In the fall of 2010, organic bread wheat farmers, millers, and researchers from Maine and Vermont traveled to Denmark to visit with our Danish counterparts. We learned about production issues, milling techniques, marketing strategies, and heritage varieties; and we brought back new ideas, validation of our efforts at home, and a renewed focus on quality and marketing.
This series of videos shares the tour with you.
The videos were produced by Tavi Merrill and Ellen Mallory (University of Maine Cooperative Extension), and the trip was organized by Ellen Mallory in collaboration with Anders Borgen (Agrologica).
Part 1: Two Farmer/Millers at Different Scales
In Haderslev, we visit Niels Mejnertsen, a conventional pig farmer who has recently stepped into the expanding organic bread wheat market, operating at a fairly large scale.
In Ringe, we visit Kristian Andersen, who has integrated grains into his rotation with potatoes and brussels sprouts, and whose small-scale mill is more typical of those in New England.
Part 2: Genetic Resources, Disease, & Weed Management
Farmer Per Grupe discusses heritage varieties, and his research partner, pathologist and breeder Anders Borgen, discusses seed-borne diseases and organic seed treatments.
At Foulum research station, Ilse Rasmussen speaks about key challenges in bread wheat production, and Maine farmer Garin Smith discusses ways of adapting existing equipment to small grain cultivation. At Taastrup research center, Jesper Rasmussen tells us about cutting-edge ways to assess the effectiveness of traditional weed management tools.
ICROFS research director Niels Halberg gives us a final thought about the role of organic in creating a sustainable agriculture for the future.
Part 3: Growing & Storing / Milling & Baking
Farmer Carsten Hvelplund includes small grains in a small, diversified farm and agritourism business; he shows us traditional storage techniques and traditional grains. Former dairy producer, Kurt Jessen, shows us a larger-scale drying and storage system.
Pioneering miller/baker Jorn Ussing Larsen walks us through Aurion, a cooperatively-owned mill and bakery which focuses on alternative energy, ancient grains, and traditional breads.
Part 4: Milling and Creating Markets
Skaertofte Molle embodies a high quality product and effective marketing. We learn their strategies for high quality flour production and developing markets. Skaertoft’s products are sold in major Danish grocery chains and used by chef-collaborators, and their packaging has won a design award.
At pension company ATP, chefs in the award-winning canteen (cafeteria) explain to us how they use local flours, and how their work creates bridges from those passionate about local, organic food to Danish employees’ everyday meals.
Image Description: University of Maine; University of Vermont Extension, Cultivating Healthy Communities