Buckwheat flatbread mixes tried at Farmington food closet

0
6052
Lauren Moody of Auburn butters and adds maple syrup to buckwheat flatbreads made by Fr. Paul Dumais for people in line at a recent Good Shepherd food giveaway at the Share and Care Food Closet in Farmington.

By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — It is not a crepe nor a breakfast pancake.

A ploye (rhymes with toy) is served as an alternative to a slice of bread in the Valley along the St. John River in northern Aroostook County, according to Fr. Paul Dumais of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

The ploye is similar to a flatbread. It is made with tartary buckwheat which is highly nutritious and is still grown by two families in Madawaska, he said.

Based on his mission to feed the hungry, Dumais and some friends developed a product, a golden buckwheat flatbread mix. The product intended for food pantries.

A grant from the Maine Grain Alliance provided funding for a label. People have adopted it as a retail product. It is now available in some local stores, he said

Until this week, the product had yet to be tested as a food pantry item.

A test group of twenty families from the Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington will be given the product to go home and try, Leiza Hiltz Scerbo, food closet director, said.

Lauren Moody of Auburn butters and adds maple syrup to buckwheat flatbreads made by Fr. Paul Dumais for people in line at a recent Good Shepherd food giveaway at the Share and Care Food Closet in Farmington.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

The families will then be asked about their reception of the product – whether they used it or not and how they would use it, she said.

The mix is simple, just add water. It is also easy to cook. The buckwheat flatbread is cooked on a dry, hot skillet for 90 seconds. No need to turn it over like a pancake, he said.

The little holes or eyes, as they are called, absorb the butter and maple syrup or molasses. Then the ploye is rolled. Butter and maple syrup are traditional but it could be filled with other ingredients like peanut butter and jelly or hummus and cucumber, he said.

During a recent Good Shepherd Food Bank food giveaway, Dumais cooked and Lauren Moody of Auburn, buttered and rolled ployes to distribute to people waiting in line.

“It is really good,” said Jennifer Boren, the first recipient of a ploye at the giveaway. “It is like a crepe.”

“This is our first chance to see how people like them,” Moody said of people in line.

“It makes all the difference for people to see him make it and try it,” Scerbo said. “It is better than just giving out a bag of mix.”

Fr. Paul Dumais of St. Joseph’s Church in Farmington cooks buckwheat flatbreads or ployes during a recent food giveaway at the Share and Food Closet in Farmington.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

Dumais made the Maine-grown buckwheat flatbread at the Fiddlehead Festival. He plans to cook them for Summer Fest and a Saturday Farmer’s Market, he said.

Just as Dumais’ group was about to launch the product in food pantries, he was transferred from Lewiston’s Prince of Peace Parish to Farmington last July.

While growing up in northern Maine, the ploye was a staple among Acadian families but the term is not well known outside the Valley, he said. It complimented a stew or baked bean dinner and fed the farmers working the fields.

While the beloved food, a ploye, can be made from scratch. Mixes became simpler as younger people began to lose the art of making them, he said. They can also be made from a starter batter.

Dumais changed his product to a Golden Buckwheat flatbread mix. Each has a deep yellow color from the buckwheat.

A Golden Buckwheat flatbread mix on display at a recent cooking demonstration provided by Fr. Paul Dumais at the Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

The Madawaska buckwheat, also known as Acadian buckwheat, is different than Japanese buckwheat which is used to make breakfast pancakes or soba noodles, Dumais said.

The difference is the tartary buckwheat which is dense in nutrition. It could be important for food closets which find it hard to provide meat, he said.

It meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank criteria for a high protein food, he said.

The food is packaged by a friend at Fiddler Green in Vassalboro in a licensed kitchen. He debuted the mix last summer at the Maine Grain Fair Kneading Conference in Skowhegan.

Dumais’ group is currently testing how to process the mixes themselves with the help of volunteers.

“People loved it at the recent food closet demonstration,” Hiltz Scerbo said. “It is good for you, gluten free and worth a serving of meat.”

This fits in with my mission to feed the hungry from Matthew 25, Dumais said.

It also speaks to his passion for good, healthy food and family history.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

Fr. Paul Dumais cooks samples of his Golden Buckwheat flatbread mix while Lauren Moody of Auburn adds butter and maple syrup during a recent demonstration at the Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington. Jeff Kerr, right, waits to take the hot ployes to people standing in line.

(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here