MiVT: Nitty Gritty Grain Co. of Vermont

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 3:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Vt. (WCAX) - For the Kenyons, flours and grains are a family affair. That’s because this bunch owns the Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont, and it’s all hands on deck to keep the products flowing.

“I come and do all the packaging, do all the paperwork, do everything that happens in here,” said Catherine Kenyon, the self-proclaimed “Cornmeal Queen.”

She gets all of the products out on shelves: scooping, filling and sealing the bags.

“Single units, one at a time,” she smiled.

In her retirement, she spends her days in Charlotte, pitching in to keep people fed and the family business going.

“My brother has been doing this organic grain farming for over 30 years,” she said.

“It’s just what I do, I’ve always done it, enjoy it. I really think that it’s neat to feed people,” said her brother, Tom Kenyon.

Tom is a seventh-generation Vermont farmer. He’s the one that started it all, after getting this farm from Dr. Huntington Sheldon in 1988. He opened Nitty Gritty thanks to a USDA grant back in 2008.

” Acreage-wise, we’re probably this year somewhere around the neighborhood of a little over 100 acres of small grain, 25 acres of corn grown at my farm in Monkton,” he said.

His family calls him meticulous as he keeps up with organic standards and produces quality crops. He does it with a little moral support from his pup, Rosa, and only one other set of helping hands.

Tom and his son, David Kenyon, harvest the grain each year. It was done just a couple of weeks ago. After it’s harvested, it’s cleaned and put into storage bins to dry. Once it’s time, the grain gets a ride on the ferry over to Willsboro, New York, where the products are milled.

“Then it goes into our cold storage room and then we take it out to Catherine and she breaks it down into smaller sizes,” explained David.

It sounds like a fairly simple process, and Nitty Gritty prides itself on its uncomplicated products. Though, the labor and time it takes to create these products can be overwhelming, according to Tom.

While you’re supporting a local business by buying these products at local co-ops and health food stores, you also know that your grains are local, too.

“We can actually say yes, this was grown right here in Charlotte, in Shelburne,” said David. “We actually know the field that it came from.”

While it’s all-hands-on-deck all the time at this family business, the Kenyon crew says feeding people quality food is well worth the work.

“I think there’s a lot more local identity to it. Because I can say yep, I sat on that tractor, I planted that seed, I nurtured it and then harvested it and brought it back here, so it kind of comes full circle that way,” David said.

Their multiple flour products are available in 2 lb., 5 lb., 25 lb. and 50 lb. bags. They also sell their beloved cornmeal muffin mix and whole berries for people to mill themselves.

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