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what we make
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Grass Prairie Bread Company
is committed to . . .
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
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.
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!
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.
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
Check out the Google Map below showing some of the
farmers who grow for us:
St. Anne, MB
- apple cider
- VITA eggs
- pasta (using local eggs and flour)
- a wide variety of organic grains and seeds
- wild rice, when available
- organic prairie bison
Organic Food Council of Manitoba
Ruyck's Organic Farms
Swan Lake, MB
- buckwheat, flax, oats
- sunflower seeds
- seasonal fruits and vegetables
- a wide variety of vegetables
Ste. Anne, MB
- lettuce mix
- wild rice (near Dauphin)
Throughout the province
- high bush cranberries
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
was late morning, on one of the sunniest days of the
summer, when we turned right up the lane at Six Sprouts
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.
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.
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
next year, their wheat farmer left, and Tabitha gave us a
call, we chatted, and started supplying them with wheat.”
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
was just after noon, as the Tall Grass tour reached
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
After sharing a picnic with this hard-working farm
couple, the caravan
turned south east as the sunny day's shadows grew
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.
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.
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.
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
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
only family missing from the table is Gerry and Marie’s
daughter, Jackie, and her husband, Roger, who live near
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
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