2015 Grain Gathering program that Marie-Louise Risgaard would deliver one of the keynote addresses. I had never met her but I knew that her family had a farm and a milling business in Denmark and I owned and loved her mom's book, Home Baked: Nordic Recipes and Techniques for Organic Bread and Pastry. Hanne Risgaard's Real Rye Bread was actually the very first bread I had baked in the months after we lost Noah, in part because having never baked rye bread with the grand-kids, I wasn't weary of re-awakening painful connections, but also because I had wonderful memories of summer vacations spent in Denmark with my former in-laws when our own children were little and I was hoping to find some degree of comfort in making rugbrød, a staple in their household. The recipe is terrific as are many others in the book and now I was to hear Marie-Louise, Hannah's daughter, tell in person the story of Skaertoft Mølle, her family's small organic mill (mølle means "mill" in Danish). How lucky was that?
Irma, a high-end supermarket chain which had been very supportive of organic farming since 1987. Irma was enthusiastic and placed an order for flour. The only problem was that it gave them only eight months to deliver it. The family had no mill yet. Only an old cow stable in which to put one. Which they did. And on June 1st 2004, they shipped that first order. Right on schedule.
But not before the family had acquired a third set of eyes: their flour was going to be the best, a high-end organic product that would sell for much more than the regular supermarket flour (€3.80 as opposed to €1.20). It needed a distinctive face. No happy farmer against a sunny-field and blue-sky background for them! Skaertoft Mølle being a no-waste business, they wanted their bags to evoke the full cycle of organic farming. The face the design firm StudioMega came up with was indeed strikingly different.
shop online. It has also acquired a human face (or rather three): "We are no longer just bags - we have been on TV commercials and have become 'the family' in people's minds and that has been an important change." The shareholding arrangement has brought in funds: next step is the purchase of a packaging machine to decrease costs and provide a healthy working environment. New products and exports are in the works. The morale of this modern-day fairy tale? "Looking at bread though new eyes can take you a long way!" Indeed.