Buckwheat is not a grain. Technically. Sometimes referred to as a pseudo-cereal, it is actually a close relative to rhubarb. It has historically been one of the most important crops in terms of sustaining peoples who live on the margins, those with poor soil, mountainous terrain, and short growing seasons. For this reason, it has played a role in the widely diverse cuisines of countries such as Japan, China, France, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Russia, and the United States.
Buckwheat has a very short intense growing season during which timing is of the essence in terms of sowing, rainfall, diurnal flux, and harvesting. In a perfect season, buckwheat is sown late summer and harvested around the first frost of fall. When all of these elements line up perfectly, the resulting buckwheat crops will produce a richly purple color with minerality and an array of strong flavor such as black tea, rhubarb and fall spice.
In the Hokaido region of Japan, the process of growing, milling and producing soba noodles has been refined into an art form. The meticulous care that goes into maintaining this trinity is reflective of Japanese food culture as a whole. In the Alpine regions of France, Italy and Switzerland, buckwheat polenta is prepared as a base for the regional hearty earthy dishes. Alpine cooks have also maintained a tradition of black bread, baked from dark buckwheat flour and then used to make the iconic Black Bread Soup. In Eastern Europe, it is prepared as a daily porridge and also comes in the form of blini, little buckwheat cakes with crème fraiche and caviar. In the French coastal regions of Brittany and Normandy, buckwheat is cultivated and milled for the region’s famous savory crepes. And in America, the use of buckwheat has primarily been for buckwheat pancakes which show up in kitchens throughout the North and in some parts of the South as well.
We are inspired by all of these traditions so have been adapting seed of landrace varieties from both Japan and Europe. We strive to uphold the milling and culinary traditions that have been pioneered by these cultures. It is our hope to experience a renaissance of buckwheat culture in America is reflective of our own cultural and culinary heritage.
Available as flour or soba-cha (wok-fired buckwheat tea)