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Historic grain meets historic mill at Washington Crossing Park

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The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation (DVFF) said 18 bushels of its Keystone Rosen rye will be ground into rye meal by the antique millstones at Thompson-Neely restored grist mill in Washington Crossing Historic Park at 11 a.m. Oct. 4.

The DVFF and its partners have been propagating Keystone Rosen Rye, a heritage varietal of rye grain once prized for its flavor, for the last six years. This grain fell out of favor after Prohibition but looks to have a renewed future with the re-introduction of distilling in Pennsylvania.

Getting long-lost grains back into production is not an easy task. The SeedSpark Project is a collaborative effort involving farmers, Pennsylvania universities, and members of Pennsylvania’s grain supply chain led by the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation.

When the SeedSpark Project began in 2015, only a handful of seeds from the USDA seedbank were available. By September 2020, over 6,000 pounds of Keystone Rosen rye seeds were harvested across the state of Pennsylvania.

Bringing the seeds to market begins in earnest as two more distilleries and a brewery join Stoll and Wolfe Distillery in utilizing Keystone Rosen Rye this year. However, before grain can be made into beer or whiskey, it must be milled.

Emerging from a long retirement, the huge, historic millstones at the heart of Thompson-Neely’s water-wheel-driven grist mill, which reopened to the pubic in March 2019, will be grinding the grain – once again fulfilling its role as an important part of Pennsylvania’s grain supply chain.

The Thompson Neely Grist Mill is located at 1635 River Road, New Hope. Masks Must be worn by anyone attending and social distancing will be observed.

To learn more, visit delvalfieldsfoundation.org.


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