Loomio
Mon 27 Nov 2017

2017: What are we going to do with our spelt grain?

AR
Abby Rose Public Seen by 58

After our meeting on Thursday last week it became apparent that tests showed our Spelt is unfortunately not of milling quality. So we have to think again. Please read the minutes from the meeting at the start of this thread to give an overview of everything discussed. Then please get stuck in suggesting and discussing alternatives before we have a vote in a few weeks!

If anyone is contacted by anyone with potential opportunities, please add them to this doc and also check this doc for opportunities that others may have come across: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s4M54UbIEMO0V-6wSN-XZv0vCenxfKZBbhWDQFqgNLM/edit?usp=sharing

AR

Abby Rose Mon 27 Nov 2017

Hello @johnanthonyallan @annielandless @wendyalcock @johncherry @darren4 @harrygreenfield1 @harryboglione @tessatricks @ellemcall @lucybradley1 @christinelewis @sadhbhmoore @nikireynolds thanks all for attending the meeting on Thursday. Minutes put together by @johnanthonyallan and added to by me are above...please do add in anything we have missed.

TA

Tony Allan Tue 28 Nov 2017

Dear Abby
Thank you for editing and circulating the minutes and for finding the time late last evening. Tony

LB

Lucy Bradley Tue 28 Nov 2017

@johnanthonyallan Thanks for taking the minutes and writing them up too John. It's really helpful to have such a clearly written summary of the discussion.

TA

Tony Allan Sun 3 Dec 2017

Dear all
What to do with the grain?
Can someone with more knowledge than myself list the options. If the grain is not of milling quality as Abby has advised I I presume our options are very limited.
1 Sell the grain as animal feed.
2 Use it as seed. But if will not produce grain of milling quality this would be a commercially unviable option.
Best Tony (Allan)

D

Darren Sun 3 Dec 2017

Options for Using the Grain

I'm not sure I've got more knowledge and I think the likely possibilities are pretty much all mentioned in the minutes but to clarify for those who've not had a chance to look at those (I only just have, they are a good summary of what happened at the harvest meeting & festival) I'll list options under consideration. With any of these uses its possible that our grain will not be suitable

  • Biscuits
  • Distilling - for gin .Unlike other uses they dont want it dehulled
  • Pearled - for use instead of rice - I think I'm right in saying that you can just use the grain 'unpearled' for this too. I'm not sure who we'd sell to for this. Best possibility, I think, is the 3 big wholefood wholesale co-ops - although I'm thinking 15 tonnes is possibly a bit more than they would be interested to stock.
  • Animal feed - this would be the last resort if the quality isn't good enough or we can't find a buyer for another use.
WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 3 Dec 2017

Evening all

Today has been my first chance to try and do some follow up research on possible options for the spelt to add to those discussed at the recent meeting. Darren has nicely summarised the main options from the meeting above (and malting / resowing for another Spring spelt / selling a small amount to small bakeries were also mentioned).

I have found it very hard to find any clear source of info on what spelt with a low Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) can be used for. Although, it may still be too low for biscuits according to this report http://www.organiccentrewales.org.uk/uploads/k9_cerealshumanconsump2011eng.pdf

The only other idea I have seen is that whole gains can be sprouted (for which the grain should not be hulled, husked, pearled, rolled, flaked, or otherwise altered according to
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-sprouted-grains-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-204466).

And apparently Groats are the whole grain that retains the germ and bran but has been minimally processed so as to remove its outer husk or hull.

I have speculatively emailed the following places to see if they can offer any guidance (not sure why only organic places are coming up in the UK when looking for info on HFN for spelt) and will report back if any of them reply:
http://www.nefg-organic.org (via Newcastle uni) / http://www.organicresearchcentre.com / http://www.organicarable.co.uk / http://www.organiccentrewales.org.uk (via Aberystwyth uni)

An interesting link I found that explains what low HFNs do to bread:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/christopher-baldwin/cat-lane-bakery-spelt-problems-hagberg/10150320628500775/

WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 3 Dec 2017

I've had this reply from Organic Arable:

If you are sure the hagberg is low it is difficult to advise as there are limited markets for low hagberg spelt. I was offered some organic product this week too. I would suggest looking at flaking markets but can't advise who as I only know one customer who only uses organic spelt flakes. Sorry not to be more help. Good luck.

AR

Abby Rose Mon 4 Dec 2017

Wow @wendyalcock that is some great investigative work. That facebook post is incredibly informative, Andy (potentially Andrew Whitely?) definitely seems to know his stuff! Here is a summary of what he suggests about low hagberg spelt in case people don't click onto the post:
"In my opinion conventional industrial millers set the Hagberg falling
number target too high (below which the farmer's wheat is rejected for
baking) and so there is not enough natural amylase activity. The
majority of "bread improvers" used in conventional baking (non-CBP)
address this by adding fungal created amylase (identified as responsible
for allergy creation in bakers) and other enzymes and chemicals
(absorbic acid etc) to replace the natural activity of amylases from
within the grain.

But too much amylase (too low Hagberg falling numbers) does create the
problem you describe though tweaking of proofing time (shorter),
hydration (down) and dough temperature (down) and acidity (up) would in
most cases make flour still usable. Rye flour will always behave like
wheat flour with too low falling number, therefore will always be baked
as sourdough when used pure."
Very insightful and we had been wondering how much the hagberg number was something set by industrial bread-making standards. I'm not suggesting our spelt is still saleable for bread flour at any scale, but it seems that it's certainly not impossible to make a loaf from it!
Ed at E5 went ahead and milled the spelt sample we had sent to him, as a little test. He said it milled nicely, so I have a 1kg bag of OurField Spelt flour. I was going to ask the head baker at E5 if he is interested in having a play with it...! Will keep you in the loop.

WA

Wendy Alcock Tue 5 Dec 2017

I received another reply today from the lovely folk at Newcastle uni:

*Thank you for contacting me. I've reached out to some partners and colleagues who are more involved in the processing side of things and have some suggestions. *

Biscuits require a low falling number (if you're looking to sell flour/grain on then Rude Health may be an option).

If you still have some grain remaining that hasn't been processed into flour, spelt can be used toasted or boiled similar to pearl barley (in italian recipes it is sometimes used interchangeably with a grain called farro).

Finally, if you're planning to just use the flour within the members of the co-op, I use spelt flour for pasta at home--the industry would require a high HFN but for personal use, I've used slow Hagberg spelt with success.

Hope this is helpful--I do have a colleague with additional industry ties if you are looking for more options, so let me know if you'd like me to pass additional contacts on!

*And thank you for sharing your project--the documenting of the process is really interesting. If you'd like any additional information about what we do at Nafferton, please let me know. *

TA

Tony Allan Wed 6 Dec 2017

Dear Wendy
Thank you for your message with advice from more experienced people in the business. In a message of about two months ago I passed on a comment from my friends in Umbria who also mentioned farro. They use it as an ingredient in their muesli and I posted a picture of a packet showing how it is marketed. There is much to get to know about this part of the supply chain. Thank you for devoting time to it. Best Tony

GH

Grahame Hunter Thu 7 Dec 2017

Various topics

I see that those who access Loomio from a smart phone find it cumbersome, as it loads an entire string of posts from the beginning. This seems to be a design fault of the application, and may be corrected in due course.

In the meantime, Abby has suggested in her minutes

_ Action 6: Grahame please create all new discussions in new threads. Look into taking out the best subscription for us on Loomio. _

so, look out for several new threads, regarding new members, accounts, organisation, and alternatives to Loomio all of which I will get onto in the coming days.

back to "What to do with our Spelt", and the low Hagberg number.

Abby has said _ Now we know that it most likely won’t be used for baking at any scale the previous poll becomes irrelevant and so we need another vote._

I don't think this is quite correct. The poll made it clear that the co-operative has little interest in becoming entrepreneurs of spelt products, and nothing much changes that. Further, there is no use for spelt with its hull on, from the wide range of ideas suggested (biscuits, gin, flakes etc). So I think that _we still need to find someone (probably a mill) who would de-hull our spelt. _

Regarding the test results, it should also be remembered that the grain which was tested was a hand sifted sample of grain that had already dropped its hull. Since Spelt is a grain which naturally has a closely attached hull which does not normally fall off, it seems at least possible that the grain we tested is not representative of the main bulk of what we have reaped.

For all these reasons, I think we can safely proceed to get the grain de-hulled; for which we need to __ research who would carry out that process for us.__

TA

Tony Allan Fri 8 Dec 2017

Dear Grahame
Very many thanks for these very useful clarifications. I agree we should get the spelt de-hulled. Thanks also for the information on Loomio. Tony

AR

Abby Rose Sun 10 Dec 2017

Hello! Yes thanks @grahamehunter for all those clarifications. There seems to be some agreement that we need to find a place that will de-hull our grain if we don't want to use it for animal feed. Is anyone in the collective keen to do this? We would hope to find someone as close to Weston as possible, or maybe there is even the possibility of a mobile de-huller?

AR

Abby Rose Sun 10 Dec 2017

Also different people have been getting in touch about buying the grain for different things, so we are trying to collate them all in the google drive doc posted in the description for this thread...that way anyone of us can follow up on any of the potential buyers and find out more information. And we can all be more in the loop on potentials. (Thanks @wendyalcock for doing this last time around, we think it was a great help!) Here is the link aswell just in case: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s4M54UbIEMO0V-6wSN-XZv0vCenxfKZBbhWDQFqgNLM/edit?usp=sharing

WA

Wendy Alcock Thu 14 Dec 2017

Hi all. I spoke to Andrew at Organic Arable last week and he was very helpful. His farmers grow around 1,000 tonnes of spelt and supply Sharpham Park. Andrew would be interested in trying to grow some of our spelt, as he too has struggled to find a spring variety, and he thinks it would be a good back up for a poor harvest of autumn varieties.

I don’t think we can legally sell our spelt to him though (and he needs a traceable supply chain as he's a rep for a group of farmers). He thought we might be able to lend him some if we take it back at the end of the year.

He also thought it was worth retesting our spelt’s HFN. Is that worth considering?

Andrew kindly gave me the name of someone who might be able to hull the spelt for us (apparently some won’t as our grain is not classified as organic) and I emailed for a quote. To warn you, Andrew told me “It will cost a lot”.

David Hill from R W Hill Farms Ltd near Thetford (80 miles from Weston) has given me this opinion:

“I doubt if it is worth investing money in this lot. I will have a look at it if you send me a 5 kg sample. We would be pleased to let your customers have some of our spelt to try so that they will be ready for yours next year.”

And his quote is £100 per tonne, so £1,500, excluding delivery.

For delivery, we arrange to send to him (est £300) and he can either return all of it to us (est another £300) or he can forward on parts to different buyers. If we want to go ahead he would like to see a sample of 5kg first. @grahamehunter will you be able to send this to David please - I can give you his address.

I think this will take around half of our remaining account balance. And we will hopefully end up with 8-10 tonnes of grain to sell.

However, my back of the envelope maths (completely guessing the price we can sell as feed!) suggests we will need to sell the dehulled grain for around 4 times the price of the hulled grain to make the same return. I’m not sure this is a risk that’s worth taking at the moment and selling as animal feed, so that we can move on to next year’s planning, is looking appealing.

UNHULLED
Account balance £ 4,551.72
Sell as feed (15 tonnes @ £100/t) £ 1,500.00
Final balance £ 6,051.72

HULLED
Account balance £ 4,551.72
Cost to hull £ 2,100.00
Sell hulled (9 tonnes @ £400/t) £ 3,600.00
Final balance £ 6,051.72

AR

Abby Rose Tue 19 Dec 2017

Thanks for this brilliant research @wendyalcock - I have tried to call @johncherry and @abiaspen to see if either are able to send off 5kg to Mr Hill but haven't heard back from either yet, not sure if they are at Weston right now or not. Will keep you in the loop.

TA

Tony Allan Fri 15 Dec 2017

Dear Wendy,
Thank you very much indeed for all the information. On the basis of the information you have provided I am in favour of the unglamorous and somewhat dispiriting option of selling the unhulled spelt as feed.

If we had an organic product with high spec qualities it would be different. Investing in milling would make sense.
I guess we need a vote.

TF

Tamsyn Forsyth Fri 15 Dec 2017

Hi all, to add another potential option, my husband Matthew and I have spoken to a company called Hodmedods (an online retailer for British grown grains and pulses based in Suffolk) - they are a supplier for our deli in the Cotswolds and we believe Abby may have already spoken to them. Whilst they do not believe they can sell the spelt grain under the Hodmedods brand (as most of their customers are looking for organic), they do believe that if we communicate our story with the right labelling/branding and packaging etc. they would love to help with packing and offering a route to market for the spelt as grain. We make spelt grain sladas and sell them in the deli and they are delicious! Matthew works with a very good packaging designer (http://www.studiodbd.com) who I can contact about the branding and Tamsyn and I (who both have 10 years experience in branding and marketing - but in a different industry) are more than happy to work with the OurField team to develop a brand and package we can sell through Hodmedods. We would obviously need to transport it there but that cost could be factored in to our end retail price.

AR

Abby Rose Tue 19 Dec 2017

This is very interesting @tamsynforsyth and would be an amazing way to sell the spelt. My only concern at the moment is that the organising group is very thin on the ground...so I think we should assume that we can't depend on the organising group for any part in whatever path we choose to take moving forward. So I think this is totally viable if we fellow collective members are up for giving some of our time to make it happen! So echoing @johnanthonyallen - Anyone keen to offer help with any part of this beyond the help @tamsynforsyth already offered?

TA

Tony Allan Sat 16 Dec 2017

Dear Tamsyn
Thank you for this excellent market research. Especially the branding and marketing know-how. We need volunteer capacity including some to do the accounting and a funding allocation. Another vote?

GH

Grahame Hunter Sat 16 Dec 2017

who is going to do this?

Wendy has done some excellent research.
However, when I read in these posts of cooperative members being _ 'more than happy to work with the OurField team to develop a brand and package' _ , what is not clear, is who ARE "the OurField Team"?

For example,

  • John is the farmer, and will, I think, cease to be a cooperative member when the new members take up his stake. I think I can speak for him in saying he may not have time to lead on branding, packaging and distribution to various intermediaries.
  • I am not a member of the cooperative at all; so, although I can send 5 Kg. in January (I am away presently) this is hardly a sustainable progression..

All this takes us back to the discussion on the future organisation of the co-operative, and how to manage it.

AR

Abby Rose Tue 19 Dec 2017

Great to hear that Sharpham Park have a dehuller! I think @abiaspen is in touch with them about this. @abiaspen if Sharpham ask for a sample also maybe we could send them enough so they could also re-test the grain and see if that low hagberg number is true of the grain with hull remaining on it as well?

AR

Abby Rose Tue 2 Jan 2018

Just to update you all. Sharpham Park came back saying they could not help as that Hagberg number is way too low and also they only deal with organic grain.

CL

Christine Lewis Tue 19 Dec 2017

Hi everyone. I have to admit I am feeling a little confused about what we are doing now. It seems that we have limited options on selling the grain and need a new vote to reconsider what to do with it now we have a lower grade than hoped. We also have limited organising support and need to consider next year. We know the grain can be stored for a little while but we must find an outlet for it soon and have a responsibility to do so. Can I suggest we make this as simple as possible: over Dec/Jan vote on what to do with the grain now we know more, then vote on who wants to continue coupled with how much people who continue are prepared to put in from both organising and funding. If not enough people want to continue and support the organising part and not enough new people want to join then we need to finalise the current year. If I decided not to continue next year I am very happy to leave any balance I have left to the project.

AR

Abby Rose Tue 2 Jan 2018

Thanks for these thoughts @christinelewis very clear and I agree that we need to have 2 votes fairly shortly. Working with @grahamehunter to get this sorted

D

Darren Wed 20 Dec 2017

A bit confused by everything going on and all the options.

With a limited capacity in the 'organising group' to move things forward I'm wondering how the future looks for OurField.

The word co-operative has been thrown around and I'm thinking we should work on a proposal or some proposals for how things may be organised next year. I'd be happy to work with others towards this end - if anyone is interested in forming some ideas to bring to the group?

Back to our spelt - somewhat selfishly I am liking the sound of the option of pushing out the grain via Hodmendods that @tamsynforsyth has brought forward as I would be interested in having a fair bit of the grain to eat myself. Its an option that currently looks somewhat viable and, especially if the grain is no good for baking, avoids having to sell for animal feed if However if Hodmendods will take all the grain, package and distribute it for us, along side their own products - it could be an option that possibly wouldn't take loads of work. I wonder the finer details - what cost would be incurred, estimates of the amount of time it would take to sell - it feels like a lot, of a quite specialist product, with I'm guessing, somewhat limited demand to sell in retail packs.

I spoke to Nigel Moon again from Whissendine Mill, who has been very helpful and is happy to offer advice. He mills spelt that a biodynamic farmer grows for him.

He said the best way hes found to reliably test a grains suitability for baking is to actually bake a loaf. If it collapses then you know its not going to come to much. I wonder if we could somehow pull this together? Getting a small sample, somehow dehulling & milling (I guess as small amount could be ultra low tech - somehow beating and grinding??) and an experienced baker trying to bake a loaf.

He made the suggestion that any sample we take should be representative. If the grain is in a pile - a number of samples should be taken from various places over the pile, mixed, then all, or part, of this mixture sent for testing.

He's had someone dehull small amounts of spelt with a bamford plate mill, with the plates set with a wide gap- it was slow, but if we can find someone with one, it would be a way to get a small sample dehulled.

I also spoke to the grower about dehulling - the place he gets his done only processes organic - he suggested we spoke to Dave Hill - who Wendy has already contacted.

AR

Abby Rose Tue 2 Jan 2018

@darren4 we do actually have a small amount of the grain milled as E5 milled the 2kg or so of grain we gave them. They had to make it into plain spelt flour. So I have one bag of our flour that someone could try and bake into a loaf. I could ask Luke (head baker at E5) or I know Grahame was also interested in trying it out. The only issue with this is that it's definitely not a representative sample because it was the grain that was sieved out without any hull on it. So I still think there is value in getting a more representative sample dehulled - potentially using a bamford plate mill as you suggest, and then have it tested again. Who can liaise with @johncherry to help make this happen?
For me I don't feel I could contribute more time to getting the spelt out there through Hodmedods channels...however if before the vote you were able to find a committed few people who would make this happened @darren4 then I would definitely be excited for this option too. I think we will have the vote pretty soon!
In terms of the 'organising group'. As you can probably tell the group has mainly dropped away already, so definitely for next year if we want to go ahead we need to find a way to make this happen from within the co-investors group, or set aside a role and some of our investment to pay the right person for it (anyway we can discuss this further in the moving forward thread @grahamehunter created). :)

AR

Abby Rose Sun 14 Jan 2018

@johnanthonyallan very sorry I just deleted your comment about you being happy to create an organising group within the co-investor group. Apologies, didn't mean to do that, thought I was deleting a comment I had started to write!

SF

Sinead Fenton Wed 24 Jan 2018

@grahamehunter @abbyrose
Have been quite out of the loop with getting our farm site together but time is starting to be a bit more open and if we're able to outline some roles that need filling perhaps this is a good place to start and the collective can look at what they can and can't commit, look at skills within the group that can be utilised etc? I think it's difficult to move forward without knowing where we all stand and where the project stands. I'd be happy to get more involved and play my part better but wouldn't know where to start RE whats being done. What I could offer at the top of my head that may help is some project management, techy stuff (web design, software integrations and designing process flows and tech infrastructure that might help us work a bit clearer and streamlined).

Maybe it's worth while trying to having an online meeting like an agm (we're probably around that time) or document outlining where everything stands at the very least or ideally getting the collective together so we can all get up to speed on whats going on and review where we go going forward with look toward putting a strategy in place. I'm attempting to get up to speed - which I feel Loomio is quite a difficult resource to do that on (could be linked to my issues around reading in this kind of format but I struggle with it, but something to consider I think)

AR

Abby Rose Wed 24 Jan 2018

@darren4 @sineadfenton @johnanthonyallan @christinelewis please see announcement here which answers some of your questions: https://www.loomio.org/d/69UaW2QX/important-announcement-organisers-role-after-jan-31st-2018

@sineadfenton thanks for your thoughts on this! and thanks for coming forward offering your support :). It may be that you or @darren4 would be interested in the co-investor role that is soon to be shared.

WA

Wendy Alcock Thu 25 Jan 2018

@grahamehunter Hello! It sounds like you have a lot to do at the moment (and thank you for taking on more of the organising) but do you think it is worthwhile sending a sample of the unhulled spelt to David Hill?

Or do you know if Abi has had any luck with Sharpham Park where they can hull onsite? Or maybe one of the other contacts on the https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s4M54UbIEMO0V-6wSN-XZv0vCenxfKZBbhWDQFqgNLM/edit doc (it looks like most of these will need us to supply dehulled grain though)?

David has this week emailed me to say “Hello Wendy, I just thought I would check with you to see if my offer was of any use to your group. We are away till early March from next weekend. Best wishes David.” So maybe we could send 5kg now to be able to hear his thoughts about the hulling potential of the spelt before he goes away?

I’ve copied details from my original post about David Hill below…

David Hill from R W Hill Farms Ltd near Thetford (80 miles from Weston) has given me this opinion:

“I doubt if it is worth investing money in this lot. I will have a look at it if you send me a 5 kg sample. We would be pleased to let your customers have some of our spelt to try so that they will be ready for yours next year.”

And his quote is £100 per tonne, so £1,500, excluding delivery.

For delivery, we arrange to send to him (est £300) and he can either return all of it to us (est another £300) or he can forward on parts to different buyers. If we want to go ahead he would like to see a sample of 5kg first.

AR

Abby Rose Mon 5 Feb 2018

Sharpham Park was a no as we aren't organic and they said the Hagberg number was way too low

GH

Grahame Hunter Thu 25 Jan 2018

@wendyalcock all, i shall go to Weston tomorrow (Friday 26 Jnauary) and with John select a small pile of "typical" spelt from our harvest __ - ie that larger quantity which has NOT shed its husk; and __yes Wendy I think it is a good idea for me to send some to David Hill and anyone else you or others care to think of.

So, please do, if anyone has time, post here or send me an email with the contact name, the sample quantity, the shipping address, and I will get the samples on the move to them. To be clear, I will be sending HULLED GRAIN, which has come from our field. My email address is gnlh01@gmail.com

GH

Grahame Hunter Sat 27 Jan 2018

@wendyalcock your suggestion of a sample to David Hill is on. Thanks

WA

Wendy Alcock Thu 1 Feb 2018

I checked with David to see if the grain had arrived and unfortunately he has already gone away. He will be back in March and has said he will check it as soon as he is home.

D

Darren Thu 1 Feb 2018

In the last few days I spoke to Holly from Grown in Totnes. They are currently having their dehuller set-up and it should be up and running in the next couple of weeks. Once operational they would be able to dehull and mill a sample for us, also later potentially process our whole crop. Holly thinks we shouldn't worry about the hagberg number and that she may know a baker that would buy all our spelt.

I also spoke to John Letts from East Oxfordshire who also thinks the hagberg number doesn't matter and has the kit to dehull, winnow & mill our spelt. He's also interested in our spelt - anyone got any more details about the seed grain we purchased? He would be up for taking half-a-tonne or so to have a play with.

He suggested we could go to his farm and use his equipment to process a sample, and later even all our spelt. He said he has previously regretted buying 20 tonnes form Wales because of the amount of work involved in processing it all.

Alternatively we could pay him & his co-worker to process it for us.

I could potentially pick up half a tonne or so from Weston in my truck, take it to Johns with anyone who'd also like to join, and then process some for us to use for samples - leaving the rest for him.

If for some reason our spelt flour doesn't make the grade for baking John says he's got contacts who brew beer and who distill and thinks he would be able to find us a buyer, or possibly someone that could process it for us to then distribute.

I guess there is still the option of us getting the grain dehulled and selling it for cooking.

I'd really like some of our grain and a bit of flour for my own use. I imagine other OurFielders would also want some. I would be happy to set time aside to organise this. There would be extra expenses involved - which it would appear fair that those that wanted the products would pay (time spent sorting it all out, bags/sacks and postage/courier fees).

Also I like the idea of us packaging and branding some of our grain and/or flour for retail sales - using this as a recruiting mechanism for OurField. I'm thinking we should be fully open to new members - the more people the more operating funds and the more potential for people to be involved with energy to help organise everything as things go forwards.

AR

Abby Rose Mon 5 Feb 2018

This is awesome work @darren4 - definitely interested to share what we have with both John and Holly and see what they make of it as they are both experts in this kind of thing!!

GH

Grahame Hunter Fri 2 Feb 2018

Moving the Spelt onwards..

@darren @wendyalcock
It is important we do not re-make past decisions.
There was a vote and a clear outcome about what to do with last years spelt. (re-pasted below italicised for those who missed it..)

Based on that why do you two not chat amongst yourselves make a plan and post it here..there are members' funds to meet your reasonable expenses whatever they are. I can also arrange 5 Kg samples of the un-hulled grain to go to anyone else you want. By all means, Darren, take a half tonne to mill, but for this year I ask you _not to pursue the "own label" and distribution route, nor the multiple small millers and small bakers sales route, as that was already voted down. _

Darren, Wendy if you want to collect a truck load and work to get it milled, I am sure that is worth £100 to the group, and alternatively we can pay Holly or John Letts to do this for us. Post what you decide here. We have the money, we can pay the expenses.

But let's bear in mind, that the decision was taken to move this last years' crop out to __ as few people with as little handling as possible__.

Here is the decision text..

_ We have a clear result from the Poll. Nobody thinks we should be trying to wholesale to several bakers. We will get the whole lot hulled and milled in one or two mills, and put into mostly large bags suitable for commercial bakeries; with a small amount bagged for members. More members voted for this that the other choices combined._

This makes the next steps pretty straightforward; we need to find out who can hull 15 tonnes of Spelt for us, or a mill that can accept un-hulled Spelt for milling, and carry on from there. It seems useful if cooperative members can ask those questions / do some of that research, and it is now a clear consensus that we do not need to trouble the small mills who can only do small quantities.

WA

Wendy Alcock Fri 2 Feb 2018

I'm happy to have a chat with Darren, @grahamehunter, but those at the meeting at E5 bakehouse did discuss having another vote on this once more research had been done, as the vote was before we knew about the low hagberg number. This is outlined in the meeting minutes at the top of this thread.

@darren4 I'll dig out your email and maybe we can have a chat one day next week?

GH

Grahame Hunter Fri 16 Feb 2018

getting some Spelt dehulled?

@darren4 @wendyalcock

Hi, Darren, Wendy
you wrote a couple of weeks ago

_ Alternatively we could pay him & his co-worker to process it for us. I could potentially pick up half a tonne or so from Weston in my truck, take it to Johns with anyone who'd also like to join, and then process some for us to use for samples - leaving the rest for him. _
etc.

do you wish to do this? Is the payment of £100 from the funds reasonable reward to get this moving onwards.. I am at Weston on and off in the next days and could help you get it loaded up.

my phone number is 07501 946985

D

Darren Wed 7 Mar 2018

A quick update on shifting the spelt -

Grown in Totnes are having problems getting their dehuller set up. They are hoping to have it operational in the next couple of weeks.

John Letts has offered to duhull and mill some grain for us. He's also happy to buy a tonne or two of spelt from us at £200 a tonne - slightly more than we thought Doves Farm may pay for the spelt when we were trying to decide what to plant last spring. If we sell him some he'll mill us some flour from the grain he takes and send it out for us.

John was keen to emphasis, once again, that he expects it will bake a good loaf - particularly if it was used for a sourdough bread.

Guess it would be good to know if anyone is interested to try using some of our flour, particularly people who have experience with bread making, or if anyone has any baker contacts who we could send some to for testing?

This the google doc which has a list Abi made of people interested in the grain - theres a few bakers who may help us with testing?
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s4M54UbIEMO0V-6wSN-XZv0vCenxfKZBbhWDQFqgNLM/edit?usp=sharing

Anyone want to help organise the test baking?

WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 11 Mar 2018

Hi @darren4 , I don't have any particular baker contacts but am happy to try and find a few test bakers once we have some grain. See my next comment I am about to post on this thread though. Wendy

TA

Tony Allan Wed 7 Mar 2018

Dear Darren
Very many thanks for your message abut selling some of the spelt.

Have you looked at your email since last Friday? Best regards

WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 11 Mar 2018

Hi everyone. You may remember we (Grahame) sent a sample of our spelt to someone who might be able to hull the spelt for us - David Hill. David was away for a while but has now sent his views. They are as follows:

"We have dehulled the sample Grahame sent us but we only got 1 kilo out. The very small grain went out with the hulls as it was of similar weight. I should suggest that it of no value. I should also think that your 2018 crop will need more N to give you a usable grain size."

Unfortunately not great news but I still think it is worth getting some grain hulled via John Letts and trying to arrange some test bakes, just in case! I am happy to help with this @darren4

Does anyone know, if it comes to it, do we need to get the grain dehulled to sell as animal feed or might we not even have that option available to us?!!?

JC

John Cherry Fri 23 Mar 2018

John Letts came and took a 2/3rds of a tonne (roughly) (actually he was very gentle, but you know what I mean) last week and will be processing it and playing about with it. He was brim full of ideas and enthusiasm for all possibilities. He reckoned it might malt well for an artisan brew, gin makers would like it for the alcohol making potential as well as having a ready made filtration option with the built in husk (normally the gin makers buy in rice-hulls to filter the gin). He was sure it'll bake well if we wanted to go down that line. I await developments with bated breath.

Meanwhile I had a chat with Josiah at Hodmedods about what to grow this year (more on that in another thread) and he was waxing most lyrically about ourfield and how if we could get the spelt milled and bagged, he reckoned they'd have no trouble selling it. It's just the sort of story they and their customers like and stories sell flour, as old Dusty Miller used to say. Good publicity for #ourfield too...

WA

Wendy Alcock Sat 24 Mar 2018

Sounds positive. Thanks for the update John :-)

AR

Abby Rose Sun 15 Apr 2018

Hi all 2017 co-investors. Some of you may remember that we had a tray of our spelt at the Harvest Party last November - well E5 then milled that for us, to make one bag of flour. Last week Luke the head baker at E5 used that flour to make a loaf of bread - the one on the right in the photo below (darker one). It only made one small loaf but it was still very tasty and Luke said "It's tasting good. I noticed the gummy texture coming from the high amylase with the spelt. You could definitely sell it as flour for tinned breads, or a tasty porridge." Definitely good to hear!
The other loaf was made from John Lett's Lammas Fayre https://www.bakerybits.co.uk/bakery-ingredients/flour/lammas-fayre-flour-mill.html a heritage grain mix flour. It was also very delicious!

WA

Wendy Alcock Tue 17 Apr 2018

They look fabulous, thanks for the pics @abbyrose :)

I've been meaning to ask, have we heard back from John Letts with his views on the spelt yet @darren4 @grahamehunter

I'm happy to get in touch with him if someone can send me his contact details.

GH

Grahame Hunter Thu 19 Apr 2018

new information

We have received this report from John Letts.
There are several things to consider, and I will put up a vote after a week of discussion ( so ending around Wednesday 04 May)
He wrote..

Hi all,

I've just tabulated the results from processing your spelt wheat. You might want to share this with your group.

I processed a fairly full 'half ton' tote bag which contained c. 365 kg of grain in the husk (weighed by John Cherry). We took two bags away. On the first pass through the winnower I removed c. 50 kg (13% by weight) of already naked grain that had been dehulled by the combine harvester.

(You would have to be careful if you sent your spelt to a commercial dehulling company to make sure they removed this naked grain first before dehulling - they usually just put the whole lot through the dehuller and you lose the 'naked' grain. Next time, I would set the combine concave a little further apart to make sure the grain was threshed but didn't actually knock the grain out of the husk so much.

I then cleaned the grain to pull out seed for resowing (157 kg).

Of the rest (208 kg), I managed to extract 114 kg of beautiful naked grain with the dehuller. Most of this is top quality grain (93 kg), but there is about 16 kg of fragmented/small/weedy grain that you might want to use as chicken feed or 'weedy bulgur'. I couldn't remove the smallest weed seeds with my equipment. It would probably be fine if you milled and sieved it as the weed seeds won't hurt anyone, but the chickens might enjoy it as well.

So the summary is:

365 kg in tote

157 kg (removed for replanting)

208 kg (left for dehulling)
5 kg (kept by John for test milling)
16 kg (chicken feed)
93 kg (good grain for milling)

The husk makes up c. 40+% of the grain weight - so almost half of your yield is husk. All in all, you may have enough grain to fill 8-9 one ton grain totes, but this will probably give you only about 4.2 - 4.8 tons of actual grain (and about 250 kg of chicken feed depending on how you clean it).

It took me 5 hours to process 365 kg, which has generated c. 200 kg of grain, so I could do two totes in a long day. I should charge £250/day for my work and costs, and it also took me half a day's time and £100 in fees to my driver + petrol to collect the grain. So the total cost of processing the two totes will be £500 - for generating 400 kg of milling grain.

I want to keep half the grain for planting (which cost me £250 to process), leaving 200 kg for milling (which has also cost me £250 to process). I don't sell non-organic spelt wheat, so I don't have a use for this spare grain. Can I suggest that we just call it even? You take away 200 kg of milling grain and I keep the other half?

Or I could mill it into a 'light' or wholemeal flour for your group or a small milling fee (£50-100).

The 8-9 tons by weight of grain at John Cherry's would take c. two weeks for me to process it at £250 a day. Others could probably dehull it for you cheaper. You woudl have to get them to sieve off the naked grain before they dehull it.

If one or more of your team wished to use my dehuller to dehull the entire harvest, we could work out a cheaper price.

I hope this all makes sense!

All the best,

John

D

Darren Sat 28 Apr 2018

Nice to hear from John Letts and also to see that even the self dehulled grain has cooked a reasonable loaf.

I'd be up for spending a couple of days dehulling at Johns and could probably find friends that would do the whole lot, depending on what kind of wages we could pay, and what alternative dehulling options may be available.

Thinking it would be good to get John to mill the spare grrain hes got for us and for us to organise some more baking trials (anyone interested?)

Also I guess we need to start looking for buyers.

WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 29 Apr 2018

I didn’t get an email from Loomio with your update from John Letts @grahamehunter, so maybe others didn’t too. Darren’s update on the thread come through this morning. Thanks both for your updates.

First, I am happy with John’s suggestion he keeps 200kg of the grain for his work so far and I also think we should take up his offer to mill the remaining 200kg for us. Unless you might want to do that too @darren4?

On the costs, I’m not sure I have followed the processing numbers correctly but I think our harvest of 15 tonnes (is this correct @johncherry, as John Letts mentions 8-9 tonnes) would give around 6.5 tonnes of millable grain (45% based on 93/208kg) and 1.5 tonnes of chicken feed (10% based on 21/208kg).

I’m not sure we will find anyone else willing to dehull the grain for us so if this costs JL around £2,500 to process (Darren may be able to do it a little cheaper but we will still to pay JL something and wages to Darren and his friends, so I’m not sure it will be much less) we will need to sell the grain for around £400 per tonne to just break even. If JL’s suggestion that we get 4 – 5 tonnes is more realistic the price will go to around £500 - £600 per tonne.

I may have the numbers completely wrong but, if not, I don’t think this is what non-organic spelt sells for? Does anyone have a rough figure of what we might expect to get for a tonne?

I don't think finding buyers for smaller amounts (eg, a tonne at a time) will be a problem if we decide to dehull, mill and sell at a normal price as our product has a unique story.

AR

Abby Rose Thu 17 May 2018

Thanks for your assessments @wendyalcock @darren4 ... So if it cost us £500-600/tne to dehull, that is about 50-60p/kg. 1kg of organic spelt flour seems to be about £2-3.50 retail. I couldn't find a non-organic price. Do we know the cost of milling it once it's dehulled? @grahamehunter what is the cost of production so far for 1kg of spelt?
My thoughts are that we should get buyers in place before we take any action, so we can pre-sell all the grain before it's dehulled. And that it would be great to talk to people working in gin world, especially if that means we don't need to dehull it. Also talk to Josiah and see if they were keen to do a special line telling the story and what that might look like - maybe we could do something like spelt porridge? or spelt flakes? I can contact John Letts to ask about potential distillers to contact...is anyone else able to contact Josiah and see what the potential is there?

GH

Grahame Hunter Tue 12 Jun 2018

I almost lost track of how much we have..the harvest was 15 tonnes by an estimate when it was in the barn. John Letts then said we had perhaps overestimated, and there may have been just 11 tonnes. He took 2 tonnes, but from this was only able to produce 50% flour. H=John used just under 4 tonnes fro seed, and Weston has paid the members for that - see the April cash statement.
So perhaps we have enough raw grain to produce about 3 tonnes of flour after de-hulling and process, so around 75 Kg per 2017 member (2018 members do not share in the 2017 harvest..). Currently the remainder of what John Letts took is being milled now, and will produce about 120 Kg of flour for sending to 2017 members. This means we will all have some to muck about with. I and other non-members and 2018 members will have to buy it, and I propose a price of around £1 /kg (£1,000 /tonne rate) which is half what I paid yesterday for organic stoneground Spelt flour in Marks and Spencer.
Someone should be talking with John Letts from the mebership, and keeping this thread up to date..also, we may want to start thinking about how we can send 3kg to each member; we will need boxes, shipping labels, etc. and I estimate bulk post at not much less than £5 package.

TA

Tony Allan Wed 13 Jun 2018

Dear Grahame
Very many thanks for the update on what has happened to last year's spelt. Thank you also for all the things you have been researching and doing to get the grain milled etc..
I shall call at a local bakery here in north London to see if they will take a 3kg bag to try.
I have a question and a comment:
1 Are there any certification issues?
2 It would be good to have about 250 words on the label telling a friendly provenance story. If no one else could do this I could draft something for others to comment on.
Best TonyA

D

Darren Sat 16 Jun 2018

Been a bit busy recently moving to Somerset, taking on a four acre meadow and organising SoilHack but have some time again now. I could talk to John to make arrangements. I wonder how many people actually want flour and how much they would want? The list we collected before only gathered a handful of names for people that expressed an interest - it's on page 2 0f this document

I'd be interested in a few kilograms, but I imagine some in the collective may want more, and some may not have any use for it?

Also you mentioned the monthly cash statements @grahamehunter ? Only thing I could remember seeing is last years accounts linked in the accounting matters thread. If anything is at hand it would be interesting to see, but no problem if these arent yet finalised.

Also was thinking it would be good to organise an update/spruce up of the ourfieldproject.org website, wondering if you could create a sub group for Ourfield members to join if they wish to watch or possibly be involved, at some level in organising this and other, possibbly to some, slightly less exciting, Ourfield stuff?

I think it would be good to have this subgroup so that I, along with others that may wish to be involved, can organise this kind of thing in a bit more detail without spamming the whole group with loads of messages or resorting to email, where such interactions become invisible to the wider membership.

Also maybe another subgroup to discuss farming methods and ethos? I was interested in such a discussion but was thinking that at the time, there were a lot of messages coming through and members may have been suffering message fatigue. I think you can set up subgroups so any member can join the group & conversation (and start to get emails of messages), but its still publically viewable.

GH

Grahame Hunter Mon 18 Jun 2018

Gd morning Darren
just on that one point of yours

Also you mentioned the monthly cash statements @grahamehunter ? Only thing I could remember seeing is last years accounts linked in the accounting matters thread. If anything is at hand it would be interesting to see, but no problem if these arent yet finalised.

you should as should EVERY MEMBER have received from me bi monthly cash statements. so - end of February, and end of April have gone out, and end of June will shortly - probably around 10th July.

If you are not receiveing them, they are either going to your spam folder, or I hve your email address incorrectly logged. In your case Darren I am writing to
darreno@openmailbox.org

g

SJ

Steven Jacobs Tue 19 Jun 2018

Hi,
Thanks Darren. SoilHack sounds great. Is it an annual event?

I must apologise, I'm very keen to participate in the group discussions but have two large challenges.
First large challenge is that I have a more than full-time job and a more than full-time family. But I'll cope and just really want to stay a part of this project as best I can.
Second large challenge, I am finding Loomio to be very hard to work with. I have a post that I don’t think was posted (my responsibility, must have not done something right or did something wrong) and I can't always find posts I think other people are referring to, I have a poor sense of direction geographically but didn’t think this was the case in the digital world. Indeed I'm no luddite, I would consider myself quite an able wielder of basic tech but Loomio appears to me as hard to navigate.
I must try harder. I feel if I were to interact more I'd learn how to work with the platform more successfully, or satisfyingly.

On the issue with selling grains, in my experience small amounts of grain cost more per unit to process but can attract higher returns when appearing in a finished product.
However, also in my experience with food items where scale is not huge potential audiences are more attracted to spend any increased amount when the food item comes with sufficient story. That this group exists, is a good story. But that the spelt is not organic may be an issue for some of the avenues we cold otherwise explore.
Organic is not an easy route for a farmer. John and I have talked about farming methods before and as I work for an organic certifier now and have thirty years experience in food and farming I can appreciate the ups and downs.

There is a possible route in what is called conservation agriculture. This route does not come with guaranteed returns, its not an easy story to relate in terms of how conservation is the conservation agriculture.

I will be at John’s event next week to join in the conversation in the agricology bit, maybe see some of you there.
And on the theme of events I coordinate an event which will be held in Shropshire on 3 July which is partly why I struggle to get to the Loomio posts at times. Details of that event here:
http://ofgorganic.org/nocc-18-3-july-2018-shropshire/

AR

Abby Rose Sat 30 Jun 2018

you are right about setting up subgroups @darren4 - see my post in the new thread about leadership team. This would be exactly as you described, 4 people working in a subgroup to organise some of the details that not everyone in the group needs to hear about!

D

Darren Tue 3 Jul 2018

I've been surprisingly busy but have heard from John Letts.

The flour is milled and he'd like it taken as soon as we can. There's 114 bags 1.5 kg bags that cost £167 to mill and bag.

Half the bags are wholemeal, half are white. Its apparently nice flour.
I'm not sure what we do with this? I could go and pick it up without any problems and I could pack and send stuff out. I could also maybe find somewhere to store it - but I'd rather not if we could quickly distribute it.

I guess ideally it would quickly go off to 2017 members? But who wants what?

I just started to try to calculate all the costs and figure out a suggestion of how we could fairly organise the division (price per bag?) - but its complex and its also late.

I made a spreadsheet to start to try and get on top of the financial situation - anyone can edit.

If you want some flour please state your interest. Bare in mind there will quite possibly be delivery costs involved.

I've created a webform in an attempt to start to collect this information please fill it in if you want some flour. Also share it with anyone else who may want some. @grahamehunter or @abbyrose I guess it would be good to mail it to all 2017 members?
If anyone thinks the form should be changed I can easily do so.

I was thinking if we can send flour to 'distribution points' we could save a fair bit on postage - it would also give members a chance to meet up - which I think would be a good thing. I stuck some questions in the form to try to facilitate this.

I'm quite excited to try some Ourfield flour!

NR

Niki Reynolds Tue 3 Jul 2018

Hi Darren, I would love to try some flour.. I’ve filled in the Webform.. I’m happy to collect from a point.. will be good to meet other members.. excited to try the flour too..

CL

Christine Lewis Tue 3 Jul 2018

Thanks Darren - this is really exciting. I also have filled in the Webform and will of course be happy to distribute from where I am in Rugby, Warwickshire - especially if I have asked for too many bags - just adjust accordingly.

CG

Cat Gregory Tue 3 Jul 2018

I have filled in the webform and could possible store and distribute but I'd need more info about how the distribution would work etc. There are probably other London-based members who are better suited/situated to distribute but I guess once everyone has been in touch a list could be collated and a system worked out?

D

Darren Tue 3 Jul 2018

I just had a chat with John, the flour is packed in boxes of six bags. If I can send it out in boxes of 6 it would make everything nice and easy. I could open boxes and make them a mix of wholemeal and white bags before sending.

So once everyone who wants some has expressed an interest and we have people offering to act as distribution hubs we can hopefully sort it all out between ourselves.

I guess its up to the people who are able to be distribution hubs to decide how they want to organise people collecting the flour from them. Guess it may be nice to try and have a social and get everyone round at the same time? But whatever works.

I would remind people that this Loomio group is open and to consider that before posting email addresses and phone numbers. You can send people private messages by clicking on their photo/avatar.

I should add that I semi-regularly drive from Central Surrey - Reading - Central Somerset and would be happy to make short detours, or not use the M4, so that I could drop boxes off. I will be travelling to all these places in the next couple of weeks.

AR

Abby Rose Wed 4 Jul 2018

Yes this is brilliant @darren4 I definitely want some flour - will fill in the form. We could see if Gail's would be happy to have us use one of their central shops as a London distribution point... @romymiller would that be possible? (I think you are the Gails representative in the collective - sorry if I got that wrong!). And also maybe we could distribute some from E5 - would you be able to ask @rosybenson ? Maybe we could have an informal London meeting at Gail's and/or E5...? Just putting a date out there but Thursday 19th July after work, say 6.30 might work. @darren4 do you think John Letts can wait til then?

TA

Tony Allan Wed 4 Jul 2018

Thank you Abby and Darren for your messages. And thank you Darren for all you have done and continue to do in handling the processing and marketing of the spelt.
I could attend a meeting at E5 in Hackney on 19 July. Please confirm details and advise an agenda. Best Tony (Allan)

SJ

Steven Jacobs Fri 6 Jul 2018

Hi,
I'd like to come to the next meeting. Is 19 July the only possible date and must it be in the evening? I'm based in Shrewsbury and while I do travel a lot & happy to do so but getting in and out of London around half six in the evening is a challenge.
But if there's a time pressure this time around due to the need to move spelt flour then that's understandable.
And maybe we can schedule a separate meeting for another time, date, place...?

D

Darren Sat 7 Jul 2018

We are excited to let you know that we have now got some spelt flour milled bagged and ready to be sent out.

We have got 114 1.5kg bags of flour sitting in John Letts barn in Oxfordshire half white and half wholemeal.

John would like to have us pick up the flour by Friday as hes having some work done on the barn where it is sitting the following days. if you would like some flour it would be helpful if you could fill in the form (at https://ourfield.webform.com/form/24689 ) as soon as possible. Its packed in boxes of 6 bags so ideally we would send it out in multiples of 6.

So far we have only have 5 responses requesting a total of 30 bags.

If we can send flour to 'distribution points' we could save a fair bit on postage - it would also give members a chance to meet up. So if you've space to keep the some bags and are willing to arrange collection with local OurFielders let us know - There are questions in the form to help arrange this.

If we can arrange where most of the flour is going to go before Friday it could be sent out by courier then.

Alternatively we could have pay to have the flour driven up to Weston where it would sit in a cool barn. It could then be sent out by courier after 18th July or, as its looking like there will be a gathering at the farm, possibly late August or September people could pick up flour then to save on carriage.

Currently the total costs for our spelt flour looks to be around £2.90 for a 1.5kg bag - for the calculations see https://calc.allmende.io/ourfield2017flour There will be some additional courier charges dependant on how things are arranged.

HG

Harry Greenfield Wed 11 Jul 2018

Hi Darren - just wanted to check, as I was left a bit confused by the order of some earlier posts on here, but is this flour the entirety of the crop, or is there still some grain left that didn't go to John Letts?

GH

Grahame Hunter Sat 7 Jul 2018

Content of Darren's latest post - comment

This news from Darren is important, and perhaps urgent, and so I have sent the contents of Darren's last message as an email to all the 2017 members.
Regarding the costs, we should of course remember that the Spelt already belongs to the 2017 members.
There remains a complicated financial calculation to be made with John Letts and others about the value of grain taken, (cost to them..), the costs of de-hulling and of milling, and of bagging (chargeable to us), and various operations of moving the stuff about. So far no money has changed hands, but the accounting will follow in due course.

My suggestion and preference is that every 2017 member who wants it should regard him /herself as the owner of 1 box of 6 bags of flour at no additional cost (you have all paid £200) except actual freight to your house if do not collect it ; and so if you can make arrangements where you want it sent, and complete Darrren's form, I can ship out on 18th August from Weston or Darren can send it earlier perhaps.

Clearly, at the rate of 6 bags per 2017 member there is technically not enough to go around - but as we know not everyone will respond, nor want the product at all. Those who do want their flour and was a member in 2017, should speak up as soon as possible! If there are insufficient takers for "free flour" from the 2017 cohort, then it can be sold to the 2018 members, perhaps at Darrens suggested price of £2.90 / bag excluding carriage.

TF

Tamsyn Forsyth Sun 8 Jul 2018

@darren4 I have filled out the form and would love 6 bags of wholemeal flour - just checking you have received my input as the page seemed to refresh when I did it. I am also based in Oxfordshire (Chipping Norton) if that is at all helpful with the distribution process?

A

andrea Tue 10 Jul 2018

Free to 2017 members only? This seems a bit discriminatory against 2018 members, who have also invested £200. I don't recall having been told that the shares were ex-dividend when I invested this year. The new money has been partly used to resupply the soil with nutrients, so one could say that it has contributed to the previous growing cycle.

GH

Grahame Hunter Wed 11 Jul 2018

Why the 2017 flour is "free" to 2017 members, but not to 2018 members

Andrea @andrea3 wrote * This seems a bit discriminatory against 2018 members, who have also invested £200.*

I cannot agree with you on this, Andrea. In the document called __ New Members' Information __- which I wrote, and which was sent to every applicant for membership in 2018, I said then and I think it is fair,

*2017 members and 2018 members’ balances will be distinct, because 2018 members are not charged any part of 2017 costs, but nor will they receive any part of the 2017 yield (the 2017 harvest remains for sale in the grain store). *

Of course in the same way of fairness Andrea, any costs of shipping and milling the 2017 harvest are also allocated ONLY TO 2017 MEMBERS. So you as a 2018 Member will not have contributed to the profit & losses of 2017; you don't get a cost free share of the 2017 harvest, but you share in full everything that is happening in 2018 and into the future.

Anyone who may wish to recap their memory of the New Members Information, can find it here..

Grahame

A

andrea Wed 11 Jul 2018

@grahamehunter Maybe you can explain me:
If all the spelt is distributed free to 2017 members, then, from the 2017 accounts, 2017 members would be left with 60x£200-£5048=£6952 or £115.86 per member. They haven't invested any money in 2018, so how are they supposed to cover the expected 2018 budget of £143?

GH

Grahame Hunter Wed 11 Jul 2018

Spelt Flour

All 2017 members have been sent an email about this; any 2017 member who has not received an email, and after checking their spam folder, should please sent me a message at gnlh01@gmail.com since it means I have your recorded your email address incorrectly, or you have changed it since joining!

I believe that very kindly, Darren @darren4 is arranging to have the bagged flour from the trial milled batch sent to Weston, with transport costs for 2017 members' account.

I will ship it to members from Weston after July 18th 2018 (shipping costs apply, and only if I have an address); or it can be collected from Weston; or collected at the venue of the 2018 summer meeting wherever / whenever that is.

GH

Grahame Hunter Wed 11 Jul 2018

@andrea3 Andrea, the spelt being offered "freely" to 2017 members, is only the trial batch of around 70Kg which John Letts milled from a sample of the grain. Certainly, there is a presumption in the accounts that the 2017 harvest will be sold and not given away. and you are quite right to point that out.

One of the problems with selling the 2017 harvest has been theoretical test results from two sources such as the Hagberg number being so low as to suggest the grain cannot be sold at all for milling, whereas John Letts has said he has made some nice flour from it. So far no one has used it, so the short term aim is to get some out, and ideally into the hands of some eager bakers who can see if it will produce a decent loaf.

I count myself as a baker, but of course since I am not a member of the Cooperative I would have to buy any test-flour I used, and only if there were some left over after the 2017 members have expressed their level of interest - there may be none left.

Grahame

A

andrea Thu 12 Jul 2018

@grahamehunter If I understand correctly
a. the contribution to the 2018-19 growing season will be the same from 17 and 18 members
b. if the 17 spelt cannot be sold, 17 members will have to put more money in the account
c. the cash balances of 17 and 18 members will be different.
Is that right?
What happens if a member does not wish to continue, and a new member enters the coop? Does the new member pay the remaining cash balance to the seller and whatever may be required for a new growing season?

GH

Grahame Hunter Sat 14 Jul 2018

# answers to Andrea's questions
* a) yes, they will be the same. The funds of the two groups are not merged, but they are equal partners in farming the same field, and will have the same expenses and income from the 2018 planting and harvest
* b) yes, if there are no sales or no saleable produce, sooner or later both groups will run out of money to continue farming. The 2017 group will run out first if they cannot sell their 2017 Spelt.
* Actually it now looks as if the 2018 growing season is a fallow year, resulting in very low input costs and negligeable harvest: so the cash shortage will occur at the beginning of the 2019 sowing season.
* the cash balances of the 2017 and 2018 members are different.
* if a member wishes to "not continue" they have some choices; they can remain as "sleeping members" with no input to discussions, but with their cash account being reduced by the ongoing costs, or they can withdraw on the basis described in the "new members information" document, which is this..
Members can pull out at any time – but the cost of withdrawing before the harvest is that earlywithdrawal members will have been charged the farm and administration costs from month to month, but would not be in to benefit from the harvest income.
* The OurField Weston group is not looking and probably would not accept further members, but if a withdrawing member found someone else to take over their membership I cannot imagine any objection to that, and then the leaving and joining members could make whatever arrangements they liked with each other.

Of course, Andrea, I write all this as a non-member and facilitator; if you or any member wished to make a different proposal then they could post this as a discussion thread, OR ask me to start a vote on the proposed change of procedure - which I would do if the newly formed "leadership team" thinks it is helpful.

best wishes

Grahame

D

Darren Sat 14 Jul 2018

The flour is now at Weston. We've got 17 Ourfield collective members expressing a desire for a total of 80 bags - 39 wholemeal 41 white. All but 3 are 2017 members. The number of bags requested by each person ranges from 2 to 24.

To simplify accounting going forward |'d suggest that everyone who wants some buy it at cost.

We've got 34 bags left. I know Grahame would like a couple. Anyone got any ideas of what we do with the rest of this flour?

I guess some could be given as samples for any potential bulk purchasers.

I wonder if any of the 2017 organising crew would like any?
@abbyrose @annielandless

GH

Grahame Hunter Mon 16 Jul 2018

Darren, do you want me to, or can you review the costs of this with John Letts?

There is
* value (sale price to John) of the flour he collected (agreed price £200/tonne, which is the same price Weston Park Farms paid for using some for seed);
* then all the costs he incurred handling, shipping, de-hulling and milling our flour to be deducted from this.
* £80 transport costs to be paid directly, for shipping to Weston.
* we can ignore for now the individual package costs for sending it out to Ourfield members, as that will be for each individual's account.

It may turn out we owe him, or perhaps he owes us - it looks to be a small sum in either case.

But I would like to get it sorted out so I can include this in the next accounts run.
grahame

CL

Christine Lewis Sun 15 Jul 2018

Thanks for organising this and I am very happy to pay for flour at cost and for postage - I can even take a few more bags if needed and to make it easier to package up in 6 bags per box. Probably good to have some bags as samples for potential buyers of the rest of the grain.

AR

Abby Rose Sun 15 Jul 2018

brill thanks @darren4 I can ask if Abi, Carolin and Phoebe would like to buy some. I'm happy to pay cost for mine, the only thought would be maybe we should charge anyone who is not a member of the collective a reasonable price, above cost. I only say this because in order for OurFieldWeston to be able to continue year on year we do need to make a bit of profit so that we can invest in the field going forward...so charging something a bit more is for the good of the project. Anyways just a thought!

AW

Andy Walker Sun 15 Jul 2018

Hi, apologies if this has already been answered but how big are the bags of flour and how much are they? I'd quite like some of each so if you can confirm cost and how to go about ordering and paying I'd be happy to do that.

Andy

GH

Grahame Hunter Thu 19 Jul 2018

Spelt Flour price and carriage cost

in a box, delivered, the carriage is £6.20 for 1-2 bags x 1.5 Kg, or £7.80 for 3 - 6 bags x 1.5 Kg.

Alternatively, up to 6 bags can be collected for free, from SG4 7BX.

2017 members pay carriage only for up to 6 bags of flour from the 2017 harvest (or totally free if collected).. Above 6 bags, the price for 2017 members will be £3 per 1.5Kg. bag + carriage.

2018 members can also buy up to 6 bags of this flour from the 2017 harvest at £3 per 1.5 Kg bag + carriage as above.

This price is while stocks last and for the first milling only, as this was a small quantity for test purposes; future sales will be at whatever price and on whatever terms the new OurField leadership group determines. Orders will be filled without preference on a first come first served basis.

Anyone who want this test-batch flour and who did not fill out Darren's spreadsheet (I already have logged your orders, and written to you individually) should now write to me at gnlh01@gmail.com either

  • giving me their shipping address, which needs to be a safe address where goods can be left without signature,
  • or make arrangements to collect it.

I will then send the goods or have them in an agreed place for collection, and confirm the payment details if any are necessary.

Special requests, delivery details and orders should not be put on this public page.

TT

Tessa Tricks Sat 21 Jul 2018

Thank you to everyone for moving this forward. Email coming your way now @grahamehunter

JC

John Cherry Sat 28 Jul 2018

Hope the baking is going well. Meanwhile, we've moved what's left of last years spelt to a dry spot as we needed the grainstore for this years harvest (which is coming in lovely and dry and early by the by). We'd be grateful if you could decide fairly soon what you want to do with it as it will be in the way again before long I daresay...
I had a nice chat with Michael Marriage of Doves Farm a few weeks ago, as I've still got all of our winter spelt to sell. He said spelt is a bit feast or famine on a five year cycle. Alas, at the moment there's more spelt about than there is demand for (because the price was high a while back, lots of farmers grew some and are now selling it below the price of wheat, due to the dehulling expense/inconvenience). Not good news, I'm afraid, alternative marketing strategy may be required...

TA

Tony Allan Sun 29 Jul 2018

Dear John
Very many thanks for letting us know what is happening on the farm. The 2018 harvest has started early and probably not incur drying costs. Unless of course the hot sunny days are replaced by rainy cold days.
How is OurField? What has been the impact on the useful cover and on the weeds and the slugs? Could I ask if you sow any winter sown crops on the rest of the farm? Best Tony (Allan)

WA

Wendy Alcock Sun 29 Jul 2018

I have some spelt flour on the way and am looking forward to doing some testing :-) @johncherry can you let us know roughly how much of last year's spelt you still have at the farm please? I have lost track of what has been sown, milled and remains to be sold. Thank you.

OR

Oliver Rubinstein Mon 13 Aug 2018

Update on finding a buyer for the 2017 spelt

Myself and Christine have taken on responsibility for trying to find an outlet for the remaining 2017 spelt. So far I've contacted Andrew Trump from Organic Arable (currently on holiday), to ask for some advice on this. I've also contacted two distilleries, to see if there's any scope for making gin or other spirits from the crop. Cambridge distillery have said they're not interested, but I'm still waiting to hear back from Cotswold Distillery. I'll update you as and when we hear anything. In the meantime we will continue to contact possible buyers.
If anyone has any other suggestions for possible outlets, please let me know.

WA

Wendy Alcock Mon 13 Aug 2018

Good ideas Oliver. Did you find out how much is left to sell? If we've just got a few tonnes we may be able to sell the yet to be milled flour to individual bakeries.

OR

Oliver Rubinstein Mon 13 Aug 2018

As I understand it Wendy, we still have ~9 tonnes in the barn at Weston. The quality is not great for baking, although this could work as part of a mixture with a stronger flour. The key thing for us, is telling the story behind it.

WA

Wendy Alcock Mon 13 Aug 2018

Ok, thanks Oliver.

OR

Oliver Rubinstein Mon 13 Aug 2018

Personally I'm inclined to try and find an outlet that can take the grain with minimal processing required - probably brewing. Now that the 2018/19 growing season is starting, our focus should probably be on that - in particular making sure that the lessons we've learnt so far, are acted on in 2018/19. At this point I don't think we have the capacity within the collective to successfully market flour from the 2017 spelt as well as dealing with the new growing season.

CL

Christine Lewis Mon 13 Aug 2018

I agree to find an outlet with minimal processing - it has been quite a drain to find a buyer and we are not there yet. I have also contacted Warner & Edwards, Sipsmith, Penderyn Distillery and Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) - TOAD grow their own grain for base spirit. No responses yet. Small distilleries will probably buy base spirit in so we need to find ones that don't. @johncherry is there an option for selling the grain into a local cooperative/ market even if it ends up as animal food - I don't know how to approach this channel.

JC

John Cherry Wed 15 Aug 2018

Sorry to be slow replying. There is a nice little heap which would be 9 tonnes if it was wheat, but spelt is half as heavy...I think we may have been over-optimistic estimating last years harvest results.
@christinelewis1 we have some of last years winter spelt that we grew on the farm still to market, so if necessary we can add the #ourfield heap to that. It won't go for feed, I've had one or two nibbles fro mills who would buy it, it's the dehulling which is a problem. We've also got two heaps of spelt we grew this year, some winter and the spring spelt from the seed we took from the #ourfield heap (all paid for of course). It looked a cracking crop, but the dry weather made the actual grain very pinched. I'd be keen to try this again as it is so much more vigorous than all our other spring crops.
John

GH

Grahame Hunter Sun 19 Aug 2018

sale of 2017 Spelt for seed

As John says, the spelt used by Weston Park Farms was billed and paid for: and each 2017 member will perhaps have seen an income of £16.07 (x 41 members) shown in the April/May cash statements.

OR

Oliver Rubinstein Wed 15 Aug 2018

Thanks John, for marketing purposes then, can we assume that we have ~4.5 tonnes of Our Field spelt to shift?

CL

Christine Lewis Wed 15 Aug 2018

Thanks @johncherry and adding the ~4.5 tonnes of Our Filed spelt to your spelt crop and using existing farming channels to market seems a very good option. Very keen for the coordinating group to put efforts into new decisions, engagement and getting 2018 off to a strong start, having learnt the lessons from 2017.

CG

Cat Gregory Fri 31 Aug 2018

Not sure if this is relevant here as the focus has been on bread but I baked some chai muffins with the spelt flour and they turned out really well. Apologies for the instagram filter...

CL

Christine Lewis Sat 1 Sep 2018

Hi Cat - they look fantastic. I have found the white Spelt flour bakes very well in cakes and pastry. It is just too soft for my bread making - hoping as plain white flour it could have a route to market if we could find one.

GH

Grahame Hunter Sun 2 Sep 2018

Hi Cat, I wonder if you could be troubled to re-post your delicious photos on the spelt baking thread (and perhaps add a recipe?) - it is very hard in Loomio for me to move a posting to another thread.