organic output remains small, but it has been growing rapidly in many countries, notably in Europe and Australia. Agriculture in general imposes external costs upon society through pesticides, nutrient runoff, excessive water usage, and assorted other problems. As organic methods minimize some of these factors, organic farming is believed to impose fewer external costs upon society.
Organic farming is distinguished by formal standards regulating production methods, and in some cases, final output. Standards may be voluntary or legislated.
Source: Biological Farmers of Australia, Wikipedia
What is Sustainable?
In simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fibre, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
(Grace Communications Foundation - http://www.sustainabletable.org/246/sustainable-agriculture-the-basics)
Sustainable agriculture focuses on producing long-term crops and livestock with minimal environmental effects, and to find a balance between the need for production and the preservation of the ecosystem within that environment. Water conservation, reducing or eliminating the use of fertilisers and pesticides, promoting biodiversity and maintaining economic stability of farms with improved farming practices are also important aspects to sustainable agriculture.
Some of the most common techniques used in sustainable agriculture include:
- Growing crops that can create their own nutrients, reducing the use of fertilisers
- Rotating crops, which minimises the use of pesticides
- Mixing crops, which reduces the risk of a disease and the need for pesticides and herbicides.
- Sustainable farmers waste less water resources with the utilisation of water management systems such as drip irrigation
There are many benefits of sustainable agriculture, both environmentally and for human health.
Crops grown through sustainable practices are better for human health as they do not expose people to chemicals, pesticides and other synthetic and harmful substances, and are more nutritious because the plants themselves are healthier and more natural.
Sustainable agriculture in just plain good for the environment, using at least a third less energy and inputs in comparison to modern industrialised agricultural practices. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels, and decreases the volume of chemicals and other pollutants being released into the environment.
Sustainable agricultural practices help maintain high soil quality, reduce soil degradation and erosion, and save valuable water resources, and also increases biodiversity of the area by providing a variety of organisms with healthy and natural environments in which to live.
What is Spelt?
Spelt is an ancient grain which should not be confused with common bread wheat, rye, barley or oats, and is one of the three original wheat varieties from which modern day wheats are derived. Whilst a member of the same grain family, Spelt is a completely different species.
Spelt is an extremely popular grain in modern times, and its use has been growing over many years, as information about its value as a food source, and its ability to be tolerated by many people with wheat sensitivities becomes more widely known.
Although Spelt contains gluten, it is much easier to digest than other wheat varieties, and may be suitable for people with wheat or gluten intolerances.
Spelt is suitable for breads, cakes, pasta, pastries and most baking needs.
What are Kernels?
The kernel is the softer, usually edible part of a nut, seed, or fruit stone contained within its outer hard shell, and refers to nuts, seed and grains with the outer shell or husk removed. e.g. wheat kernels, almond kernels or oat kernels. Pearled barley, spelt grain and hulled millet are all forms of kernels.
What is Semolina?
Semolina is the inner, granular, starchy endosperm of hard or durum wheat that has not yet ground into flour. Semolina is the gritty, coarse particles of wheat left after the finer flour has been extracted, and is used to make pasta and semolina milk pudding and cereals.
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat isn't actually a wheat, but a fruit seed in the rhubarb family. It is often ground into flour, and is quick-cooking, gluten-free, and a good source of fibre and magnesium.
What is Bran?
Bran is the outer covering, or shell, of wheat kernels.
What does GMO mean?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMO describes a plant or animal that has had a gene inserted into it from a different species, which causes it to exhibit the traits of that species. No genetically engineered material is used in any Wholegrain Milling or Demeter Farm Mill products.
What is Whole Flour?
Whole flour is flour retaining all the fibre, germ and goodness of the whole grain.