As many Ottawans begin to turn their heads to getting back to the grind, Almanac Grain is already there: bringing back old-school grain milling to the city.
Owner Gabrielle Prud’homme has long believed flour could be so much more than the mass-produced white dust we commonly see it as.
“There was a time not that long ago where every community had a local mill.”
“There was a time not that long ago where every community had a local mill and going to get fresh-milled heritage flour was the norm,” says Prud’homme. “Our goal is to bring that back to the community. To bring back the value and the connection we used to have to our flour and bread.”
The mill and bakery began as a partnership with farmers Chris and Mary Woodingown of Ironwood Organics. Prud’homme started selling heritage grain flour at local farmers markets in 2019. Fast forward two years, two children and a pandemic and she is launching a brick and mortar space for the bakery and urban mill located in Ottawa’s east-end Beacon Hill neighborhood.
“Our vision is to source heritage grain as locally as possible to help support a shorter supply chain.”
With sourdough bread being all the rage this past year, it’s a great opportunity to engage amateur bakers around the importance of local ingredients. “Sourdough used to just be how people made bread,” explains Prud’homme. “It’s only since the industrial bread revolution and conventional bread that people have turned away from it. Am I happy that it’s all of a sudden become this huge trend during COVID? Absolutely. The more people trying out sourdough and home bread baking the better!”
These artisanal grains create a more nutrient-rich and flavourful product. With flour as the foundation for so many baked goods, its importance cannot be overstated. Plus, the mill is looking to build off our local agricultural industry. “Our vision is to source heritage grain as locally as possible to help support a shorter supply chain,” says Prud’homme.
Almanac has its own online store and, now that the weather is warmer, will be selling baked goods from a tent in the Dominion City Brewing Co. parking lot on Saturdays. This long weekend, selections will include sourdough hot cross buns for Easter. Because nothing compliments carbs like carbs!
Local restaurants and shops are also supporters. Farinella uses their Spelt flour in their dough and you can also find bags of our flour for sale at some small businesses including Burrow Shop, Farmscore, Around the Block Butcher Shop, Bread by Us, and Red Door Provisions.
Finally you can enjoy their baked goods Thursday/Friday/Saturday with pickup at the Dominion City drive-thru window. Spend that dough, get that bread here.