Flour expansion boosts restored windmills
A KINGS Ripton farmer is not only expanding production of organic cereals but is also helping returning picturesque Cambridgeshire windmills to commercial production. Rebecca Rayner, who runs Glebe Farm and is a former winner of a Hunts Post Huntingdonshi
A KINGS Ripton farmer is not only expanding production of organic cereals but is also helping returning picturesque Cambridgeshire windmills to commercial production.
Rebecca Rayner, who runs Glebe Farm and is a former winner of a Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Award, mills much of her own flour from 500 acres of wheat, half of it organic, but has insufficient capacity for all of it in the farm's two mills. So she uses three local windmills as well, two of which have recently been brought back into use.
All her spare capacity used to go to Whissendine, near Oakham. But she is now helping to keep the sails turning at two newly refurbished local windmills, at Wicken and Over, both of which have recently been organically accepted through a strict inspection process with Organic Farmers and Growers, following long restoration and refurbishment processes.
Without support from local businesses the windmill owners would have to rely on donations from weekend visitors to help pay for their upkeep.
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"The income from grinding grain commercially helps fund essential maintenance work and gives a mill a more secure future. Plus, if a mill is working regularly it ensures it is working correctly," she told The Hunts Post.
"They keep the windmills turning, and there's some cracking flour coming out of them."
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Her flour and bread and cake mixes have traditionally been sold through small outlets and farmers' markets since she started her organic business a few years ago. But she has recently started selling through supermarkets, including Tesco branches throughout Cambridgeshire and Waitrose.
By special request of the St Neots store, she has created a gluten-free cranberry and blueberry muffin mix that becomes available from Waitrose this week.
One of her specialities is "spelt", an ancient Roman-style grain that has become quite trendy but is also suitable for people with wheat intolerances that make traditional bread painful to digest.
Her spelt and rye bread mix is also being launched by Waitrose.