When guests eat at Chez Ks, they invariably praise the pasta, polenta, and desserts. As the chef, I would love to be able to accept their compliments. However, I’ve been cooking long enough to know that the real genius in the kitchen is farmer Thor Oechsner, of Farmer Ground Flour in Trumansburg, New York. He and his partners grow the most delicious organic, heirloom grains from which they mill the flours that I use to create everything from simple dinner entrées to complex desserts.
As a farmer, Thor plays the roles of scientist, mechanic, engineer, construction contractor, and teacher, when he isn’t doing the actual plowing, planting, and harvesting. The fruits of his labor become all-purpose flour, high extraction bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, corn meal, polenta, white pastry flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole spelt flour and — my personal favorite — whole buckwheat flour, have all played a starring role in my cooking and my diet for the past several years.
So, the next time you see a bag of Farmer Ground Flour at your farmers market, grocery store, or specialty store, take a bag home and have a genius help you make dinner.