Our Kansas wheat tour

In June 2009, eleven members of the King Arthur Flour sales and marketing team met in Kansas for a week-long, 1000+ mile journey across the state – from Kansas City to Denver. Our objective was to meet in person the folks who grow and mill the wheat that becomes King Arthur Flour. Several people on our team already knew many of the farmers and millers and possessed an in-depth knowledge of wheat, milling and baking. Yet it was still very important for us to meet them as a team and to show our appreciation for the work they do. I had a secondary objective: to shoot some video that would allow us to share the experience with you, our customers.

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These relationships are important enough for all of us to take an entire week out of our busy schedules. Believe me, we certainly weren’t in it for the 100°F heat we were expecting!We arrived in Kansas City on a sunny Monday afternoon from all corners of the country. We flew in from Florida and Utah; from Portland, ME and Portland, OR. Others came from New York, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Four of us flew in from New England.

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We assembled on a bus, a comfortable motor coach, together with our hosts for the week, Kent and Marcia. Their company, a farmer cooperative, makes up the Kansas network of farmers and millers who produce King Arthur Flour. (Wheat for our flour is grown and milled in other states, too – North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and others – but Kansas has the largest wheat harvest of them all). We could have spent another whole week in Kansas alone visiting farmers who grow wheat for us.

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Our home for a week. Do you know how hot it can get inside a bus in Kansas when you have to drive with the air conditioning off? The dirt roads were clogging up the air filter and we couldn’t use the A/C.Kent and Marcia had planned a very full itinerary that would have us crisscrossing the state of Kansas, meeting the growers and their families, visiting mills and grain elevators, and seeing acres and acres of wheat fields – from the vantage point of not only our tour bus but from the seats of combines and tractors as well.

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Here’s sales & marketing analyst Amy Roy in a John Deere.

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And Sam Sweet, northeast regional sales manager… I hope they took the keys out of the ignition before letting him in there! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we were turned loose on the fields of Kansas, we needed an in-depth education in wheat.Our first stop was at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. This school in “The Little Apple” boasts the country’s premier grain and milling science program. At Kansas State we used equipment in a milling classroom to grind wheat berries into flour.

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We used a laboratory approach to approximate the steps that occur in a commercial mill, carefully separating the various parts of the grain with the aim of producing a fine, white unbleached flour. Most instructive for us in this exercise was learning about all the different output streams in the milling process. To obtain the very purest, whitest flour (without bleach), you cannot use all the streams.

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Here are the various streams separated into bins.To produce our all-purpose and bread flour, King Arthur is very selective in capturing only those streams that have the best baking properties – the whitest “heart” of the wheat berry.Other parts of the stream are sold to other flour companies or used in animal feed. They just don’t possess the qualities necessary to be called “King Arthur Flour.” What this means is it takes more wheat berries pound for pound to produce King Arthur Flour than most other flours.Of course none of that applies to our whole wheat flour, which is ground from the entire wheat berry. Our whole wheat excels because we grind it finer and, as with all our flours, we start with a superior quality grain (a higher protein and lower moisture content).

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It was also fun looking at many different varieties of flour you get from various grains.

We also got a thorough tour of KSU’s state of the art working production mill. Here students get an authentic mill experience before going to work in the industry. The place was spotless and almost brand spanking new.

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Our guide, Chris Miller (above), told Tod Bramble of our bakery/foodservice team that he had studied Tod’s KSU thesis as part of his own studies as a graduate student. We hadn’t seen Tod blush before.

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Our next stop was the baking labs at KSU, run by former KAFer Dave Krishock. We got to shape some dough pieces and make our own graham crackers. Yum!

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Here’s Dave (on the right) with Michael Bittel, KAF’s senior VP and general manager for flour.The harvest generally rolls northward from Texas as the standing wheat dries out in the heat of the sun. Our plan after Kansas State was to “chase the combines” in search of wheat harvest. Our hosts had a good idea where harvest should be. But weather is unpredictable and we had to be prepared for last minute changes to our itinerary. Rain or cool weather could delay harvest in one place; hot, dry weather could speed it up in another.

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Finally, Wednesday afternoon we got out into the fields. From Manhattan we traveled to the first farm on our tour. The temperature had already reached 100°F. The harvest in Kansas was underway.What follows are some photos we took at different locations throughout the state that illustrate the wheat harvest (though not necessarily all on one farm or in chronological sequence). We learned something new at each farm, experienced different parts of the process, and witnessed varied practices of soil conservation and water management.

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It is important that the wheat be harvested when it reaches ideal dryness, which typically happens by late morning or mid-day. Then it’s a race against the clock to harvest as much of the field as possible before sundown.

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You can check the wheat’s moisture by biting a few grains (the unscientific, artful method) or more likely by running a scientific moisture test. Western region sales manager Mark Roberts, is attempting to determine whether this grain is ready. Or maybe he was just feeling a little nibbly.

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Some of the fancier harvesting machinery has built in moisture detectors so the operator can continuously monitor the moisture level of the grain as it is being harvested. The grain elevator co-op, which buys the grain from the producer, does not want to pay for moisture (water) because 1) it inflates the weight of the load and 2) a higher moisture content decreases the storage life of the grain.

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The grain elevator will run its own moisture content analysis when the load is brought in; a number of other factors including protein content, variety of wheat, local yield and commodity board pricing play a role in determining the price the farmer will get for the grain.

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Here is our southern region sales manager, Duncan Giddens (left), and our director of flour sales, Peter Bouchard in the corner of a wheat field that had just been cleared. You can see the two combines and a grain trailer behind them.

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We were fascinated by the size of these monstrous machines and got a look inside the threshing mechanism – the part of the combine that separates the wheat from the chaff.

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We followed the grain back to the farm where it was moved by auger from the trailer into storage bins. In some cases the grain is trucked from the field directly to a nearby grain elevator.

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Take a look at the enormity of this grain elevator we passed along the way. Each one of those gigantic bins will be filled with grain. Now imagine one or more of these elevators in every community and you begin to feel the scale of the amount of wheat grown in Kansas.

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By now the temperature had topped out at 107°F. We were sweltering on that bus and relished any chance to get outside in the “cool” Kansas sun. Yet as a native Midwesterner, I quickly found myself feeling right at home in Kansas.

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Apparently so did Sam.

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Next it was on to some experimental wheat plots on Bill Mai’s farm in Sharon Springs. The Mais have lent a portion of their wheat field to Kansas State Extension for growing different wheat varieties in order to develop strains that are more disease or drought resistant, higher yielding, and any number of other favorable characteristics.

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Jeanne Falk, the local extension agent, came out to the plots with us. Here she’s explaining leaf rot.

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Another K-State researcher, Dr. Joe Martin, talked to us about the differences between the varieties growing in other test plots.

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Thankfully at this time there are no genetically-modified wheat strains in commercial use in the United States. With the help of research at Kansas State, our wheat producers are able to achieve great results without it. The only bioengineering in our current wheat supply has occurred through good old fashioned cross-breeding.

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Here’s Michael kneeling in the field with Bill Mai. Looks like an important conference. Or maybe they were hoping to scare up some pheasants.

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Jeanne also showed us how an entire clump of wheat (obviously not the technical term) grew from a single seed. Note me holding the video camera. You can see a clip of Jeanne’s demonstration in our video. The second of our two videos focuses on the milling process.

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Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of useable photographs from inside the mills (flour tends to coat the camera lenses). But I encourage you to spend a couple minutes watching this video to get a better understanding about how wheat becomes good King Arthur flour.

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While we learned a great deal of useful information about wheat growing, harvesting and milling on our trip, the best part about the whole week was meeting the people. Here is Michael with the Ayers family, father Charlie (right) and his daughter Kara (left). Standing beside Kara is Todd Siverson, who helps her run the farm.We were astounded by the respect these people had for the environment and the care they took in producing their grain. It gave me renewed appreciation for our conventional (non-organic) flour; the absence of an organic certification isn’t necessarily an indication that the producers of the grain are not great stewards of the land.I really can’t say enough good things about the integrity and passion these people have for what they do. I believe that the wheat farmers in Kansas, particularly the ones who are producing grain for King Arthur Flour, really understand that what they are doing is growing food for other people.A lot of grain in this country goes into commodity markets and becomes generic, run of the mill flour (I now understand where that phrase comes from). At the peak of harvest, when grain elevators are literally overflowing with grain, the wheat can pile up outside on the ground, unprotected. However this farmer cooperative was unique in that its members knew that the grain they produced would end up in bags marked “King Arthur Flour.” Because of that, they took the utmost care in its cultivation and handling. “Our King Arthur grain is never disrespected by being left on the ground,” John Tibbits, director of the cooperative, told us.

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And finally, this story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the food we ate. And ate. And ate. We were welcomed at the farms with literal feasts. Above you see the smokers that were brought in at the Haselhorst Farm in Gorham. We were treated to the tenderest fillets that night. Fortunately none of our vegetarians back in New England were traveling with us that week.

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As the sun set, the combines turned on their headlights and continued to bring in the grain well into the evening. Meanwhile we continued to eat.I hope you enjoyed seeing the highlights of our Kansas wheat tour. I’d really like to go back this June and get stories from the farmers themselves. If I do, I’ll be sure to share them with you all here.In closing I would like to thank all the fine folks in Kansas who welcomed us into their homes and businesses. While I couldn’t picture all of them here, I’d like to mention them by name. Thanks to the following farm families for your hospitality and for your extraordinary care in producing the grain that becomes King Arthur Flour: the Tibbits (Minneapolis), Kaufmans (McPherson), Bleumers (Wright), Griffiths (WaKeeney), Haselhorsts (Gorham), Suppes (Dighton), Ayers (Leoti), Mais (Sharon Springs), Sayles (actually in Siebert, Colorado but the Sayles are natives of Meriden, Kansas). And thanks to Shad Mehl for pausing his harvest to jump on the bus for a while to tell us his story. He’s an occupational therapist by training who went back to the family farm in order to raise his children there.Thanks also to the folks from the industry who gave us tours of their facilities and increased our knowledge of grain, milling and baking: Ken Embers (AIB), Joe Martin (KSU), Chris Miller (KSU), Dave Krishock (KSU), Jeanne Falk (KSU Extension), Dave Heavey (Homestead stone mill and elevator) and Reuhl Foote (Stafford County). And special thanks also to our hosts Kent Symns and Marcia Walters, who planned the itinerary, kept us on schedule and made sure we got from A to B to C…

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About

Tom Payne is the Director of Marketing for the King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, VT. Tom has nearly 10 years experience marketing in the baking industry and several years working as a baker himself.

comments

  1. Ancameni

    I am soo glad you enjoyed your stay in Manhattan and on Campus. You have received a wonderful tour through everything grain. K-state is , i believe, still the only college/university that offers a degree in Grain Science.
    Also, glad you have seen Kansas on a wonderful day.

    Our interest and partnership with all things flour, from wheat field to home kitchen, makes our work a labor of love. Together we celebrate that which is good in our world, an honest day’s work or a loaf of fresh baked bread. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  2. Sarah R

    As a native Kansan and a graduate of Kansas State, I was smiling my way through this post. It’s wonderful to know that farmers in my state are producing the best quality flour in the world!

    Indeed, Sarah. We love all our farmers, and the wheat they produce – which is indeed the very best in the world, in our eyes. Great partnership. PJH

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  3. nika

    OMG that looks like a HUGE road trip! 14 stops?! With feasts at each? I think I would have been exhausted after the first stop!

    thnx for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Sara Mc

    Wow! Thanks for that tour through Kansas! I’m a Kansas girl currently living in Uganda as a Peace Corps Volunteer and that look back at my home state was exactly what I needed today! Thanks for making my day :)

    - Sara

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  5. Anne

    After reading this post, I feel so good about buying King Arthur flour – it’s important to me to know where my food comes from. I especially love knowing that everyone in the chain of production – from the farmers to the final packagers – care so much about making good flour. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Deidra

    I love what you said about conventional growers still being good stewards of the land. Sometimes I think we get scared into thinking that unless it is organic, it can’t be good. Growing up in a farming community myself, and spending time in the Agriculture Science building on campus has reaffirmed that conventional can be good, too.

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  7. Brenda

    As a native Kansan (but a true blue KU Jayhawk!), I loved how you showed the connection between the farmers and the products you provide. These dedicated people provide our nation’s food and helping people relate to the origins of their table food is a very important function, not only for Community Supported Agriculture, but bringing focus to the who, what, and where of food! Thank you for making all of us proud, especially those of us whose families live and work in the State of Kansas. Every time I visit “home”, I am reminded of the work ethic and genuine good of the people who live there! Your products rock and now *I KNOW WHY*!!!

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  8. Pat B from MN

    Thank you so much for highlighting American grain! It is an incredibly basic and spiritually feeling to put a seed into the ground knowing that in a few months (and lots of labor and worry) you are one of the many people in agriculture who are helping to feed the world.

    I am not as familar with wheat harvest, so thank you so much for featuring this.

    PB (an American farm family)

    Pat, I’m glad you enjoyed it and learned something new. The grain for our signature flours is all US grown. ~Tom P

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  9. Amy

    I love King Arthur flour and won’t buy anything but KA. I won’t even bake if run out and can’t get King Arthur.

    from a NC girl — Yeah For Kansas!

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  10. Grace Cooper

    What an interesting story – the “art” of raising wheat in Kansas – which I am forwarding to friends.

    Reply
  11. Susie Young

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures of your tour in Kansas. I now live in kansas, but married to an OKlahoma man and we farmed and raised wheat for 25 years. I worked in a grain elevator for 18 years, so I know very well what the wheat farmers go through to get there grain to the elevator. About 4 weeks of hell worring about if they will get it to the elevator or not. I always said a farmer was a Christian 11 months out of the year and then it came harvest. A farmer works so hard to get there crop into the elevator. It is the worry of a farmer if they will even have a crop or not. A 5 minute hail storm can wipe a farmer out. It is good to let people know what a farmers go through to get there crop in and how to make to the flour they use for there bread and other products. Thank KAF for your story.

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  12. Judith

    Thanks for sharing this important ingredient of your recipes. My dad was a small grain farmer in NE South Dakota. Even though I moved away nearly 20 years ago, it is still a big part of who I am. This post was another reminder of why I feel connected to your company and its products.

    Judith, it was my pleasure to put together the videos and this post. We think the story behind our products is every bit as important as the product itself. And we feel connected to you, our customers, as much as you feel connected to us. That’s why we love getting out of Vermont and traveling around the country to see as many of you as possible! ~Tom P

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  13. Beth @ 990 Square

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip through Kansas wheat country. I’m a mid-Atlantic girl who doesn’t know the first thing about farming–if you ever need to know about crab pots, I could probably help you there!–and it was fascinating to see the process wheat goes through and the care the farmers take with it. Just another reason why KAF is the only thing I’ll bake with!

    Beth, I’m glad you enjoyed it. If I ever need a crab pot expert, I know where to turn! ~Tom P

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  14. Pat Gross

    I grew up in Western Kansas (Hays) and am pleased your team had an opportunity to experience the beauty of the big sky and the rolling fields of wheat, as well as the hospitality of the wonderful people who live there. I will continue to purchase King Arthur flour–now with thoughts of home!

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  15. BILL REYNOLDS

    THANK YOU, THIS IS TRULY A TRIBUTE TO THE MOST AMERICAN LOOKING AND ACTING GROUP I HAVE SEEN IN MANY YEARS.AS AN ARMY VETERAN I SALUTE ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE IN THIS ARTICLE.KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. BILL REYNOLDS MEDFORD, OREGON

    Thanks, Bill. That first photograph in my post, the one with the American flag atop the combine, just looked so iconic I had to lead with it. I thought it would set the right tone for the article. We saw that from the window of our bus and knew we had to get a picture of it. ~Tom P

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  16. Cynthia Ruble

    thank you for the sights of the wheat and all you experienced. It was so interesting. It just confirmed my decision to always use King Arthur.

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  17. Angie R

    I have been married to a fourth generation wheat farmer from Kansas now living in Baltimore. His great great grandparents up to his parents farmed wheat in Kansas and proud of the work they did. I have always loved KAF and now I love it even more. After seeing this video, it will be the only flour I buy. Fortunately, my local grocery store stocks it. Thanks for sharing the video. It makes me proud that you feel that it is important to you as well.

    Angie, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to read all the appreciative comments like yours. I’m so glad you enjoyed the video. ~Tom P

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  18. donna waterson

    Thanks for a great story about your flour and the state of Kansas where much is grown. I’m a Kansas native and a long time used of King Arthur Flour.
    For Christmas this year, instead of giving my granddaughters clothes, etc. I decided to give them a lesson in pie crust making and the tools to complete the task. Eash granddaughter received a wonderful cookbook, a french rolling pin, two special pie tins, a rolling cloth, King Arthur Flour and a copy of my long time used pie crust receipt, which of course is made with King Arthur! In my kitchen on Christmas day we had our lesson. My son-in-law (a doctor) also wanted into the lesson! I have wonderful photographes of the lesson and each granddaughter commented “this is the best present”!
    Sometimes small things turn into life long traditions. My granddaughters know, King Arthur flour is the only flour their grandma uses!
    Thanks for the great story on Kansas grown King Arthur Flour.
    Donna Waterson

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  19. florence hurter

    What a treat to study and view this Kansas What tour of and by King Arthur flour. We have been loyal customers of King Arthur for many years and now I think we will increase our consumption of many more of your products. All of your products are of the highest quality,only wish you (or we)were closer…we live in Chicago. Whenever we use them, we are not only pleased with the end product but so are the receivers!!

    Question: In conclusion, as I viewed part of the itinerary………..”from A to B to C”..where is C? As I look again, maybe it is hiding behind E………

    Thanks again, florence
    Thanks for your nice comments, Florence, we’re glad you and your receivers are happy with our flour. I agree, the C is hiding behind the E. Molly @ KAF

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  20. Suzy Metzler

    I am from Manhattan, Kansas, originally, and my father was a Professor of Agronomy (Soil Science) at Kansas State University from 1945 until 1985, when he passed away. I enjoyed your blog and the videos of King Arthur Flour’s visit to Kansas very much! I use King Arthur Flour here in my kitchen in Colorado all the time. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

    Reply
  21. Lyn Lnder

    I loved this article. I grew up in Hill City KS and now live in Pittsburg KS and my dad was a old time wheat farmer. I know the Griffith family near Wakeeney. I wish you could have visited the Hudson KS four mill in Stafford County. They make the most awesome cake flour and mixes. The elderly gentleman that runs the place is a hoot. He has worked there since he was 14 years old. If you don’t already know about them…please check them out. They are a small regional company and when I get to that area I have to stock up. Dillon’s (Kroger) carries a limited line of products.

    Keep up your good work and quality products! There is a bunch of Cookie Cutter Collector’s that follow you and love the magazine you send us. thanks again, lyn

    Lyn, we’re long-time fans of Hudson flours – their Hudson Cream was our first introduction to white whole wheat, nearly 20 years ago. I still remember the beautiful bag it came in… thanks, Cookie Cutter Collectors, for following us! PJH

    We did stop by Stafford County Mill in Hudson. While they don’t mill our flour, they do sometimes package our flour in sizes that we can’t handle elsewhere. If you watched the milling video I posted, you’ll see a grain truck getting weighed and a probe inserted into it. That bit of footage was shot at Stafford County. ~Tom P

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  22. Barbara Dale

    Thanks so much for a great Kansas wheat story. As a native of Kansas, now living in the Houston area, that was a summertime memory of the wheat harvest. Now I know one of the reasons I love King Arthur Flour……….good Kansas wheat.

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  23. Kevin

    After seeing this video it just reinforces why I use KAF the love that everyone involved in the making of KAF from the Kanas farmer to the people of KAF and everyone in between. I have ben using KAF for a long time I have used other flours and some are not bad” BUT” if you look at KAF when its in your canister you would swear it moves it has so much life to it. The feel of it is just beyond!!!
    King Arthur Flour the best there is the best there ever will be.

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  24. Jack Balog

    I really enjoyed this program. I am in Kansas and would love to have a copy of it to put in our local educational museum to show the local students and farmers what their hard work and time goes into making. Most of the small towns in Kansas do not have KAF in their stores for us to buy. These videos and the still pictures that go with it should be shown in all the schools in Kansas to give the students a great sense of pride in what they do.

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  25. Angela

    What an amazing post! I love seeing all the different varieties of wheat out there. The ones I’m familiar with in Texas seem to be a little taller but look at all the different colors and textures! Alas that my diet starts Monday. I’ll have to get in all my bread love this weekend.

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  26. Denise S.

    Wonderful tour of the wheatfields and mills. I saw a mill stone and am curious–is all your flour stone ground, or just a part? Any idea what the percentage might be?

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  27. John Farrell

    I just want to say thank you to all the Americian Farmers. In this day and age where even my Tony Lamma cowboy boots are made in China, thank you for what you do right here in the USA. God Bless all of the Farmers.
    John Farrell Stamford, Ct.

    Hear, hear John ~Tom P

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  28. Tim

    I tell everyone that asks me for my recipes; “Only use King Arthur Flour”; that is why you liked my cookies, bread, etc. the best. Thanks for making such a great product!

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  29. Chris

    Thank you for posting this story. Not only was it informative, but it has given me a renewed respect for the “KAF family.” It’s notable that corporate management truly walked the walk by traveling to meet its producers first hand. Talk about supply chain economics! Admirable work from field to flour…I’ll be baking this weekend!

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  30. Diana Foss

    Thank you for this great post. I love reading about where my food comes from, and it’s also great to read about a midwestern crop other than soybeans and corn!

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  31. Shirley Twining

    I was so interested in wheat that, when we moved here, I decided to grow a very small patch of it and then grind it up just to see what would happen. Here in Oregon where it rains a LOT? Needless to say, this plan didn’t work! I enjoyed this presentation about the very fine folks in Kansas and have a new appreciation for KAF flour. Also, is there anything more beautiful than the wheat fields with a light breeze rippling through the grain?

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  32. Char Rathman

    This was a very informational piece, well done, I find it ironic however to take notice that most of the marketing team was composed of men, while they are have a very responsible job, do you not have women who can add knowledge and value to such a team, other then the highly talented women who are shown doing the baking, testing, etc, in the kitchens of such a renowned product? I respect and enjoy using many of your products, and will continue doing so while learning all the techniques you have to offer.

    Char, the fact is, many of the women in our general marketing areas have families, and aren’t able to travel as easily as the men – that’s a simple fact of life. You did see Amy climbing into the John Deere – but there are many, many more of us marketing our good King Arthur products from here at the home base. We ALL have input into our King Arthur marketing efforts – that’s one of the joys of a team-based, employee-owned company, the lack of strict hierarchy. Actually, all but one of the men you saw were our flour salesmen – and yes, in the grocery trade, that does tend to be a male-dominated profession. Thanks for checking in- PJH

    I am that one man in the Kansas tour group who is not a salesman. Yet, excluding the guys who do web programming and design, I am the only man on our marketing team. I’ve been waiting for someone to ask, how come there aren’t more men on your marketing team, but no one ever does. :) ~Tom P.

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  33. Myrt Wallis

    I was so happy to learn that your wheat flour was NOT GMO.
    Can you supply non-GMO corn meal? It is hard to find.
    Our organic corn meal is non-GMO. To find it on our web site, click here. Molly @ KAF

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  34. Kate

    Thank you so much for sharing a portion of what my home state of Kansas is best known for. Although I don’t miss those blistering hot Kansas summers, I do appreciate all the hard work I know goes into flour production.

    Can you please tell me how I can discern by looking on the KAF bag which flours were milled in Kansas? Thanks again…and (sorry K-Staters): GO JAYHAWAKS (KU basketball is still a very big part of my life…even out-of-state!)
    I am sorry but you can not figure this out with any information on the bag. Joan @KAF

    Kate, while the bag does not indicate the state of origin for the wheat, I can tell you that if you’re using our white whole wheat or traditional red whole wheat flour, there’s a very good chance it came from Kansas. With other varieties it’s more difficult to say because some of it comes from the other wheat-growing regions I mentioned, too. ~Tom P.

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  35. Bonnie F

    Great job with the video and thanks for sharing. I especially like the emphasis shown on quality control–everything today does not need to be labeled “organic” to be a superior and healthier product!

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  36. Jean King

    This would make the basis of a really good presentation for school children, many of whom don’t even know bread comes from wheat (and other grains), let alone how that occurs. Consider cooperating with a non-profit group dedicated to educating kids about food and farms, please.
    We go all over the country teaching kids how to make bread. For more information click here . Molly @ KAF

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  37. Great-grandma B,

    A hearty “Thank you.” from a city girl for the very, very interesting video, pictures, and dialogue of your grain trip. The engineer in me would have liked a “how it’s done” schematic, from the cutting blades to the output spout into the grain truck, of the combine’s innerds. What a marvelous, monstrous machine . . . each must cost a king’s ransom (no pun intended). And I always thought the milling was done in Norwich.

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  38. Scott Long

    God Bless the American Farmer – Thank you for showing what us in the midwest have known for years, That without these hard working farmers our grocery stores would be empty -No Farms, No Food

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  39. Margaret Gloag

    I am Scottish and haven’t seen a field of ripe wheat for many, many years. I enjoyed this so much. The “new” ways of harvesting are stunning. I remember a machine cutting the wheat, then people following behind gathering, binding it into sheaves, then standing 4 or 5 of them leaning into each other to dry off. At least I suppose that’s what they were doing. They did seem to stand in the fields for a few days.

    I am just getting ready to make bread this afternoon, and now I know where the flour came from.

    Thank you.

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  40. Gael Hanlan

    What a thrill! Was born and raised in Kansas and come from a long line of farmers from my great grandparents on back. Have lived in Massachusetts for forty years and have been a King Arthur customer for most of that time. A couple of times a year we trek up to Vermont to your store to sample the goodies, check out new items and stock up on unusual items. We love the catalogues and the online shopping as well. This however is a real thrill to see. Reminds me of my girlhood. Thanks again.

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  41. Jeanette

    As a former farm girl (Indiana). I enjoyed this, I could almost smell the fresh straw. I do hope that you interview some of the farmers for your next video. Most farmers are very proud of what they do.

    I spent a lot of time as a kid riding with Mom in the truck going between the field and the grain elevator. Only air-conditioning was the open windows.

    The KS info was interesting. I would love to tour their facilities.

    Keep up the good work, -Jeanette

    Reply
  42. carol j

    As a former Kansan, whose family has depended upon wheat for generations – and still do, I really enjoyed this tour back through the state, and the farmers who live there. Thanks KAF!

    And as a present day Oregonian, I can tell Shirley that Oregon (even the wet part) is a great place to grow wheat, though we don’t grow the hard red type that King Arthur needs. There were over 89,000 acres of wheat grown in the Willamette Valley last year, with an average yield of 115 bushels per acre. That’s not close to Kansas production, but it is still a lot of wheat!! Try growing it again :-)

    Reply
  43. Annzie

    Thanks so much for making this video! It certainly gave me a greater appreciation of the art and science of growing wheat. Stewardship is my passion, and to hear it voiced here was very important to me. I’ve used King Arthur Flour for years; now I know why!

    Reply
  44. Chris

    This was a wonderful story. I went to school at Emporia State University and am currently a Family and Consumer Science teacher in PA. I have family in Kansas and eastern Colo. I can remember visiting my aunt and uncle in Eads, Colo during harvest time. It’s a lot of hard work but exciting to watch the combines as they work their way through the fields. I use KA flours at home and in the classroom. I hope to share this info with my Culinary students.

    Reply
  45. Tiffany McCullough

    Wow……thank you thank you thank you for the Kansas Wheat Tour. You must have been reading my mind because I was thinking very recently ….. just how does King Arthur mill it’s flour and where exactly does it come from. Been spending a lot of time in recent months learning exactly is in this “manufactured food” stuff and none of it sounds good. King Arthur Flour is the very best flour and is not brominated or bleached….horray for you guys. Love all your products and your blog and all your fabulous recipes. Keep up the very good work and give all those wheat farmers a hug from me all the way from Texas.

    Reply
  46. Phyllis Chatterton

    Sorry to tell you guys but your bus company did know what they were doing. My people homesteaded KS. I was born and raised there. My Dad grew and cut wheat for years. The dirt roads should not have bothered your bus and the AC. I have driven on dirt roads all my life with no problems. Oh yes, I am 73 and know about dirt roads. Next time be comfortable and get a bus company that isn’t afraid of dirt!
    I enjoyed your story and I love your company. Phyllis Chatterton originally from Pratt, KS, now in Fort Collins, CO.

    Reply
  47. Terry

    I loved touring with you. I love the Midwest and its people. Such hard working people, doing what they love so we all can have the best.

    Keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  48. Denise B

    I’m a recent convert to KAF, so it’s good to know you use wheat from here in the great state of Kansas. Go K-State!

    Reply
  49. Mike

    This was great, thanks for posting it. I always enjoyed factory tours, and this is probably the closest I will get to a mill. It was nice seeing how grain goes from the farms to the bag (and eventually to my kitchen). Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  50. D Miller

    Why doesn’t King Arthur sell wheat berries by the six gallon pails for people who choose to have a long term food storage? Or better yet sell flour in #10 cans which would have a shelf life of approximately 5-7 years if packaged properly. Signed Squirrel in Upstate NY
    We cater to home bakers who do not need these sizes. What you want is very specialized. Joan @KAF

    D, the type of packaging you are looking for isn’t compatible with our current production equipment. The demand for this package type (pails or cans) simply isn’t high enough to cover the expense of installing the equipment to do it. There are a lot of products and packaging types we would love to be able to provide, however we always have to make sure that there is a sizeable enough customer base to warrant new investments. Not to mention the costs involved in package design, advertising and promotion, distribution and inventory, etc. ~Tom P.

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  51. Robert Black

    Interesting. I’ve been making 3 -4 loaves of bread per week in bread machines for about 12 years now. I especially like the whole-wheat flour – it is simply the best I’ve ever used. KAF is always noticeably smoother, & produces higher-rising breads than generic bread flours. Even though I grew up in the eastern part of the mid-western farm belt, I did not grow up on a farm, and I didn’t know all the steps between field and bag of flour.

    Robert, I grew up in Illinois where there is much more corn and soybeans grown than wheat (although some soft wheat and a smidgen of hard red wheat is grown there). Growing up I had no idea all that was involved in turning wheat into bread (or cakes or cookies…). And there are far more steps than I could have covered in a short blog post. ~Tom P

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  52. Kim W

    Wow! This is a great post. I’m a native New Englander who earned an ag degree at Kansas State and continue to buy KAF exclusively for my home baking, which earned top honors at the Colorado State Fair one year when I decided to test my abilities. Enjoyed this so much!

    Reply
  53. Amy Waldron

    I love your company for the interest, energy and spirit you put into your products. Thank you so much for your piece on growing the wheat and the farmers who do it.

    Reply
  54. Rosemary Cook

    I love to bake and use KAF for my breads. I enjoyed your tour and appreciate knowing more about the grains I use.

    Rosemary

    Reply
  55. Loreida T.

    This was so wonderful to see. I love KAF and have always been so glad
    I could find it locally. What a tribute to those farmers who have such
    integrity in their product, and as somebody else wrote, how nice to be able to enjoy something from the USA.
    Good Stewardship was all over this article. You make me proud!

    Reply
  56. Clara Usrey

    I am so glad you recognize that most farmers (and ranchers) see themselves as stewards of the land. We have been a ranch family for most of my life and we have spent that time doing our best to take care of our land. Why don’t some of the environmentalists realize that farmers (and ranchers) were the first environmentalists? I use your products all the time and wish my local grocery store carried your full line of products. I buy what is available.

    Clara, it was evident to me that our farmers really do care a great deal about having land that will be fruitful for generations to come. Thanks for using our flours. I, too, wish more local grocery stores carried our full line of flours. You know the best way to get them into your store is to ask the store manager. We’ve even created a letter you can print out and take into the store with you. Look for it on our store locator page. Stores really try to listen to their customers; if you say you want a product, that goes a long way! ~Tom P

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  57. ellen

    By any chance did you get to stop at the Old Mill (Smoky Valley River Mill) in Lindsborg (outside Salina)? I see you stopped in the area but its not clear on the map. The old mill museum has a restored mill built in 1898. It was powered by the river for its early years and converted to electricity in the 1930′s. It has been fully restored and professional millers actually run it during the millfest the first weekend in May. (They run it without the grain. I’m not sure, but I think it is because they don’t have the safety mechanisms to keep flour dust out of the air. I think some workers actually developed “white lung” from all the dust in the air when it was a working mill. The dust was also highly combustable)

    Anyway, its very cool. I’ve not been able to be there for a millfest, but there are tours you can take year round. So if you didn’t get a chance to see it on this trip, I hope you get can include it the next time around.
    http://www.oldmillmuseum.org/mission.html
    It sounds like a great place! Thanks for letting us know about it. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  58. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - Brazil

    Here in Brazil we don´t have that varieties of wheat grains, specially those of high protein content. Most of our wheat flour is imported from Argentine.
    As i said in pasted posts, i hope KAF´s staff take a look at giant Brazil and make efforts to export the fantastic flours to my country. Nice to hear about this knowlege trip to Kansas wheat farms!!!

    Ricardo, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Unfortunately we aren’t exporting our flours to other countries. We will have to consider Brazil if/when we do begin to export. ~Tom P

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  59. Jim Reed

    Here I am in Kansas City, watching the Big 12 Basketball Tournament. Fired up my computer, saw a post from KAF and what do I see but this wonder article. I am a retired United Methodist pastor serving First UMC, Manhattan for 9 years. Was introduced to KAF by a friend (David is a District Court Judge). This last summer I journeyed to Vermont to take a wonderful course “The Magic of Wild Yeast.” Then to see that you have all come to my state, indeed to my town. Are not Kansas wheat farmers marvelous. Isn’t K-State the place. And visiting AIB. Anyway, as a pastor I’ve been to every town you’ve mentioned. Thanks for your wonderful work and I plan to continue baking…with KAF and Kansas wheat.

    Reply
  60. Helen Pierce

    I have been a faithful customer of yours for many years. Though I don’t order your products from the website, I have sometimes had to go out of my way to find a store where your flours are sold in my area. I love them, and won’t use any other brand. My breads & other baked goods are consistently excellent! Thanks for providing us with such great flour products. That is what one would expect from a caring, employee owned company. I’m so proud of you, and loved the homey, online presentation that your staff provided us with at Christmas time, and now this wonderful, lengthy, illustrated study on wheat! I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks to you and the farmers who grow it, for all of your hard work!!! Your KAF site is also great!! Helen

    Helen, I’m glad you enjoy the information we share with you here. And thanks for going out of your way to find our flour! I hope you’re finding it easier get these days. I wanted to share this story about the farmers so you could see where the grain comes from but I also wanted to be able to explain what makes our flour different and, we think, better. ~Tom P

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  61. Francine H

    What an informative article! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it and post the pics. Being raised in NYC I am not familiar AT ALL with wheat – how it grows, how it’s harvested, nor how it is milled. This was so interesting and something I would like to learn more about. Thanks to the farmers who dedicate their lives to feeding our country wholesome grains, the staple of our diets.

    Reply
  62. Marilyn Mason

    This is one of many reason I choose King Arthur flours for my baking. You did a fantastic job of sharing your continuing education not only of your employees but of us all. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  63. Wayne Hinkel

    I sincerely enjoyed the article and the video on Wheat Farming. Having lived in the rural areas of Wisconsin, I can appreciate the dedication that all farmers give to their product. I, too use KA flour all of the time and enjoy baking with it and the results .

    Reply
  64. Colleen T.

    This was a very good presentation. You have a Very Good product. My mother always used KAF as do I. Together that’s nearly a century of baking with KA. I wonder if KA does anything to create or sustain agriculture in Vermont or New England? I’m thinking of Borealis breads and flour from Maine. We need to keep the farms going throughout our country. Please know that this is not a complaint. KA is my flour with just an occasional foray into Borealis and Maine grown oats. I’m just concerned about keeping the farming way of life alive and growing in New England as well as in Kansas.
    We have been working on a Vermont grown flour but it doesn’t have the same properties as wheat grown in Kansas and there isn’t enough of it for commercial purposes. We also support locals farms and co-ops in our store, bakery, cafe and classes. Molly @ KAF

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  65. Lea Ann

    This post is near and dear to my heart. Our family farm is about 12 miles west of Hutchinson and primarily planted in Wheat. Although I now live in Denver, Wheat Harvest is still an exciting time for our family. I’m a big King Arthur fan and also our local Hudson flour products. Whenever I’m back in Hutch I grab a couple of sacks. Anyway, thanks so much for this fantastic accounting of my home state! Loved the photos and especially those green machines. Nothing Runs Like a Deere! :-)

    Thanks Lea Ann. I grew up in Illinois, where John Deere originated. I still remember a school field trip to the John Deere farm. I don’t want to start any feuds here, but a few of the machines we saw in Kansas were red…I tried to show a couple just to be fair. ~Tom P

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  66. C. Vandevender

    Thanks so my for your Kansas tour of the wheat fields. It is great to
    be reminded of places and people like this – the true backbone of
    America. Wouldn’t be without King Arthur flour!

    “Chatsey” in Texas

    Reply
  67. Marlene Iser

    You are hearing from a gal brought up in Chicago and Living in a near by Chicago suburb now. Your video was educational, entertaining and homespun. I would like to see you delvelop this into a video presentation for schools K through 12. It is not only informative and visual, but shows the dedication and true American spirit of the farmers, scientists and others involved in bringing good quality food to the American table.
    Thanks for sharing this effort with us.

    Reply
  68. Sean/ NJ test kitchen

    Thanks to all who participated (New England and Kansas) for bringing
    “The Team” into perspective and a big thanks to the farmers/KSU for still
    producing the best wheat possible …natrually

    Reply
  69. Bob Benson

    I am a native Kansan from Hutchinson. It’s to bad your tour didn’t go to Hutchinson. You would have seen a collection of grain storage elevators that is one of the largest in the world. Even back in the 40′s and 50′s , it was ranked that highly. I really enjoy your products. Thank you.

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  70. Noreen

    I am so glad that you mentioned the fact that GMO wheat is thankfully not used in the US. It is the one last bastien of wholesome goodness that we grow here in our country. I hope it stays that way. I have become quite interested in the GMO problem recently and even more so after watching the movie Food Inc. I hope that they never do to wheat what they have done to corn, soybeans and now they are trying to do to alfalfa. Your flour is the only thing I use in my kitchen and my husband never complains when he has to lug 20 pound boxes into the house when I order from your catalog, because he knows that without it, he doesn’t get the best bread I can bake every week. Thank you so much for what you do for all of us!

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  71. celia keel

    i enjoyed this so much. i am several years retired from the atsf railway with most of my career spent in hutchinson ks where we serviced the 2nd largest elevator in the usa among several other elevators in town plus on line between hutchinson and dodge city ks and other routes. at harvest time the big elevator would receive 120 jumbo covered hoppers before daylight to load with wheat and around 3 or 4 in the afternoon would release them loaded to us. we would bill them in one 120 car unit train which is a mile long mostly to the gulf for export. the switchmen would pull all the cars and build the train. at that time we walked the train to get a list of car numbers to have an accurate list of the train. the next day it would leave town. there were other cars being loaded to mills etc. so i have an idea how much grain is produced in my home state of ks. but i had no idea that kaf was mostly from ks wheat and am pleased to know it. i buy kaf from the bakers catalog. it is hard to find in my area.

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  72. Sue Hansen

    I am glad to see that none of KA wheat is genetically modified. I love to bake with organic, whole grains.
    One question: I assume the wheat, when ground in the high speed mills, is heated up to the point of enzymes being destroyed. Can you shed any light on this?

    Sue, I understand that the flour is heated to over 100 degrees when running through the mill. I’ll have to check on whether it’s hot enough to destroy enzymes and let you know. ~Tom P

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  73. Patricia Angus

    Thanks for taking us all to Kansas with you. I will look at my King Arthur Flour much differently from now on and I will think of the growers and grinders and packers as friends. Too bad a lot more people can’t see this.

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  74. Donetta Weaver

    This was an exciting video and tidbit for me to watch concerning King Arthur flour and the wheat fields of Kansas. I was born in Damar,Kansas..a few miles from Hays and lived there for the first 25 years of my life. When I was introduced to King Arthur flour here in Augusta,Georgia, but a friend from Wisconsin, I thought it was a little too expensive for my budget, but saw what a difference my friends’ breads were to mine..so much tastier and bigger…like my sisters in Kansas baked. I went from store to store here in Augusta, asking them to carry King Arthur flour..they did and I became a faithful convert to King Arthur flour and products for nearly 20 years now. At the moment, there are 2 breads in the rising stage in my kitchen. Best wishes to the King Arthur family throughout the world.
    –Donetta, Augusta,GA

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  75. Laureen Magyari

    Thank you for the videos, photos and explanations of your Kansas tour. I think it is extremely important to know where your products and our own food comes from.I am thankful no GMO wheat is out there yet, too. I have always enjoyed your products. However, when I turned to wild yeast (as in wild yeast sourdough starter) I found that your flours did not encourage wild yeasts to grow compared to Bob’s Red Mill , for example. (which is the other brand of organic flour available to me locally) Would that be because of the milling process? (too hot?) or the protein content? (too high?) If you know anything about why this would occur, I would be very interested to know. I would rather buy KAF, but I am committed to wild yeast breads as they predigest the wheat and reduce the wheat sensitivities people may have. They reduce the amount of phytic acid one takes in, which is healhtier. So , I have made do with other flours while I still purchase my other ingredients from KA. Also, will you ever offer a sprouted grain flour in the future?
    I’m not sure why the wild yeast sourdough doesn’t work as well for you with our flour, we’ve never researched it. However, our motto is that if something works for you – keep it up! I’ll put your sprouted wheat request on our customer wish list. Molly @ KAF

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  76. Fred Powledge

    How about a postscript explaining in greater detail the “output streams in the milling process”? Some of us who must go to some lengths to buy only KA flours might like to know a little more about why what we’re getting is the best there is. Definitions would help.
    Your report was quite interesting. I assume that dough can rise on that bus in, say, less than 5 minutes.
    Thanks for the suggestions on how we can help you better understand the products. Tom, here’s some ideas for your next blog! ~ MaryJane

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  77. Ruth

    Great article! Love your products. To the writer from Oregon – you must be a west-sider as there is a LOT of wheat grown right in your own state!

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  78. Richard Carlton

    I’ve used King Arthur flour for many years with great success. I’ve also visited the KA facility in Vermont and purchased many baking utensils from their catalog. This was a very interesting program; thank you!!

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  79. Marianna

    It is so important for us to know where our food comes from and to respect it and the people who spend their lives producing and providing it for our consumption. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the real world and work behind King Arthur flour! :)

    Marianna, you bet. That’s exactly how I felt and why I wanted to share this story with you. ~Tom P

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  80. Carolyn P.

    I so enjoyed your article about wheat farming. I grew up in Oklahoma, just south of the Kansas border, and having several Uncles and Aunts who were wheat farmers, I spent many summer days riding on the combines or wheat trucks. It’s hard to envision a harder working, more dedicated individual than the American farmer. When I was grown and moved out of state, an Uncle shipped me bags of his own (cleaned) wheat to grind into flour on my home mill. Now that his age prevents him from actively farming, I use King Arthur flour. Not the same as ‘wheat from home’, but the baking results are better and actually more consistent. Thanks so much for sharing your wheat-country experience with us. It makes me feel so much better about using purchased flour.

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  81. Debby

    Born and raised in Kansas and still living here, I was so thrilled to see this! I don’t think people realize how much work is involved in farming wheat. I use KA flour to bake my bread and will now smile even bigger every time i scoop some of it onto my scale!

    Hope you all enjoyed your trip to my GREAT state, and like my family has said for years….”You meet the NICEST people in Kansas!”

    Go K STATE!!

    Debby, we enjoyed every minute of it–especially the people! ~Tom P

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  82. Patricia Lindsay

    Thanks so much for letting your customers share in this very informative tour. It’s really great to know that your company puts so much time and effort into making a high quality product that we in turn can share with our family and friends. God bless our farmers who make this all possible.

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  83. Rosemary C

    Thank you so much for the wonderful article. Here in Silicon Valley our book of the year has been: IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, by Michael Pollon. He would have loved your “road trip”. Real food. I make all our bread and only use King Arthur flour. I am even happier to do that after reading the article and meeting those who grow our wheat. Very inspiring!

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  84. Sue E. Conrad

    Thank goodness for KAF…….one product that CAN’T be made in China!!! Watched “Morning Joe” this morning (and most mornings!), and one of the guests today was Donald Trump. Usually can’t stand him, but he made one statement that was right on – we make few if any products in this country and if we want to stop being the laughingstock for the rest of the world, we’d better change that quickly!!! Up until two or three years ago, there was a TV program entitled “Made in America” hosted by John Ratzenburg; sadly, I doubt if there are enough products these days that would qualify. Keep up the great work, KAF; you have a lifelong fan in Florida (via New England)!!!
    I LOVED Made in America and was so disappointed when it was discontinued. It gave me a great sense of pride to see the true artisans who produced so many beautiful and useful things right here in the US. ~ MaryJane

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  85. karen price

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! Bravo,KAF! This was a great post!!!! And, I want to work for you!!!!!

    Karen, I said the same thing before I worked here. ~Tom P

    Karen, we don’t have any openings at the moment, but bookmark our “jobs” page – we do hire regularly. I concur, GREAT place to work – I’ve been here going on 20 years and enjoy every day. PJH

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  86. Jim Poole

    Thank you for making the time and effort to share your wheat tour with us, your customers. In a time when so much stuff comes packaged from half way around the world, it’s great to see what American farmers and students are doing. Please extend my thanks to your entire staff, the farmers, and everyone else involved in bringing your products to market!

    Thank you, Jim. You just extended your thanks to them with your post! ~Tom P

    Reply
  87. Lynda G

    I was touched by your beautiful documentary. My family are wheat farmers from North Dakota. It is a daunting task to grow food for a nation. My hat is off to all the hard working farmers of this country.

    Believe it or not, the other day a gentleman was in the flour aisle of our local grocery. I had to excuse myself to reach around him to get a bag of KAF. He turned to me and said “I notice you went right for the KAF. I’m new at breadbaking, can you tell me why you would take KAF over all these others?” By the end of my five minute explanation about KAF being employee-owned, the wheat being grown in the midwest, the best parts of the wheat being used, etc. etc. I noticed, he too, put a bag of KAF in his cart.

    Keep up the great work, KAF Team!
    Lynda

    Lynda, thanks for making my job so much easier! I know a lot of you great fans out there spread the word about KAF every day. I’m so glad you find inspiration in what we do because you also inspire us. ~Tom P

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  88. V

    I love KAF, I buy it at my local grocery, and the Warehouse store I go to carries the 10lb bags of the gp flour! wooo! If I can’t find what I want I order on-line direct from KAF. I love stories like this. I come from a line of PA farmers, we still butcher our own hogs. I appreciate the commitment to excellence of KAF and the farmers who grow the grains!

    Reply
  89. Emilia Prosser

    This is wonderful. This information has finally convinced my boyfriend that the flour I use to bake with is better than the other brands (even though he has tasted the difference). He is a native to Kansas and a K-State alum and really appreciates the connection you have made between the farmers and the flour. It only solidifies my habit of using only KA flour. Go Wildcats!

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  90. Diane H-R

    Thank you so much for the great information about Kansas wheat. I was born and raised in Kansas and absolutely love Kansas wheat fields that seem to go on forever. I graduated from KSU with an ag degree and my brother works at Stafford County Flour mills. I enjoy KAF products and use Hudson Cream flour also.
    Thanks again for reminders of home.

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  91. Bonnie

    Thanks for the behind-the-scenes tour that confirms KAF produces the best flour because of the dedication of the KAF employees and the farmers upon whom we depend. Hats off to the unsung heroes of our food supply! I always brag about KAF flours to my friends and the farmers are now on my brag list. Thanks for giving me a fuller appreciation of the process and product!

    Reply
  92. Lee

    It is gratifying to read about your concern and relief that there is no genetically modified wheat being grown for commercial use in the US. I am pleased to support King Arthur Flour knowing you uphold the same values as I do. I hope KAF continues to support these farmers who value the safety of the land and our food supply!
    thanks for a great virtual tour!

    Reply
  93. Wendy Nelson-Noll

    I only buy and only eat King Arthur Flour products. Quality, natural, something you can’t always find any more. I bake my own bread and bake all my own pastries cakes and pies. I only use King Arthur. Now I will be making my own pasta something new for me. Thank you

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  94. Dawn Lawson

    What an awesome read!! I have been baking with King Arthur for about a year now and will not use anything else. I am in the process of opening my Dessert & Sandwich Shoppe and will only be using KAF. I baked 5100 snickerdoodle cookies for an event in December and had 150 pounds of KAF shipped to me. I was amazed at the quality and the shipping costs were very reasonable. I have ordered more flour since then and am excited to continue to grow my business with an outstanding company like King Arthur!!

    It is very important to me to know where my food comes from, not only for my family, but for my customers. Thanks King Arthur!
    Thank YOU Dawn! We appreciate your business and your faith in our company. We wish you all success in your business venture. ~ MaryJane

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  95. Betty Smith Parker

    I grew up in Stafford County Kansas. My father was a wheat farmer for many years on a small farm. We lived about 20 miles from Hudson. My mother always bought Hudson Cream Flour. She made home made bread twice a week, 4-5 loaves, for our big family. It’s nice to know that KAF uses Kansas wheat. I have not lived in KS for 50 years but go back every year to see family there.

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  96. Ritu Bhatia

    I am a cake baking enthusiast in India who has subscribed to the KAF newsletter. Going through your article has been very interesting experience. It gives a feel of our being in Kansas farms all throughout your tour. Hope I could visit KAF some day !!
    We’d love to see you! Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  97. PJ and LB Ellingson

    What a great post about Kansas, K-State and our wonderful, hardworking farmers. As a lifelong resident of Kansas, and owner of a small acreage of wheatland in the far southern part of the state, I appreciate the quality of KAF even more knowing that our state supplies a large part of your raw material. My husband graduated from AIB at K-State and was a baker for over 30 years. He is the one that introduced me to KAF. Now if I could just get my local grocers to carry your superior products (Recently, they seem to have decided that quality should be replaced with mediocrity for the sake of profit.) Thank you for showing the “breadbasket of the world” to your family of faithful consumers.

    I have a few certificates from AIB myself. I learned a lot about baking in their courses. Please let your grocers know that you value quality above all else. We keep trying to tell them… ~Tom P

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  98. al panza milan ohio

    what a great trip you had thanks for sharing it with us. as a diabetic being able to sub wheat flour in many recipes helps a great deal. i like the smooth texture i get from your flour, keep up the good work and thanks for appreciating our farmers, they are the back bone of this country.

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  99. Lucia Furry

    What a wonderful trip you all have had! Coming from a family of sixteen, my mother baked a lot of bread in her years and she only used King Arthur Flour. She prided herself on her “Italian” bread and believe me in was delicious! I finally have found it in my local grocery store after many years and now teach a class at my church on how to make “Italian” bread. Guess what flour I insist on them bringing?
    Bless your company and Bless King Arthur Flour.

    Thank you so much, Lucia – your mom must have baked thousands of loaves in her day! ON behalf of all of my fellow employee-owners (167 total), we thank you for using our good King Arthur Flour. PJH

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  100. nora

    LOVED your grain documentary. I buy exclusively King Aurthur flour for many years now for my bread making. Use to make it all by hand but I am too old now to do the kneading, so have a fancy little bread machine, in which your flour produces some lovely loaves. THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT AND OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY…AMERICA.

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  101. Tracy

    Thank you so much for this! I am intrigued to learn even more!
    I recently discovered KAF and was impressed by the difference it made in my baked goods (especially the whole wheat flour). I am a convert, and this post solidified my decision. Quality!

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  102. Wendy Stein

    Love your flour and recipes, but this is the first time I have visited the blog, and I congratulate you on a brilliant and moving post, so full of engaging and informative material, delivered with heart, like all your great products. Wonderful to have a sense of the farmers who respect their own work and give us all the means to make our own fabulous home-made loaves! I have recently begun a very different sort of blog, writing about a beautiful manuscript created in 1405 for a duke in France – I am writing it for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city, miles from Kansas! come visit me at the Art of Illumination at the Met’s website, metmuseum.org. or to go directly to the blog, use
    http://blog.metmuseum.org/artofillumination/2010/03/10/calendar-pages/.
    Thanks again for your great work!
    Wendy

    Wendy, welcome to our blog; I’m glad you enjoyed your first visit. I’m so fortunate that my work takes me to places as diverse as Manhattan, Kansas and Manhattan, NY. ~Tom P

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  103. Cheryl Tobias

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. After seeing this video and being a very picky consumer, it just confirms why King Arthur flours are the only ones I choose to use. If you want the best results, you need to use the best products. Not only your flours, but all your products have proven to result in better tasting items. And most important, eating them results in better nutrition in your diet. Thanks again for sharing this video with us and please continue to produce your fabulous products.

    Reply
  104. Kathleen

    You know, I walk into my local warehouse store, pick up my 10lb bag of KAF, go home, make delicious pancakes, chocolate cake, banana bread, cookies, brownies, etc never realizing what goes into getting that bag to the store and onto my pantry shelf. I am amazed. This is a great video/story. I have another reason to love KAF. Thank you for supporting American farmers and keeping America happy and healthy with your products. We have visited your store in VT several times and I just didn’t really give much thought to the background story. Thank you for sharing this.

    Thanks Kathleen. That’s precisely why I wanted to share the story. We should all stop and think more often about where the food we eat is coming from. ~Tom P

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  105. Royce

    Thank you for your blog on wheat and the tour of Kansas farms. I started buying KAF from your store via online since it wasn’t availale at my small market here on the coast of Oregon. I’m happy to report that now it is stocked by the store and I am able to purchase it via just a quick drive to town. I love all of your products but especially your flour – it is simply superior to all others and now we know,” the rest of the story”. A big thank you to all.

    Royce, so nice to hear from you again! And thanks for your loyalty – we (all of us) appreciate it… PJH

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  106. Kansas Wheat Farmer

    Thanks for sharing the story of wheat harvest. My heart breaks when I hear people who have no idea what we do, condemn farmers/ranchers for the way we raise crops and animals so that all may be nourished. We care deeply for the land and the animals and work hard to provide good, wholesome food. Our ranch is a three-generation family operation that is proud to say we help feed the world. You can bet those many, many harvest meals will begin with King Arthur Flour.

    Thank you for your hard work. It would be an honor to share one of those harvest meals with you some day. ~Tom P

    Reply
  107. Heather Mayes

    I’m an avid baker and I love your White Whole Wheat flour. I am concerned about overuse of synthetic fertilizer and the runoff into the Mississippi, leading to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. How is the non-organic flour raised? Can I buy it in good conscious, or do I have to pay twice as much for the organic?

    Thank you for your high-quality products.

    Thanks for your questions, Heather. I can’t speak for every farmer in Kansas or even every farmer who grows for KAF, yet what I saw in Kansas was a group of people trying to minimize their use of chemicals in general. In the first place, chemicals cost a lot of money and everyone wants to produce the grain as economically and efficiently as possible. And some of the farmers, as I indicated, were following all the organic standards except maybe one or two that were just not practical or economical for them.

    In Kansas we saw various methods for maintaing soil quality. Some farms till the ground to control weeds, which will reduce chemical use but may increase soil erosion and water loss. Others may employ reduced tillage or no-till systems in which the harvested wheat is left standing in the field as ground cover and tilled over only when the next crop is ready to be planted. This reduces water loss and soil erosion but will require some kind of weed control. To enrich the soil and increase its productivity, most farms we saw used some sort of crop rotation system (usually wheat->grain sorghum->fallow). Unfortunately I do not remember much specifically about the amount or kinds of fertilization used. Perhaps someone reading these comments will post some first-hand information about the subject. ~Tom P

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  108. Rutherford B. Thompson

    Thank you for the tour. I DO use KA flour, exclusively, bread flour, all purpose flour, and whole wheat flour. I know have more reasons for using them, knowing that care is taken in the harvesting and storing of the wheat even before it is sold to KA.

    Reply
  109. Sara

    I guess I never realized your flour was made from a lot of farms in my homestate! Excellent! One of these I need to get off my duff and buy some from you :) Hope you enjoyed the trip through KS, and braving the heat and humidity, and hope you got to see some sunflower fields—gorgeous!

    Reply
  110. Satu Wyvern

    Thank you for a wonderful and informative article.
    How can we help keep you GMO free and keep the seeds
    in the hands of the farmers.

    Satu, I would advise you to take a little political action to begin with. First, write letters to all your representatives in Washington expressing your desire to keep GMO wheat out. Second, write to everyone who serves on agriculture committees, even if they are not from your district or state. Third, encourage your friends to do the same (tweet it, blog it, facebook it, bring it up in conversation). And lastly should GMO wheat appear, the only thing you can really do is start buying organic wheat products.

    While the spectre of GMO wheat is harrowing to many people, the “good” news is that wheat does not pollinate the same as corn, which is dependent on the wind and experiences a lot of pollen drift. Wheat is self-pollinating and you don’t get as much cross-pollination from field to field. That’s not to say GMO wheat will stay completely contained (the genie will have been let out of the bottle), but its spread would be much slower and farmers choosing not to use it or to go organic wouldn’t be at as much risk should their neighbors decide to go for the GMO. Yet let’s try to keep this genie bottled up. ~Tom P

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  111. Brigida

    I am a city girl born and bred. I very much appreciate the hard, labor intensive work put into the greatest flour available. No wonder I receive so many compliments on my baked goods. Additionally, I now know what some of those mysterious pieces of farm equipment are used for.
    Thank you and God bless. Brigida

    Reply
  112. Sam

    Yes! Now I can give it to my brother the next time he picks on me for buying “that fancy New England flour”. While we’re native Nebraskans, his place isn’t too far from Manhattan (I admit I’d have to check a map).
    Good to know that I’m actually helping distant neighbors when I get my KAF.
    Video brought back memories from when I was kid – we rotated between alfalfa, corn, oats & wheat. The big trailers of grain were so neat to peek in – all those little kernels that feed us so well.

    Also, good to know it’s all GMO free. After reading some of the studies surfacing on GMO stuff I do as much as possible to keep it out :)

    Reply
  113. Rosemary C

    I posted yesterday, and now I am back. I live in San Jose, Ca. Today I went to the grocery store where we always shop: Lunardis. Your bread flour was on sale, so I bought two bags. I was on such a high from your article that I thanked the store manager for carrying your product, and went on and on about your wonderful company and the post on the blog about the wheat farmers. I have forwarded your post to all my baking friends. As you can see by all the responses, this blog touched a lot of people’s hearts. Your company rocks!!!

    Reply
  114. Judy

    I so loved your story, photos, and videos of your trip thru the Kansas highlighting the wheat havest and the farm families who make it happen.

    I am so ignorant (and I’m sure I’m not alone) about how our food goes from farm to market, especially the grains, so I thank you for the details on the harvest and milling that you included.

    Is it possible for you to share more information about how your other products are produced when it’s convenient for you?

    And one more question…Do those giant Combines start out as a group in TX and move north as agroup with the harvest, or does each farmer own his own combine and get together with the neighboring farms to do the harvesting…? I’ve always wondered about that when I’ve seen them in the fields.

    Judy, great questions. Yes to both…there are harvesting crews that start down in Texas and work their way north. The crews are contracted by farms to bring in the grain for them. As you can tell by the size of that equipment, it is a rather large investment and not every farm owns its own harvesting equipment. Some farmers, howerver, harvest their own fields (and maybe the fields of others in their community).

    I assume you are asking about the manufacture of our non-flour products. Those products, such as our scone mixes, brownie mixes, etc. are blended and packaged in our facility in Vermont. We develop the recipes (“formulas”) for them in our test kitchen–you often get a peek into the test kitchen here on the blog–and then they are scaled up to several hundred pound batches. We buy the ingredients, measure them out according to the formula, blend them thoroughly and then package them for you, the end consumer. We also do some repackaging of bulk materials (single ingredients, specialty flours) into sizes convenient for home use. ~Tom P

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  115. Nancy Kamm

    Loved the story of Kansas wheat harvesting and the high quality wheat that goes into King Arthur flour – the only flour I’ll use. Your video brought back many happy memories when I was a young girl who went to spend time on the farm my mother grew up on and then managed by my uncles and cousins during wheat harvest in Missouri. Great video and very educational – it’s important to know where our food is coming from and the type of care that is given it from seed to harvest to milling. Good job and thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  116. Barbara Grimes

    I love this posting!!!! KA flour is the best. I’m so glad you shared your tour with us, many people have no idea what takes place on a farm, and how the crops in the field turn into the food on their grocery shelves. We need to support our local farmers, and by you providing this valuable information, surely makes a difference. The men and women that make up our farming business do not get the credit they deserve. Most consumers have no idea how risky farming is……..totally weather dependent, big dollars invested in machinery and upkeep, not to mention no company benefits, i.e., sick leave, vacation leave, medical insurances, etc. So, here’s to the farmer, THANK YOU!!!!!!

    Reply
  117. Brad Wirth

    What a wonderful article on a wonderful product! If this does not make you proud of our country and the Nation’s Breadbasket, I don’t know what will. King Arthur Flour, my brand for my family. Thanks to the great folks at KAF for ensuring that we have a consistently good product.

    And thanks for choosing our good flour, Brad – we promise we’ll deliver the same great product season after season, year after year… thanks to our partnership with America’s hard-working farmers. PJH

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  118. Tonia

    I agree with Clara Usrey in that it was wonderful that you emphasized that conventional farmers are real stewards of the land that most people don’t know about because they only hear about the “environmentalists’s” point of view, who ususally don’t have to live every day with a dependance on the environment for their livelyhood. As my dad (an orchardist who grew pears in central Washington state) used to say, “Why would I do anything that would harm the people buying my fruit? Without customers, I couldn’t make a living, so of course I’m going to take the best care of my land as possible.” Three cheers for the American Farmer and some of the best and safest food grown in the world!!!

    Reply
  119. Janice

    LOVED this post! So educational and makes me proud to be a KAF customer. I’m getting more and more “snobby” about only using KAF, esp after seeing your commitment to quality and sustainability! Way to go!

    Reply
  120. Kat

    I to, never knew what went into the King Arthur flour I buy at the store. This was very enlightening and I owe my thanks to the farmers because without them there would be no King Arthur Flour.

    Reply
  121. Sandy Polletta

    We are proud users of King Arthur Flour in our bakery! Not only are all of the flours of the highest quality, but the dedication, knowledge and plain passion of the people of KAF for what they do makes this company the best. Thanks for taking the time to do this great tour and sharing it. I grew up in Michigan farming country and it took me back to the beauty of waving fields of wheat. Also, a heartfelt thank you to all of the farmers who day-in and day-out work diligently to produce the best wheat in the world. Our bakery family and our customers appreciate your stewardship of our US farming land and dedication to preserving a way of life!

    Reply
  122. Betty O

    I really enjoyed your blog on your trip to Kansas. I have never thought of Kansas as anything other than the start of the Great Plains. It was interesting to see just how beautiful it is with all that grain waving in the sun. I liked the fact that the farmers are careful stewards of the land and that there are no GMOs in sight. Very interesting and surprising to see how the grain is harvested and milled. Glad KAF uses “made-in-America” in its products; I get very tired to everything made in China! I hope that we will soon see that America needs to get back to its roots and start growing and manufacturing our own products and then exporting to other countries rather than so much importing. I am new to the KAF line of products. I order a lot of colored sugars at Christmas for cookie decorating but had never tried the flours or mixes until recently. You English muffin mix is amazing!. Easy to use and very delicious. Also my dog loves the dog biscuit mix. Keep up the good work. I’ll be baking today.

    Reply
  123. Donna L.

    Boy, KAF employees have the best job in the world! Not only do you have a personal stake in the business and therefore a close connection to your customers, but you get to take FIELD TRIPS! Always my favorite way to learn new things. I enjoyed very much seeing the different kinds of wheat fields – the variety of colors was a surprise.

    I love KAF flours and many of your other products available on your website, and am especially glad to hear there is no GMO grain involved. I’ve been worried that the big powers in agriculture were going to force such a change in all our food crops, and we would end up having no choice about what we eat.

    Long live King Arthur!

    Reply
  124. mikes

    Trust me, If you ever marketed any product that has any type of GMO, I will stop buying from you.

    Next you should continue to push for more and more organic production to eliminate the trace pesticides and other environmental hazards.

    Difficult? Yes. Impossible. No.

    Believe me, Mike, we push and push. Remember that pic in my blog of Mike B. crouching near the edge of a wheat field with a farmer? At each farm we visited he held a confab with the farmers. He was asking them to grow more organic wheat, telling them there was a market for it. Happily last year we were able to convince more farmers to grow organic so we could introduce organic bread flour to the market.

    Unfortunately farmers must use more expensive and potentially lower-yielding organic practices for three years before being able to market their products as organic. Family farms are businesses with very low margins. It often comes down to an economic decision whether to go organic. And as I mentioned, many of the farms we visited were already employing essentially organic practices. They might have been doing only one thing that disqualified their products (maybe it was fumigating the air in the top few feet of their storage bins, high above the grain below, to rid the bins of pests or some other singular act that prevented them from meeting the organic standard). ~Tom P

    Reply
  125. Em

    I absolutely LOVE this post!! My husband is a KSU graduate in Milling Science & Management. This post brings me great joy and a feeling of immense pride for the work my husband does! Although seeing those gorgeous wheat fields makes me want to hightail it back to the Midwest!

    As a side note: I think it is funny, KAF doesn’t own a flour mill. ;-)

    For national distribution, we work with close to 2 dozen mills. And that much “bricks and mortar” doesn’t come cheap. For over 200 years we have always sought out and worked with millers who are just as passionate about quality as we are. Glad to hear that you enjoyed field trip. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  126. Feryl Harris

    My mother always insisted on making her bread from King Arthur bread flour and I have followed suit for about 20 years. We have family in Vermont and have stopped at your Norwich facility to buy a quantity of various flours on our way back to West Virginia. We now live in Hawaii and though the shipping costs add quite a bit to the price of the flour, I still hate to use anything else because I have become accustomed to using the best. It is good to know there are still companies out there who insist on quality products. Thank you.

    Reply
  127. Dee

    I have been using King Arthur Flour for years and am happy that it is much easier to find than it was a few years ago. I have been to your store many times and LOVE your catalog but it was fascinating to read and watch this post. I have some family members who raise beef in Kansas so the fact that your wheat comes mostly from Kansas makes me enjoy it even more. Thank you.

    Reply
  128. Patricia Anderson

    Hi
    I love this post, my father grow wheat years ago. Best of all I love King Arthur Flour. I love everything King Arthur have. Thanks you.

    Reply
  129. Karen

    Thank you for showing us how wheat is grown, selected, and processed. Too often we are far from the sources of our food and ignorant about its production. I was glad to learn GMO wheat is not grown here in the States. I have used KA flours for years. If you take the time to make something homemade for your family, shouldn’t you use the best ingredients?

    Reply
  130. Dorothy

    I am glad to see some of the assets of Kansas being highlighted.
    Hope you got to drive through some of the towns where there were
    large wheat sculptures on the streetlights.

    My husband is a corn miller here, sorry you didn’t come see their plant :(
    Though, I did see you drove through some of the counties in western Kansas where my brother in law is a wheat farmer.

    I am sorry we can’t buy KAF in the town where I live.

    Reply
  131. Andy

    Thank you so much for publishing your Kansas wheat tour! I so appreciate that you took the time to highlight the hard work that goes into growing wheat and producing the quality flour we love. I think we are so fortunate to have the quality and abundance of produce, and I think it is very important for peope to be aware of where it comes from. Thanks to the farmers, millers and everyone who is a part of KAF.

    Reply
  132. Clyde

    What a great story! Wish it could be published far and wide by the major news media. I’m an Old Kansas Man myself, living in a California magalopolis. I was raised on Kansas wheat farms some miles north of Hays, grew some wheat myself for college money, and ran combines in Kansas and Colorado, so know how hard it is to get the grain harvested and stored safely. Also saw an entire wheat crop wiped out by a “five minute” hail storm one night. I was a preteen then, saving to build a model airplane. I stood at my darkened bedroom window watching the hail fall while the lightning flashed, and said to myself, “There goes my model plane engine.” And that’s exactly the way it turned out!

    I’ve also been to King Arthur’s facility in Vermont, and was more than pleasantly surprised to know that you use so much Kansas wheat. I’ve also visited the KSU grain mill when my daughter was a student there, and appreciated the additional coverage of their efforts and expertise.

    Reply
  133. Steve Saroff

    Last fall my wife and I had a chance to spend some time in the King Arthur retail store in Vermont. We were most impressed. A friend of ours from Manhattan, Ks took a class from your school. We now only buy KA Flour and I swear it is the best. The bread or rolls stay much fresher longer. I have been baking bread and rolls for years. Then when our friend sent us this link about where KA Flour came from were were totally impressed as we live in Manhattan, Ks. We are also very fortunate to have the home campus of American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, KS,

    Steve – Thank you for visiting our store. It is great you have discovered our website. It really is a great resource for the home or professional baker. I encourage you to take advantage of our 1,500 recipes online. I wish I had all the time in the world to try them all! Come take a class the next time you visit! Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  134. denise elsawy

    your flour is by far terrific. but being a diabetic are there any low carb recipes or special flour you have that i can use.

    thank you
    HI Denise,
    We can certainly understand that it can be difficult to know which recipes are best suited for your medical needs. However, we don’t write recipes that are specifically low carb or low sugar. Our best advice is to browse through the recipes to see which ones are of interest to you, and then calculate out the nutritional info. to see if it will meet your needs. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  135. Andrew Davis

    This all just part of your marketing scheme. you arent doing anything than any other company, in fact you arent actually doing anything. you are just a marketing company!! you dont make anything, you just say your product is the best, but the truth is, you all had to go on a feild trip and take some lame videos to (once again) tell us your is the best.
    i didnt realize untill now that you guys dont actually make anything, you are just like used car salesmen.

    Reply
  136. Tom Tibbits

    It was a great experience to have you stop by our farm wheat harvest last summer and be part of this story. I’m proud to say that I sell grain around the world, but even more proud to point to a package KAF on a shelf knowing that some of my wheat is in it. I’m proud to be associated with a flour company as passionate about the flour they sell as I’m about the wheat I raise.

    If anyone wants to know what’s happening down on the farm drop by my blog at http://www.farmertimes.blogspot.com or follow me on twitter @ksfarmboy. I would be more than happy visit about our farm.

    Reply
  137. mom244evermom

    Based on what you’ve taught me, shouldn’t whole wheat flour cost less, much less than all-purpose or bread, seeing as you need a lot more wheat to make all-purpose and bread flours?

    Yes, that is a good question. Why does something that requires more raw materials and processing cost less? It’s a volume situation. We don’t have the exact volume numbers but US Economic census data on the value of flour produced shows that whole wheat is roughly only 15% of total flour production (and that takes into account the higher price of that product so in volume it’s actually less than 15% of production). Because of the market size, fewer mills make it and fewer production runs are dedicated to it, driving the cost per pound up. – Tom Payne, KA marketing manager

    Reply
  138. Lynne

    Thanks for this wonderful article and video. I came across it through the Whole Grain Council website, exploring whole grains as I move away from refined flour for most of my cooking, to improve nutrition. I’ll be buying bulk whole grains. I live in the humid northeast, but grew up on the Illinois prairie, with those incredible harvests, the long triumphant parades of grain wagons, the towering silos, and golden corn scattered along the roadsides in fall. I really loved reading this and seeing the pictures, and I learned something new about King Arthur flour versus run-of-the-mill. I used to buy by price, but now I’ll be sampling your wheat flours and eating with more discernment. Gratitude to all, from the farm to the grocery. When our local dairy farmers hunt out west, they just long to ride on those big combines (although it looked like this was an early summer harvest). Our terrain can only handle small tractors. Thanks for all the care that goes into a product best produced far from my own backyard. And thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Our sincere pleasure, Lynne. Thank you for your careful consideration! We are stand behind all that we do and are very proud to bring our customers the best quality ingredients, service and support. We have been at it for over 220 years and are still going strong. Happy baking! Elisabeth@KAF

  139. zaborilenta

    Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I

    Reply

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