Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company

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Organic grains!
Organic goodness!

We at Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company believe that good bread is made when we work with our Mother the Earth in a spirit of gratitude and with loving responsiveness to her needs and ours. Together with the Earth, those who grow, those who mill, those who bake and those who buy – each offer a unique gift to the creation of the Tall Grass product. Our bakeries are the meeting place where the loaf of bread is born and begins to sing its own song.

Organic Farmer Tom Janzen

Tom Janzen, one of our first organic farmers.

We support organic agriculture, that is, agriculture conducted without the use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides. In so doing, we demonstrate our desire to take responsibility for the gifts of the Earth. We see this choice as fundamental to caring for the Earth’s health as well as our own.

Truly healthy bread – even cinnamon buns – can only come from a healthy Earth. Accountability to the land and to one another is best lived out in the context of community – a community that justly supports the production of local food. Home-grown Manitoba grains, seeds, berries and fruit are also among the essential ingredients of our products. By participating closely with growers in the food-making process we are able to directly pay them a just price for their grain.

Remaining intimate with all the processes required to grow, harvest, mill, bake and sell good bread means that we are choosing to remain as small, hands-on bakeries. We earn our living by staying involved in the wholesome work of producing food of which we can be proud.

As we receive it from the Earth: whole, every day our whole grain flour is freshly ground, right here at Tall Grass because we believe the only way to make really fresh, nutritious bread is to start with healthy ingredients. Milling locally grown grain is in keeping with our philosophy of healthy food. We love our mills which give us the chance to make such beautiful bread.

Grains and seeds provide Manitoba with more than just fabulous flour. The flavour of oilseeds comes alive at our Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen in the form of fresh-pressed oil. The handsome fields of sunflowers growing just outside our city are an exciting source of sunshine-fresh flavour, captured in a bottle. Our cold pressed oil has nothing added or taken away. Close your eyes, try the oil and you'll know what we mean by a completely new oil experience.

Whether it is your daily bread, a special sweet treat from our bakeries or even an entire meal prepared in the Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen, our philosophy guides us.

Tall Grass in the Winnipeg community of Wolseley.Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company
is committed to . . .

Using organic grains harvested in their purest and most nutritious form! We mostly deal with Manitoba farms which have been certified organic by the Organic Producers’ Association of Manitoba (OPAM).

Using the whole grain! In the whole grain lies a whole life force. The whole grain goes into our flour because it contains nutrients and minerals that are essential. Bite into a slice of Tall Grass whole wheat bread and taste the life in every morsel.

Using stone-ground flour, milled fresh each day! We mill our whole grain flour daily right at Tall Grass so that nutrients do not break down due to the aging process, and the flavour remains spectacular. Nothing tastes as good as baked goods made with freshly ground flour!

Creating products of the highest quality! Our roots are in home baking, and we bring the quality and spirit of home baking to all our products. From the fresh ingredients, to the time we invest in production, we do what is needed to assure the highest quality foods.

Our Farmers

We make every effort to source our food locally, within the province, where possible. This reduces our 'carbon footprint' and rewards us with the bounty of our own land. It is important to us, and we trust it is important to you, too.

Check out the Google Map below showing some of the farmers who grow for us:

Apple Junction
St. Anne, MB
- apple cider

Nature's Farm
Steinbach, MB
- VITA eggs
- pasta (using local eggs and flour)

Organic Farms

Ridgeville, MB
- a wide variety of organic grains and seeds

Neechi Foods
Winnipeg, MB
- blueberries
- wild rice, when available

Crocusview Farm
Kenton, MB
- organic prairie bison

The Organic Food Council of Manitoba
- inspiration
- certification

De Ruyck's Organic Farms
Swan Lake, MB
- buckwheat, flax, oats
- potatoes
- onions
- sunflower seeds

Plum Ridge Farm
Teulon, MB
- asparagus
- seasonal fruits and vegetables

The Farm
Oakburn, MB
- a wide variety of vegetables

Pollock Farms
Brandon, MB
- potatoes
- spelt

Graham's Grove
Carmen, MB
- Saskatoons

St. Benedict's Monastery, WinnipegSt. Benedict's Monestary
Winnipeg, MB
- herbs
- prayers
- rhubarb

Harms Farm
Ste. Anne, MB
- lettuce mix

Wild Man Rice
Winnipeg, MB
- wild rice (near Dauphin)

Hutterite Colonies
Throughout the province
- high bush cranberries
- raspberries
- Saskatoons
- strawberries

Of course some products simply do not grow in Canada, like coffee. We carefully select our sources not for profitability but rather the many practices we believe in.

Level Ground Trading of Saanichton, BC and Oso Negro of Nelson, BC, supply us with fair trade, organically grown coffee, roasted here in Canada.

Organic Grains! Organic Goodness!
Taking a harvest tour

Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company’s support of local organic farmers was celebrated in the summer of 2009, as Tall Grass owners and farmers exchanged stories, laughter, hand shakes and hugs during a day long tour of three organic farms which supply the bakeries and the kitchen.

A caravan of two vehicles left the Westminster bakery just after eight in the morning, on Monday, August 31st. Led by Lyle Barkman, driving the company’s propane-powered 1947 Chevrolet delivery van, Tabitha Langel hosted those in the hybrid electric car.

Six Sprouts Farm

It was late morning, on one of the sunniest days of the summer, when we turned right up the lane at Six Sprouts Farm.

Tall trees filled the yard. Kittens wrestled and tumbled by the driveway and on the porch. A swing set of tall wooden pillars and strong, thick rope peeked out from one side of the house as children dashed about.

Six Sprouts Farm is located near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Operated by Aaron and Louise Tully, with the assistance of their five children - Laura; Luke; Rebecca; Daniel; and Peter, they work together on 300 acres of land which was originally a farm owned by Aaron’s grandfather.

On their certified organic fields - they grow wheat, rye and oats, which they supply to Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company. It’s a relationship established in 1996.

“It started with pumpkins,” explained Louise Tully. “We had a load of pumpkins at the Portage la Prairie Farmers’ Market, and somebody said we should give Tabitha a call, that Tall Grass might be interested. They were.

“The next year, their wheat farmer left, and Tabitha gave us a call, we chatted, and started supplying them with wheat.”

The same organic practices which are employed in the grain fields are also used in the gardens, although those gardens are not certified.

Garden produce is sold to niche markets such as high end city restaurants. Carrots and beets are sold as baby vegetables. Zucchini, as well as beaming yellow zucchini flowers, and purple basil are bought by restaurants to brighten the plates of diners.

“Organic farming is responsible stewardship. We are the stewards of the land, and in the end we have to answer to God about how we have looked after many things - including how we have looked after the land.”

After exchanging warm hugs and handshakes, the caravan headed west.

Pollock Farms

It was just after noon, as the Tall Grass tour reached Pollock Farms.

The farm is located 5 miles north east of Brandon. It’s a gently rolling 630 acre site, of which 600 are working acres, and 30 are yard and wildlife habitat.

A large ochre-coloured brick farm house, originally built in the early 1900s dominates the open yard. Sheds abound - for work, processing and storage. A neat row of grain bins, border the lawn, an easy walk just across the yard.

Currently worked by Larry and Pat Pollock, Larry’s parents began farming on the site in 1940. Pat’s adult children Stephen, Erin, and Scott come home as often as they can.

The farm’s organic designations include the Organic Crop Improvement Association-International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (OCIA-IFOAM); National Organic Program - US (NOP - US); European Union Verified and Canadian Organic Regime.

It is the Pollock’s steadfast adherence to strict organic guidelines, which has earned the farm these world-wide designations. Additionally, this recognition across North America has led to Pollock Farms becoming a practicum location in the training of organic crop inspectors from across Canada.

The production of pedigreed alfalfa seed is one of the farm’s most important cash crops. Vigilant care is taken of these fields including the placement of brightly coloured leaf cutter bee huts with nesting materials. The specialized bees are required for the pollination of the crop.  Then there are also the barley, oats and rye fields.

Pollock Farms is one of the larger producers of spelt in the province, a wonderfully nutritious ancient grain, with a deep nutlike flavour which is the central ingredient of Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company’s Spelt Bread.

Surveying the equipment which they have adapted for the multi step processing of spelt, and referring to the programs which have evolved to teach inspectors and producers about organic farming, Pat chuckled and said, “I guess you could call what we are - strange.”

A more appropriate analysis would probably be - that Pollock Farms is the embodiment of a spirit of practical pioneer inventiveness.

After sharing a picnic with this hard-working farm couple, the caravan
turned south east as the sunny day's shadows grew longer.

De Ruyck’s Organic Farm

It’s late in the afternoon as the group turned into the farm yard. A huge stone to the left of the road is painted with the words “De Ruyck’s Organic Farm”.

Located near Swan Lake, Manitoba, the farm comprises a total of some 1,300 acres. It all began 46 years ago, when Gerry and his wife Marie, started farming on the land which was located near Gerry’s parents.

Today the responsibility for looking after the farm is shared among the family members. Some 500 acres of organic fields are farmed by Gerry and Marie. There are wheat, oats and buckwheat fields.

Additionally, 60 acres are dedicated to growing organic sunflower seeds. Each acre supports 60,000 sunflower plants. It is these special black seeds which are sold to Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen, a division of Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company. The seeds are cold pressed, and made into sunflower oil. It‘s bottled and sold, and also used onsite in the bakeries and kitchen.

De Ruyck’s son, Dan, and his wife, Fran, look after the other 500 acres of the farm. There’s crop and pasture land, grass fed beef and gardens which feature unique produce such as different coloured carrots - white, yellow, orange and purple.

As the sun begins to go down, everyone gathers around the two large tables that have been brought together - and extend between the kitchen and the living room. It’s a pot luck - featuring bowls and platters brimming with what the De Ruyck’s do - organic produce. The grandchildren help out. Ten month old great granddaughter, Chelsey chortles, and bangs her spoon. There is home made ice cream for dessert.

The only family missing from the table is Gerry and Marie’s daughter, Jackie, and her husband, Roger, who live near Winnipeg.

On a room divider cupboard there is a framed certificate. It reads, “The Manitoba Food Charter recognizes The De Ruycks as a Rural Community Food Champion for your work toward a more just and sustainable food system in Manitoba. Presented on Thursday, October 16, 2008 World Food Day, at the Gold Carrot Awards at the Manitoba Legislature.”

When asked how it was that they received the award, Marie replied, “We were nominated by the customers.”

After a wonderful day connecting with those who produce the organic grains and organic goodness that is Tall Grass Prariie Bread Company and Grass Roots Prairie Kitchen, the caravan of two vehicles headed back on the road home, under an evening sky.

All photographs © 2009 Brian Hydesmith

updated May 2018

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