Cincinnati Innovates, an online innovation competition, features an entry that caught our eye: a fascinating sustainable agriculture project from Richard Stewart, manager of Carriage House Farm. The North Bend farm has been working with local brewer, MadTree, to compost spent grains from the beer making process for the past year. The duo’s newest venture involves using the wort—the liquid malt, a one-dimensional, pre-fermentation, alcoholic byproduct of the beer before the flavors are added—to make commercial malt vinegar for local chefs. The vinegar proto-types (120–180 gallons) are currently coming together, both in acid range and flavor profile. The next step will involve finalizing a fermentation mother for consistency between batches.
Stewart explains that secondary income streams, such as this vinegar project, are his reaction against the “go big or go home” philosophy of big agriculture. “I’m not on that path, and it goes directly against what I believe.” Instead, Stewart is building a 48-foot-by-72-foot building that will house his vinegar facility as well as a small farm stand. He also plans to begin planting an orchard of virtually pest-resistant Asian pear trees whose harvest will culminate in a high-end pear vinegar. Molly Wellman has agreed to weigh in on a shrub line (for cocktails) later this year. While the farm will finance the facility, the Innovate Cincinnati $2,000 grant would be used for research purposes. Stewart is also in the process of applying for a government-funded SARE (sustainable agriculture research) grant for the same purposes. But Stewart can only win the cash from Cincinnati Innovates if enough site visitors vote for his idea. You can cast your vote again each week until July 15.
If you love your local farmers and your local brewers, what the heck are you waiting for? Rock the vote!
Carriage House Farm, 10251 Miamiview Rd., North Bend, carriagehousefarmllc.com