Lowell Sun quotes Mallory in article on wheat-based straw alternative
The Lowell Sun quoted Ellen Mallory, an associate professor at the University of Maine in Cooperative Extension and the School of Food and Agriculture, in an article about a wheat-based alternative to plastic straws. The article focused on sWHEATie STRAWs, a side-gig business owned by Tewksbury, Massachusetts resident Anne-Marie Maguire that produces wheat-based straws inspired by the ones she encountered in Singapore. The straws are made using stems from wheat plants that farmers don’t use, but the process is labor-intensive and that has been a deterrent for U.S. farmers, according to the article. In 2015, Mallory conducted a study with another entrepreneur who was interested in wheat straws, and since then has connected farmers with people like Maguire who are looking for wheat-straw sourcing. Most farmers are not interested in entering the wheat-straw business, and those who are say they can grow the wheat but not process it, according to Mallory. “It’s a bit of a leap then to go to production here because there’s growing the straw, but then what do you do with it, how do you handle it to turn it into a drinking straw?” She said a smaller-scale niche farm might be better equipped and able to produce wheat straws. “They’re a natural product. I think consumers would like that,” said Mallory.