IMG_2383Last week, Standard Foods’ grocery and restaurant proudly began offering their own Standard Foods Yellow Stone Ground Corn Meal made from non-GMO heirloom corn. The project, spear-headed by Farm Liaison Deborah Underwood Brown, speaks to Standard Foods’ mission – connecting local farmers, growers, artisans, chefs and consumers within North Carolina’s food network. Standard Foods was founded to identify, facilitate and nurture farmers and artisans for the betterment of the land and our food community. As a standard Southern product – an ingredient of every Southern pantry – local corn meal was an ideal first product for Standard Foods to champion.

Deborah, who visits small family farms to source for Standard Foods’ grocery and restaurant, discovered a surplus of non-GMO corn (2000 bushels) at Bender Family Farms in Axtell, NC. Because non-GMO corn sells for only a fraction of its value in the regular corn commodity market, and because of the sheer demand for non-GMO corn products, Standard Foods was eager to help Bender Family Farms find new markets for this corn. Corn Meal and non-GMO corn feed for livestock were both identified as viable opportunities. “This is our purpose at Standard Foods… to nurture farmers, and to make successful connections between growers and market needs… to be a catalyst for healthy growth within our food system,” explained Deborah.  As a result, Standard Foods connected Jeff Bender with Daryl Spencer, owner of one of North Carolina’s oldest traditional mills at Buffaloe Milling in Kittrell, NC. Bender is now encouraged to continue to grow this heirloom non-GMO corn. With Standard Foods’ support in both the grocery and restaurant, they have been able to collaborate in the creation of a new, niche product.

This month, 480 2-pound bags of non-GMO Standard Foods Yellow Stone Ground Corn Meal were milled by Buffaloe Milling; these bags retail for $4.50 in Standard Foods’ grocery. In the restaurant, this corn meal is featured in the Cornbread Pudding with Onion Marmalade. This cornmeal is ideal for making classic skillet cornbread, traditional baked cornbread, muffins and more.

Visit www.standard-foods.com in the coming weeks for details on an upcoming dinner celebrating the new corn meal, with Farm Liaison Deborah Underwood Brown, Jeff Bender from Bender Family Farms and Daryl Spencer from Buffaloe Milling.