Located 35 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Weatherbury is a highly successful, vertically integrated, 225-acre farm with a unique proclivity to adapt.
It took only one season at Weatherbury Farm for the Tudor family to opt for alternative farming practices over the high-input methods being advocated for by extension. In 1988, Weatherbury, stopped using chemical inputs altogether.
Dale and Marcy Tudor keep the majority of their 102 acres in rotating pasture—food for their grass-fed cows, lambs, and certified organic laying hens. They additionally manage four satellite farms, which provide the certified organic grain they sell wholesale.
Their son Nigel remembers when the calls from the grain brokers looking to buy wholesale came every other day. They slowed around 2014 or 2015, eventually stopping altogether. This change in frequency is the litmus Nigel uses for measuring the impact of grain import fraud on domestic, organic farmers. Now, once a month, they get a call.
Demand for organic grain has grown in recent years, and the volumes of grains being imported are copious. If the problem of fraud had been fixed by regulators and/or at the policy level, the resulting restrictions in the market would surely have impacted domestic brokers, who would be clamoring to buy up as much domestic grain as possible.
In the absence of enforcement by the USDA, fickle markets drive domestic farmers toward value-added production. In 2018, the Tudors milled nearly 35,000 pounds of organic flour for their direct-to-consumer market. More than a dozen types of flour are custom ground on the farm. What isn’t sold on the farm goes to area restaurants, bakeries, markets, and grocers.
The Tudors are always evolving. They are learning to integrate a buckwheat huller into the production line; they are dialing in their skills on the extruder, while experimenting with homemade pasta recipes using eggs from their organic hens; and, finally, they are looking to add a wood-fired oven on the farm.
You can order any of Weatherbury’s amazing, stoneground, organic flours on their website. To learn more about how and where your grains were grown, scan the QR code on the bag to use Weatherbury’s Grain Tracker program.