A local food advocate warrior. That's how Louis-Philippe Desjardins of Hanmer describes himself.
Desjardins owns Silo 6, a family-owned business offering stone milled flour made in Hanmer. Silo 6 began about a year ago and already offers patrons about 12 varieties of flour.
There is all purpose flour, pizza dough flour, organic flour, cake and pastry flour, rye, spelt and the list goes on.
One variety offers something a little uniquely Canadian.
“Red fife is a discovery for a lot of people. It’s the only Canadian wheat that our ancestors would have farmed and milled. My wife makes the most amazing cookies with it,” he said.
“The fife also offers 10.5-per-cent protein, which is a great composition of bread and protein,” he adds.
Other specialty varieties are emmer or farro, an ancient Italian grain that tastes similar to barley.
Desjardins was inspired by local food as a young political science student at Laurentian University. He began to put the food industry itself under the microscope.
“I wanted to fight big corporations especially with the food chain,” Desjardins said. “It’s important for us to be independent, resourceful and proud starting with simple grains from Orangeville that I make into flour.”
Silo 6’s milling machines come from Germany and Austria. They are only about the size of one human being, so they are suited to small batch production, which works for Desjardins. Each machine costs about $7,000.
Northern Bread Haus, a local sourdough bread maker, is now incorporating the local flour in its product. The owner has used red fife, spelt and soon will experiment with Khorasan or Kamut flour.
Desjardins said a baker on Manitoulin Island has also just put in their first orders of flour this week.
Desjardins has more plans for the small batch flour business, but as he puts it the “Silo 6 goal is to stay small, to stay efficient and to stay beautiful.”
He said as just one of many local food warriors, he has no plans to ever grow his flour production to anything large scale and multinational.
“The key is to keep the flour fresh, which is why I don’t want to carry inventory. Going forward, all leftovers will be recycled into pasta, cereal and crackers. A pasta-making machine will be arriving in the next couple weeks,” he said.
Desjardin also owns Colourful Greens on his home farm in Hanmer. His mostly hydroponically grown vegetables — like lettuce, bok choy, arugula and a smattering of herbs — are sold weekly at the Sudbury Farmers Market. The green house began three years ago.
He also hopes to develop a storefront on the homestead on Gravel Drive this summer with the help of his wife and three children.
Desjardins’ flour and vegetables are also available for sale each week at the Sudbury Farmers Market.
There are plans to grow the business. A certified kitchen in a retail space would allow for the production of a second set of gluten-free flours.
Each business also has a website — Silo6.ca and ColourfulGreens.ca — where you can learn more and shop.
Anastasia Rioux is a writer in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat! is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.