August 4, 2023by melissa

As we dive into the second half of the summer we would like to share some valuable insights about pests and how you can safeguard your precious flour and grains from these pesky creatures. We take immense pride in our commitment to providing you with the finest quality products, and we believe it’s crucial to arm you with the knowledge you need to preserve your baking essentials during this warm and pest-prone time of the year.

Battling Summer Pests: The summer months bring not only joy and warmth but also unwelcome pests into our homes. Flour beetles, weevils, and moths are particularly notorious for infesting grains and flour, posing a serious threat to their freshness and taste. As a small flour mill, we understand the importance of protecting your ingredients from these unwanted visitors to ensure the deliciousness of your culinary creations.

The Freezing Solution: We have some fantastic news for all the home bakers and cooking enthusiasts out there! One simple and effective way to keep those pesky pests at bay is by employing your freezer. Yes, you heard that right! By placing your flour or grains in the freezer for a couple of days, you can eradicate any eggs or larvae that might make their way from the outside world in! This easy and natural method ensures that you have pest-free ingredients to work with, maintaining the integrity of your baked goods.

How Freezing Works: The process is straightforward; transfer your flour or grains into airtight containers or sealed plastic bags, if you have a smelly freezer, or directly into the freezer with the paper bags. The cold temperatures will halt the life cycle of any roaming pests, effectively stopping them in their tracks. Once the freezing time is up, remove the containers or bags from the freezer, allow them to reach room temperature, and voila! Your ingredients are safe, sound, and ready to be transformed into scrumptious delights.

The Quality Assurance: By adopting this freezing practice during the summer, you’re not only ensuring the highest quality of your baked goods but also preventing anyone else from munching on your grains or flours.

Embrace Summer Baking: Armed with the knowledge to combat summer pests, there’s no reason not to embrace the joy of summer baking! Whether you’re whipping up loaves of bread, crafting delectable pastries, or experimenting with new recipes, rest assured that your ingredients are safeguarded, thanks to the wonders of freezing.

As the summer sun graces us with its warmth, we hope you find this helpful in preserving the quality of your flour and grains. Stay tuned for more tips and updates from 1847 Stone Milling, as we continue our mission to provide you with the best baking experience possible.

Happy baking and have a wonderful summer!


December 11, 2022by melissa

Winter is an important season for Ontario farmland, especially when it comes to soil health.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Winter helps to improve soil structure. When the ground is frozen, it allows the soil to settle and compact, which can help to improve its structure and make it more fertile. This is especially important for crops like wheat, which need well-structured soil in order to grow and thrive.
  2. Winter provides a break from farming activities. During the winter months, farmers can take a break from the busy planting and harvesting seasons, which allows them to rest and recharge. This is important for maintaining their mental and physical health, as well as the health of their crops.
  3. Winter helps to control pests and diseases. Many pests and diseases that can harm crops are less active during the colder months, which can help to reduce their impact on the farmland. This is especially important for wheat, which is prone to infestations of pests and diseases.
  4. Winter helps to conserve moisture in the soil. Snow and freezing temperatures can help to conserve moisture in the soil, which is important for ensuring that crops have enough water to grow. This is particularly important for wheat, which needs a consistent supply of moisture in order to produce a good yield.

Overall, winter is an important season for Ontario farmland, and plays a vital role in supporting the health of crops like wheat. By taking advantage of the unique conditions that winter offers, farmers can help to ensure that their crops are healthy and productive.


September 9, 2022by melissa

We have been keeping a little secret at our farm. Last year we started our journey in apiculture! We had a harsh winter and lost our hives to the varroa mite. This spring, we started over with two different types of bees, hoping the genetic diversity would improve our overwintering numbers.

Each weekend we check our hives for freshly laid eggs, swarm cells ( baby queens cells) and general health. Not only is it exhilarating to work with the bees it also makes you slow down and become very deliberate with each action. It is brain training with sting therapy. 😉

Another first for us was using a flow hive! We love it. The honey it produced was so clear and delicious. The children loved getting involved, especially with the harvest. I think there was more honey on fingers than in jars! Next year we hope to expand our colonies little by little and maybe one day have enough honey to accompany our grains and flours.


October 4, 2021by melissa

During fall, we often cover up with warm sweaters and blankets to shelter from the elements. While our fields deserve to be cozy over the winter as well and so farmers are planting cover crops now that their primary crops have been harvested. Cover crops have been used for centuries in agriculture, but their benefit to topsoil health has only recently been studied in depth. All cover crops can aid in increasing the organic matter in the soil and are often referred to as “Green Manure”. Many times the cover crops grow over the fall and the following spring the crops are tilled under without being harvested. This increases organic content and soil fertility. Along with the benefit of soil health, the carbon that is drawn from the atmosphere is in the form of carbon dioxide which we know is a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.

Different cover crops serve different purposes.  Cover crops of grasses are used when soil erosion is a concern. Typical grass cover crops include rye, oats, barley and wheat. The fast growing root system traps and holds soil in place preventing it from being eroded through wind or water typically caused by the spring thaw.

Legume cover crops such as clover and alfalfa capture nitrogen in the air and sequester it in the soil. This can offset chemical fertilizer in conventional farming and gives a boost to organic farmers where nitrogen is often a macro nutrient lacking in their fertilizer plan. The deep root structure of some legumes breaks up subsoil compaction which also helps crops like corn in subsequent years.

Non-legume broadleaf varieties include oilseeds and buckwheat varieties. These varieties work really well as a green manure and make many nutrients more bioavailable to the new crop being planted in the spring. While rare in Canadian farms due to climate, European farmers may even include flowering cover crops to support bees and migrating birds. That is an awfully nice bouquet of flowers as a gift to mother nature.


September 10, 2021by melissa

Bringing in the wheat!

As we mentioned in our last farm post, all the wheat is in! You may have heard in the news about wheat shortages in Western Canada due to poor growing conditions. Western Canada saw record-breaking droughts and many crops did not materialize throughout the growing season.

Ontario happened to have amazing growing conditions at the beginning of the summer. Lots of heat and rain! The conditions were so favourable the wheat became very plump ( lots of endosperm/ starch). The excess amount of endosperm made the proportion of protein much lower in the grain.   For example, hard red spring wheat typically has protein levels around 13% protein has fallen below 11%. When protein contents are low the grains cannot be used to make good quality bread flour. But you might ask yourself why does the protein not increase proportionally with the endosperm? Nitrogen in manure is the limiting reagent in the formation of protein in wheat. Farmers determine their nutrient loading rates ( amount of manure spread per acre) based on projected protein level and yield. Typically, the yields are fairly consistent year to year for crops. Farmers add enough nutrients to target the desired level based on the specific variety of grain and data from previous growing seasons. Adding too many nutrients can cause eutrophication of the water through runoff and frankly are a waste of valuable resources, which no farmer ever wants to do.  So most farmers are very particular about determining the appropriate nutrient load rates of the field based on the crop and average yield.   In short, most farmers did not spread enough nitrogen to compensate for unanticipated extra grain growth.

Fortunately here at 1847 we have been busy since the harvest sourcing a variety of high quality organic wheat from our local farmers around Ontario. We have already sourced both the rarer high protein level wheat for the bread flour and the more abundant moderate protein content wheat for the all-purpose flours and they are safely stored in our grain bins. This guarantees that the remainder of 2021 and well into 2022 you will have access to great flour that makes you proud to bake.


July 30, 2021by melissa
It is time!

The wheat has ripened in Southwestern Ontario and farmers are beginning the harvest. The first harvest of wheat in 2021 would have been planted in the fall of 2020. Wheat planted in the fall is called winter wheat. They sprout after being planted and then they overwinter in the field under the snow. Winter wheat is often the very first crop to sprout in the springtime. Organic farmers like to plant winter wheat because they can outcompete weeds in the spring. Weed control is especially challenging for Organic farmers. They don’t have as many “tools in their toolbox” to combat weed pressure. Winter wheat does tend to have lower protein so they tend not to be as desirable for our bread bakers and is the dominant grain in our cake and pastry flours.

Spring wheat tends to ripen a couple of weeks after winter wheat.  They are planted in the spring and have to compete against weeds when sprouting. Spring wheat typically has a higher protein level. This is what we are looking for in a great bread flour!

Some rye cereals have also ripened and are ready to be harvested. Rye can be planted in the spring or the fall.  Organic farmers also like to plant rye as they are very competitive and they are great for weed control to new organic fields. Rye can also be planted as a cover crop which will not yield any grain, however will inject nutrients and carbon into the soil. Something never to be overlooked is healthy soil. Healthy soil grows flavourful grains!

1847 stone milling wheat


May 27, 2021by melissa

Spring is in the air, the birds are chirping, the ground is thawing and the rural roads are a mess! Throughout most of the year, gravel roads (or dirt roads by slang) make for an enjoyable drive. However, early in the spring, when the frost begins to melt, they end up looking more like a mud bowl and less like a road every day. The condition of the road can become so bad, that the Ministry of Transportation can close the road and annually imposes half-load season restrictions. During this period from roughly March to mid-July, the road access is limited to certain weight classes of vehicles. In particular, construction vehicles like delivery trucks, cement trucks and dump trucks famously carry half-full trailers of their cargo to avoid becoming overweight.  The restrictions are put in place to protect the roads and their foundation which can become damaged by uneven loads while the frost thaws from the road bed. Farmers can normally avoid being on the roads with heavy equipment during the worst of the period since their fields are equally wet and impassable.

While the condition of the road can cause excessive wear and tear to vehicles, the road condition recovers fairly quickly. The frost normally melts in early May and the road bed dries up and returns to an enjoyable condition. Tractors can get back on the roads and start readying the fields and seeding their crops in advance of the summer. In the meantime, if you notice any courier trucks a little muddier than normal this time of year, it probably means they have some fresh flour onboard and just braved the dirt roads of Southern Ontario to keep food moving from our farm to your table.


March 26, 2021by melissa

This month we celebrate Women in agriculture! Women have always played a crucial role in farming and with more machinery used on the farm, physical strength does not define a great farmer.  Women made a lot of progress in the 1940’s, taking over a large share of the farm work when many men went to war. Upon the return of soldiers after the war, there was a reversal to the “old” gender roles in farming until the 1980’s when women began to reclaim their position on the farm. Normally I try to write about general farm practices but today I will break it down and use my own experience as a woman in agriculture and the experience of my female friends and neighbours – all of us whom are 30-40 years old.

I don’t know if I grew up sheltered or completely unsheltered, but If there was work on the farm to be done everyone had to help. It didn’t matter if you were a son or a daughter.  Driving tractors, doing field work, helping with the animals or chopping fire wood. There were no gender roles when it came to work on our farm. I really had no idea gender roles were “a thing” on the farm until I reached University. I watched my Grandma work in the barn lifting 50 pound hay bales while my Grandpa loaded the hay elevator below. That Grandma continues to do field work and work in the barn, she is 84 years old! Impressive lady, but certainly not alone in her work ethic. Women like her were a role model to many of today’s generation of women in agriculture. Many of my friends have grown up the same way and taking over the family farm operations and doing a fantastic job I might add.

It is great to say that 29% of all farms are owned and operated by women. Jumping 12% in 10 years (from 2006 to 2016)! We have to thank the generation before us that began to really break down those gender roles. Today people tend to dwell on the negatives, what we don’t have, I like to look at what has been achieved and what is on the horizon ahead of us for the great Women in Agriculture!


February 18, 2021by melissa
A favourite pastime in the country is to go snowmobiling. This year has been an exceptional season for southern Ontario trails. Trails are run in Ontario predominantly by OFSC .  They depend on local farmers and rural land owners to volunteer strips of land for the trails to run.  The snowmobiles do cause compaction and other setbacks in the fields but that is something farmers are willing to deal with in the spring so people can get out on the trails and enjoy parts of rural Ontario.

Amazingly through the support of farmers in Ontario there is a trail network that spans more than 30,000km. For respect to the land owners, the trails are clearly marked and riders are asked to stay on the marked trails. Some fields have crops that are more sensitive to snowmobile traffic such as winter wheat. These varieties of wheat are planted in the fall and the young seedling lays dormant over the winter.  Traffic on this crop can cause it to die off. So sticking to the posted trails is very important.

We hope to see you on the trails but remember to practice your snowcial distancing.


January 25, 2021by melissa

In this month’s update, we have finally brought in our last field of corn. Better late then never! The corn, or any grain, is harvested from the field and travels by gravity wagons or tractor trailers from the field to the grain elevator. There are several different elevators dotted across the country side. Many of them are still family owned and operated. Like the farmers they serve they often work very long hours during harvest seasons.

When the grain arrives to the grain elevator, samples are taken while unloading.  All grain is graded by quality. Better grain earns higher prices. The elevators look for how “clean” the grain is. They are looking to see how plump the grains are, the protein of the grain, the moisture content in the grains and most importantly to see if the grains have biological contaminants ( Fusarium or DON ).  All of these are analyzed and the load is given a grade… just like at school.