Grains with heritage

Meet the Maker: Doves Farm

Grains with heritage

When Clare Marriage came to live on her husband Michael's family farm in Wiltshire, she brought with her a lifelong interest in ingredients and had embraced vegan, macrobiotic and wholefood diets long before they became fashionable. Keen to produce good food without damaging the environment, the couple converted the farm to organic in the 1970s and acquired a stone-grinding flour mill.
'I could see there was a growing appetite for wholegrain foods and research was starting to be published about the health benefits,' says Clare. 'Michael and I felt there was a gap in the market and we were optimistic that demand would grow. It took a while for our wholegrain flours to take off, but eventually wholegrain foods experienced a renaissance and we were really glad to have followed our initial instincts and to have started our own production early.'
Since 1978, Doves Farm has been producing organic and heritage flours with a wide variety of grains. 'We've prided ourselves on helping reintroduce some of the UK's lost grains back to our soils and our kitchens, such as rye, spelt, einkorn and emmer. It was because my mother had to have a gluten-free diet that we recognised there was also a need for naturally gluten-free flours.'
Today, Doves Farm has a long-standing reputation for producing gluten-free products, and the company recently decided to launch a dedicated free-from brand. 'One of our challenges is the diversity of our target audience – we have customers who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and the home baker, who isn't necessarily gluten-free,' says Clare. 'That's why we launched Freee, our free-from brand, to give people the opportunity to find the products suitable for them.'
Clare is proud to have been a pioneer for alternative grains, and feels their gluten-free flours have 'unlocked free-from baking, which is a lovely thought', and they have plans to launch new products such as red lentil and green pea pasta too. However, at the heart of the business is their passion for organic production.
'I think it's the story behind Doves Farm and the care that goes into our food that makes us special,' says Clare. 'Because we own the farm and mill we are able to oversee the whole process of grain from seed to the finished flour. Our grains have been grown to the highest environmental standards and we use age-old stone-milling techniques for maximum quality. We pride ourselves on leading the way when it comes to ancient grains and heritage flours.'

Find the full range of Doves Farm baking ingredients at www.dovesfarm.co.uk.

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