World’s first solar-powered flour mill adds value to small grains production

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MILLHEIM, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will host a farm tour Oct. 23 at Frankferd Farms in Butler County, as part of PASA’s 2012 Farm-Based Education schedule.

Frankferd Farms is a family-owned organic farm in western Pennsylvania that recently became home to the world’s first solar-powered flour mill.

The day will begin on the farm, exploring the grains business from field to market. Participants will hear from the solar installer, see the solar arrays and learn how they add value to the business. Discussions will also focus on grain planting and harvest considerations, establishing a product niche and choosing the right marketing channels for a grain operation.

Participants will get the details of how this 10-kilowatt system of solar panels powers the farm, the flour mill and the family home, and a 16-kilowatt array powers the food warehouse.

Background

Owners Betty and T. Lyle Ferderber purchased Frankferd Farms from his parents in 1980 and began grinding flour in a small grist mill. In 1985 they expanded their business model by starting a natural foods distribution company specializing in organic, local, bulk and specialty foods.

Starting from humble roots of turning their living room into a store with an inventory of noodles, peanut butter and flours from the farm, today, Frankferd Farms Foods works with dozens of food stores, co-ops, bakeries and restaurants, and offers 4,000 products to 2,500 customers in seven states.

The farm and mill are organically certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association and the distribution business is organically certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic.

Registration

For the first time, PASA is offering a new member special combo deal. Membership in the organization, combined with a field day registration is being offered for $45. To access this special combination rate and review the full list of events planned for this year, visit http://pasafarming.org/events or call 814-349-9856

This special rate gains attendees access to a quality educational program, a locally-sourced lunch, all of the benefits of membership and access to PASA’s growing network.

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