We measure time in harvests around here. This summer was our fourth harvest since starting Hayden Flour Mills. And it was a bountiful one.
We were worried for a minute there at the end that we wouldn't get anything. June was unusually wet this year. I always thought that farmers love all rain at anytime. But I learned that there are times when rain can be devastating- when it falls on freshly cut alfalfa for instance or perfectly ripened wheat.
If ripe wheat gets too wet the wheat berries think that they have been planted and they start to sprout. This makes for low quality flour. Luckily all our wheat came back from the lab with out a hint of sprouting damage!
This year was also different because this is the first year that the mill is located on the farm. So we had a front row seat to harvest. And by front row I mean that we were working from sunrise to sunset for a week in the peak heat of a Phoenix summer--filling up tote bags with grain, organizing them in the barn, helping to clean the grain, riding along in the combine, getting the fork lift stuck all over the farm and eating as much cold watermelon as we could.
As much work as harvest is it's a nice break from the usual work of the mill. And after watching the fields for 6 months its fun to read the numbers off the combine and determine how well each variety performed. Especially the new varieties-the Durum Iraq had yields off the charts but the bronze barley was disappointing. You never know until harvest.
And as is tradition. Ben pulled some hard wheat off the combine, cleaned it by hand, milled it and baked a big beautiful loaf of bread. The first fruits of the the harvest.