Burlington--Billed as an "Out of the Box Webinar Series," the annual Vermont Grain Growers Conference will feature three virtual, multi-day programs over the course of three weeks.

The webinars, planned for March and April, are sponsored by the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program and the Northern Grain Growers Association. Grain growers, bakers and others interested in learning more about Northeast grain crops are welcome to attend.

The Culture of Corn will be held March 23-26. The Resonance of Rye will be March 30 and 31. Dates for The Splendor of Spelt are April 8 and 9. All sessions will run from 12:30-2 p.m. each day.

The registration fee for The Culture of Corn is $50 with registrations required by March 12. This program is limited to 50 participants. The other two programs are $25 each with registrations accepted until 24 hours prior to the webinar start date. If attending all three webinar series, the total cost is $75.

For details or to register, go to http://go.uvm.edu/2021grainconference. To request a disability-related accommodation, contact UVM Student Accessibility Services at access@uvm.edu or (802) 656-7753.

The Culture of Corn will explore the cultural, historical and agronomic significance of corn in the Northeast. Participants will receive a box of ingredients to prepare their own hominy, corn soup and arepas as part of the daily sessions as well as materials for an at-home flavor and aroma analysis. They also will get a behind-the-scenes, virtual tour of All Souls Tortilleria in Burlington and the Moon and Stars arepa cart for a look at nixtamalization and the arepa-making process on a commercial scale.

The Resonance of Rye webinars will include a sourdough rye baking demonstration by a world-renowned professional baker and an update on UVM research on rye varieties, fertility, harvest timing and impacts on end-use quality. Other highlights include a virtual tour of a Greensboro farm to learn about post-harvest handling and storage of grains.

Individuals who register for The Splendor of Spelt will learn about this specialty grain and its history, UVM spelt trials and efforts to save heirloom seeds and restore varieties. They also will hear from experts about the dehulling process and equipment critical to cleaning and adding value to the grain. A sourdough spelt pretzel baking demonstration will focus on the different properties of  white spelt and whole grain spelt flour, considerations when substituting or replacing wheat flour and flavor characteristics.


Susan Brouillette