“Organic” is a huge buzz word these days at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. But getting to see it up close and personal is a lot of fun and very interesting. That’s exactly what I got to do at the Daybreak Mill, just out side of Estevan, SK. I connected with Nicole Davis, owner and proprietor, earlier in the year and she jumped on board with my project. When I first met Nicole, I was a little bit awestruck. First of all, she didn’t fit my mental image of a farmer (a picture a guy, 50+ in a plaid shirt, jeans and a mesh farm implement ball cap). 🙂 Nope, I was greeted by this beautiful, 20 something blonde girl who just happened to own and operate an organic mill. 😎 After our introductions, she toured me around the facility explaining about the various processes from cleaning the grain, to grinding it to selling it in the office.
For Nicole, organic farming is in her blood. Her father was and is an organic guy too, so she comes by it naturally. But the more people actually consider organic food, the more appealing it becomes. Most people are aware of the chemicals that are used to spray crops for pest or weed control in traditional farming. But lately, it is the genetic changes are raising more alarm in people’s minds, as well as their bodies. Suddenly everything these days is “gluten-free”. But
nobody very few people had gluten allergies/intolerances years ago. So what changed? Organic people will argue that the food itself has been changed, either by selective breeding of the crops or more recently, genetic modification. It is causing problems for more and more people, especially the GMO stuff that can be found in almost all processed foods. As people become more aware of these changes, the market is responding. Demand for Organic grain is increasing nation wide.
Nicole’s Daybreak Mill ships product across the country. And product they have! When we think of grain, the average person thinks of ‘wheat’. But there are so many different kinds available! Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Red Fife, etc. all of which are available for sale the Day Break Mill. In fact, Einkorn is the oldest grain that was farmed by humans some 10,000 years ago. It is still being grown today. And it is delicious! Nicole gave me a sample of some. We cooked it up like you would rice and ate it as a side dish. It actually felt neat knowing that I was eating food that has been unchanged for thousands of years! But then again, I’m a sucker for tradition. 😎 Their organic granola and pancake mix is delightful too, our kids gobbled them up!
I can’t say enough good about Nicole and her team at Daybreak. They are all tremendous people who really love and care about what they are doing. They are passionate about Organic farming and the products they sell. And, as the market demand grows, you can find their products in more and more places all over Canada. But you can also buy direct from their mill too – which I encourage everyone to do, especially if you live in SE Saskatchewan.
It was a lot of fun to meet with Nicole and her team and I am grateful for the experience. If you are starting to think about Organic products, you owe it to yourself to check out the Daybreak Mill! 😀
Living in a very agriculturally rich region of not only Saskatchewan but also the world, I’ve always been surrounded by farming my whole life. I’ve always had an appreciation for anyone who can make living at it. Just think. What other occupation in the universe is affected by so many variables that are totally out of your control? I’d hazard a guess that farmers, if they sat down and considered how much risk they face each and every crop year, they’d probably pack it in and go sell real-estate! 😉 Just kidding! Farming is in the blood and there is no escaping it.
It is interesting though over the last few years how much change agriculture has seen. I talk with some of my older parishioners (90+) who still remember stooking grain by hand. And now, there are combines that can harvest 1800 bushels an hour. Interesting to me is that in the face of all of these advancements in technology and science and agribusiness, there has emerged the Organic Farming movement. Right in our own backyard, Alvin Scheresky was one of the pioneers of Organic farming in our area. I had the pleasure of meeting him earlier this year when a portrait was needed. He won the Organic Hero award. It was in visiting with Alvin that my interest was further perked into Organic farming, so much so that I decided to make a personal photography project out of it. When I met with Alvin, he was reading a book called Wheat Belly. It’s a very interesting concept that puts forward that the grain we eat today IS NOT the grain of the past. Indeed, wheat as we know it is nothing like its original form due to cross breeding and further Genetic Modification (the GMO you hear so much about). This process has changed grain so much that it is now a foreign substance to the body and is causing digestive/allergic problems for a broad spectrum of people (not just Celiacs ). YouTube has an informative video by William Davis on this topic.
Another documentary that got me thinking was this one called Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of our Lives. Often I have heard criticism of the Organic Farming movement that proponents use fear to try to persuade people to their opinion. And, I’m sure a bit of that does go on. But watch this video. It’s very eye opening – and dare I say, scary? 😎
After my shoot with Alvin, I connected with Nicole Davis. She bought the Daybreak Mill in 2012 and has been heading it up since. I was able to go and get a tour of the Mill facilities and learn a lot more about organic grain production, cleaning and milling. That will be the next instalment of my Organics Series.