Bread is generally referred to together “the employee of life.” The farming of wheat, complied with by the fermentation the flour, was crucial step in human being evolution, but as we begin to reevaluate our relationships through food, we deserve to tend to associate our food system with meat or salad vegetable overlooking wheat entirely.  


Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Bread Store. 1937. Museum that the City of new York. 40.140.11.

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We think of flour as a forgettable, white, powdery nothing that lives in a document bag and also only comes out to rod the butter come our cookies and hug ours sandwiches. If we room concerned about where our hamburger come from, or our tomato slice, why don’t we consider the bun as well?

As we evaluate how worries such together organic farming, GMO policies, and also food miles shape our food system, that is exciting to take into consideration that wheat and also flour, specifically in the brand-new York region, are at this time in a phase of revitalization. 


Currier & Ives. The Wheat Field. Ca. 1865. Museum of the City of brand-new York. 57.300.363.

Wheat had actually a influential place in the life the early brand-new York. The Northeast was a breadbasket of early american America do wheat a highly rewarding commodity chop for numerous notable new Yorkers, consisting of Philip Schuyler (father-in-law of one more famous brand-new Yorker, Alexander Hamilton). The Schuyler wheat areas played a dramatic duty in the mythmaking of brand-new York’s Revolutionary era. In 1777, major General Schuyler’s wife, Catherine Schuyler, famously traveled to your estate near Saratoga at an excellent risk and collection fire to their wheat areas to store the advancing British military from provisioning their troops turn off American wheat. 


J. M. Slaney. Old Mill, Bronx River, new York. 1890. Museum that the City of new York. 34.100.797.

In the 1800s, wheat to be still grown around the brand-new York region. Originally processed by tiny community mills, v production at some point moving towards large-scale commercial facilities. Ar milling was a regular part of life prior to the arrival and popularization the the roller mill, which could process wheat to flour in ~ a much higher rate and likewise stripped the bran from the white flour making it an ext delicate yet less healthy. As manufacturing changed, manufacturing moved into the urban centers of brand-new York City.


profession card. Heckers’. 1880-1900. Museum that the City of new York. F2012.99.179.

Heckers is an example of a agency that started life as a small local mill and moved right into the bustle that the big city. Beginning out in the Hudson Valley, George Hecker was credited with arising the very first “self rising” flour, and also went ~ above to success awards in ~ the world Fairs in London and brand-new York in the 1850s. This prominence led Heckers to create a new facility in reduced Manhattan in an area currently in the zero of the Manhattan Bridge. The Heckers brand quiet exists this particular day as a component of the Uhlmann agency milling wheat grown in Kansas.


Sackett & Wilhelms Litho. & Prt. Co. Hecker-Jones-Jewell Milling Co. 1893. Museum the the City of brand-new York. F2012.99.181.

As the roller mill obtained prevalence, millers and manufacturers had actually to rely on “prepared flour” which integrated additives to make up for the nutrients and also flavor shed by abandoning the older stone milling processes.

Eugene Ketterlinus (1824-1886). Haviland, White & Co. Ca. 1880. Museum of the City of brand-new York. F2012.99.564.

New York’s wheat take it a series of hits in the late 1800s as agricultural disasters such together the Hessian fly and also the wheat midge hit crops across the region. Flour production started to move steadily westward towards the prairies the Kansas and North Dakota with bigger conglomerates running both farming and also milling. A myth was born that great wheat might not flourish in the Northeast, and along with frozen dinners and also fast food, 20th century americans learned come love Wonder Bread.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) West 168th Street and also Broadway, northeast corner. White Tower Hamburger. 1933. X2010.7.2.5531.

As we understand much more about exactly how our individual choices influence the food system, wheat and flour are being given more consideration. We are discovering that local food provides different flavors and greater nutrients through less an adverse environmental affect than commodity crops. Wheat is no exception.

New York City’s Greenmarket started investigating methods to bring local grains to the forefront in 2004 and by 2009 compelled all bakers offering at their sectors to usage a minimum of 15% neighborhood flour, identified as product grown and milled in the new York region. 

Violet Baxter. Farmer’s Market. 1990-1991. Museum that the City of brand-new York. 95.22.2.

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The Greenmarket’s regional Grains Project has actually revitalized the see of new York grain, reintroducing many heritage wheats that had disappeared indigenous the Northeast. In 2017 alone, the project relocated 23 lots of regional wheat and also beans to brand-new Yorkers.

The Museum of the City of new York’s own café, Chalsty"s Café special Amy"s Bread, is component of the motion using neighborhood grains. Amy’s Bread sources whole-wheat flour from North nation Farms in upstate brand-new York for your Whole-Wheat Challah, Tangy Sourdough, and also Black Olive breads, among others. Avoid by because that a treat during your next visit!



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