Earlier this year I lived a dream of mine that I had had for 6 years. This was to visit the farm of the Smith Family in Wyoming where we import the beautiful GF Oats from.
I don’t know why I had left it so long, let’s just say it never lined up. BUT this year it did and I jumped and leapt at the opportunity to go.
I must say after working closely with the Smith Family since 2009, I felt like I had known them forever and it was so wonderful to finally meet them in person. All be it I look rather shabby on arrival into Cody at 10 pm after 30 hours of travelling.
I forgot that I was a business associate when Seaton picked me up from the airport. I guess he did too, as we shared a familiar embrace. How exciting to meet after all these years. Within 10 mins I had embarrassed myself by trying to get into one of those huge trucks on the wrong side. (Giggle)
After breakfast the next morning we ventured out to the farm where we saw the beautiful fields of the Organic crop. (This is Seaton and I standing in the fields) Many growers are contracted in the area to grow the oats for GF Harvest. They are required to go through a very stringent list of criteria to be able to supply the oat seed uncontaminated from gluten containing grains.
It is such a beautifully picturesque backdrop. Each farm has water allocated with drains providing water for the irrigating of the crops, as their average rainfall in that area is a very mere 5 inches of rain. This water comes from the abundant Yellow Stone National Park, which still had lots of snow around but was slowly melting into the vast lake catchments.
Our next stop was the processing plant based in Powell, a small township north that is the home of the Smith Family.
This operation as it stands today is relatively new and is built opposite the main offices. The storage bins, processing operation and dispatching shed all stand within walking distance of each other.
I was totally amazed at the extensive quality control and efficiency of the processing and packaging of the oats into the 50lb bags, which are dispatched to us here in Australia. All the trucks and holding facilities are totally dedicated to oats, which enables the product to maintain it’s gluten free certification. GF Harvest test each batch down to <5ppm but here in Australia, GK Gluten Free Foods, retest each batch and then display these results on our website for all customers to see.
The oats grain stock is stored on Seaton’s farm in long storage tubes designed to keep the seed dry and vermin free until they require it for processing.
The Smith Family also showed me how the oats project started many years ago with a small grinder where they hand rolled the oats. Amazing.
All in all a wonderful experience to see the length that this family of Coeliac’s go to, to ensure that these oats are showing a gluten free certification.