- More Than Grain: Sprouted Flours, Shiloh Farms and Why Beth Ann Shirk cares
More Than Grain: Sprouted Flours, Shiloh Farms and Why Beth Ann Shirk cares
There’s a story in every meal. This week, I chatted with Beth Ann Shirk of Garden Spot Foods about her role in the company, and about Shiloh Farms, the place that started it all. If the name Shiloh Farms sounds familiar, you’ve probably visited our sprouted foods section – we love the flours, the health benefits they offer, and the bioavailability of the nutrients in sprouted grains.
Beth Ann shared more than her experiences at Shiloh Farms and Garden Spot Foods with us, though. She shared the link to one of her favorite sprouted grain recipes, and put us in touch with the woman behind some of the best sprouted flour apple bread you’ll ever try – Janie Quinn.
How long has Shiloh Farms been around, and why was it started?
Shiloh Farms is one of the three in-house brands for Garden Spots Foods; it is our “Heritage” Brand. The owner of Garden Spot Foods is John Clough. His father was one of the founding members of the Shiloh Farms community and John grew up living in the Shiloh Farms community.
Shiloh Farms originated in 1942 in upstate New York; a group of farmers gathered together and wanted to provide their community with wholesome, healthy food – it was a farming community, as well as a spiritual community.
In New York, Shiloh Farms provided fresh meats, cheeses, baked goods, and produce to the community. Later, they expanded their reach to a farm in Arkansas where they started making the bread they are known for the “Sprouted 7 Grain BFL (Bread for Life) Bread,” the original Shiloh Farms bread.
Shiloh Farms is no longer a working farm – with about 200 items, we are no longer able to grow all the foods we provide to consumers. We are very selective about which vendors we purchase our products from and try to source organic and domestic as much as possible to make sure we are providing the highest quality product.
When did Shiloh Farms start producing sprouted grain products, and why?
About 8 years ago, Shiloh Farms made the decision to start selling the Sprouted Spring Wheat Flour and Sprouted Spelt Flours. We started selling the sprouted flours by co-branding with the Essential Eating Company, a pioneer in the sprouted grain industry.
Sprouted Flour is a healthier flour – sprouting the grains increases the bioavailability of the nutrients, releasing the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that lay dormant in the whole grain. It also converts starches and proteins into simple sugars, which are more easily absorbed into the body to provide energy.
Shiloh Farms has sold other sprouted grains in the past, but the Sprouted Flours have been by far our best selling products.
How do you choose which sprouted grains to carry – is it based on consumer request, nutritional value, a mix of the two?
I’d say it’s a little of both – the sprouted flours are a healthier flour, they digest better than regular flour; plus, it is an organic products, which customers are looking for. PLUS, the Sprouted Spring Wheat and Spelt are a cup for cup substitution, making them an easy replacement for regular flours.
A little over a year ago, we stared another in-house brand called “PureLiving” – this is a more modern, progressive brand. There are ten sprouted flours under this brand – the flours are all sprouted, certified organic, gluten free (tested to under 20 ppm), and kosher. Even if you do not have to be gluten free, these are wonderful sprouted flours that will add extra nutrients and flavor to your baking.
There are delicious recipes on the PureLiving website 1 that were specifically created for these flours by our in-house chef.
What is your favorite sprouted grain recipe?
Well, I have to say my favorite one that I enjoy the most is an apple cake recipe that is in a book called The Sprouted Baking Book by Jamie Quinn. It’s just…I just love it. It was one of the first recipes I tried with the sprouted flour. The sprouted spelt is my favorite. The maple sugar icing is delicious.
Another Sprouted Flour recipe that I enjoy using is the Gluten-free Spouted Corn Bread 2 found on the PureLiving Recipe Page: You would never know it is a gluten free recipe!
Janie Quinn’s Scrumptious Apple Cake Essential Eating©
Janie confessed to us that this is one of her favorite recipes, too…Enjoy!
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup maple sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups spouted flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 5 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 4 medium apples)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
- Combine eggs and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with an electric blender until creamy.
- Gradually beat sugar and vanilla into egg and butter mixture until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Add the moist ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, until evenly mixed. Fold in your chopped apples.
- Bake the cake for one hour, or until the top takes on a delicious golden brown hue.
Janie offers a delectable Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 3 for this cake in her book, but if you’re trying not to eat that many sweets, you’ll love the cake on its own, too.
Can you tell us a little about your own connection with food, and why you work with Shiloh Farms?
It all kind of happened by accident. I didn’t come here to be the customer service rep, but once I started learning about the products and using them, I really enjoyed the healthy aspect of it, talking with our customers, and found out all kinds of interesting ways that they use our foods and how that makes them feel. I started using the products and I know from talking with our product managers, buyers, and quality control, as well as from my own experience, that we sell a good product. Everyone here believes in what we’re doing.
A few years before I started working at Garden Spot Foods, I had been through a lengthy illness. Some of my doctors would say it didn’t matter what I ate because the food wouldn’t help heal my body, but I didn’t quite believe them. I had started to become more selective with what I was eating and knew I was feeling better because of my food choices. When I realized all the great foods that Garden Spot Foods was selling, I knew I had found the right place for me!
I was given the opportunity to be the Shiloh Farms Customer Service about a year ago and thoroughly enjoy my job! I believe that in order to “sell” a product, you really need to use and know the products. The Sprouted Spelt flour was a product I started using right away; but we carry about 200 products, so I am still learning about them and learning how to incorporate them in to my daily life.
I also like hearing from the Shiloh Farms customers – how they use our products, how long they have been using our products, and how Shiloh Farms has enriched their lives. Customers give me new ideas for our products all the time!
I’m curious about one thing – the faith base for Shiloh Farms…does it still exist?
It was nondenominational, and the faith aspect is still a part of our culture. Mostly it shows in our efforts to maintain integrity and deliver the highest quality product.
Shiloh Farms was a non-denominational community; they worked and worshipped together on the farm. We are still a faith-based company – I believe this shows in way we treat our customers and by maintaining integrity and transparency with our products, to deliver the highest quality product to our customers. Although we don’t have any services or religious ceremonies here, or go to church together, everyone here is very nice and willing to help each other. It’s a good environment.
Anything you’d like to add?
Yes. Please visit our company page 4 to find out more about Garden Spot Foods. Our third in house brand is Simpur 5, a line of certified organic cleaners. For more information about Shiloh Farms, check out our website 5.
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