Ben Penner Farms – Local and Organic

Sustainable, Local, Friendly- 3 words to describe Ben Penner Farms

(and the man behind the products, Ben Penner, himself!)

Located on three separate farms totaling over 70 acres of organic soil in Belle Plain, Henderson, and LeSueur, every Ben Penner Flour product is MOSA Certified Organic and 100% produced in Minnesota.

Penner has been farming in Minnesota since the fall of 2009. He produces and sells alfalfa, hard red winter and spring wheat (both heritage and new varieties), food-grade soybeans, organic vegetable starter plants, cover crops, lentils, black beans, and pinto beans through no-till organic farming practices using a combination of rye cover crops and crop rotations.

All flour is not created equal. While it can be easy to know the difference between whole grain, conventional and organic flours, one type you may be unfamiliar with is ‘heritage variety’ flour. So, what is it exactly?

You can find Ben Penner Organic Whole Grain Wheat Flour at Valley Natural Foods, produced from Penner’s Organic Hard Red Spring Wheat.

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But what is the difference between heritage and new varieties of winter and spring what?

According to Penner, “Heritage variety is a phrase that can have both cultural and scientific meaning—though not necessarily in equal measure. For wheat, it broadly means varieties that were adapted before the typically higher-yielding Green Revolution varieties were developed by Norman Borlaug in the 1960s. For Turkey Red, the variety has a specific cultural meaning which also includes its genetic variation and adaptation to the location where it is grown. In other words, the story of the Mennonites bringing it to North America in a trunk, and the fact that it was partly responsible for that particular group of people’s economic and social success on the Plains, means that is defined as having a heritage specific to a place.”

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic when flour was in short supply, Penner was able to keep four stocked at Valley Natural Foods when no other producer could. We’re proud to support Ben Penner Farms and extra energy, time, and work spent to continue to support our community during such an uncertain time.

Interested in learning more and seeing Penner’s farm in person? Just email Penner and schedule a time to visit! Visitors are welcome to tour the farm and see all the goes into Ben Penner Farms.

Learn more about Ben Penner Farms (and schedule a visit) by visiting their website.

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