ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Where can I buy a sack of wheat directly?

Posted May 12, 2006

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our NewFarm.org readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

I know it sounds strange, but I want to know a farm, even a small one, that I can pass by with my car, stop and buy a sack or two of wheat.

We live in Long Island, New York, and often travel around; for example, last weekend we visited Longwood Gardens. It was great.

Anyway, for our next-month trip I would like to take my family to anyplace in the state of Pennsylvania and just want to know if you know of any farm that I can just stop my car, go in say “hi,” take a few bills out and carry a sack of wheat into my car. The reason is that I feel that if I put a small quantity of seeds in my blender, I am getting the best whole-wheat flour money can buy.

Thank you very much,
Manny Zohar
New York


Dear Manny,

Much of this will depend on the time of year. Most wheat growers in the state of Pennsylvania grow wheat that is harvested in mid-July. Most conventional farmers will sell their wheat straight from the field to a broker or elevator. In other words, they don't keep it at their farm. Most organic farmers will have some grain storage on their farm, since their product must be kept separate from conventionally grow crops. As such, they may have some on hand to sell you by the sack.

You are right in saying that this is the best way to get wholesome grains (though you will have better luck with a food mill or a mill attachment on a food processor than with a blender). I would suggest you locate an organic grain farmer through The New Farm Locator or through www.paorganic.org. In fact, if you stop by here in mid July or August we'd be glad to sell you some ourselves. (Click here for directions.)

Jeff