Combine Cabs and Pizza Dough

Posted December 12, 2014

Boston RD shares memories of Kansas Wheat Safari

Kansas farm kids are no strangers to combine cabs, but for visitors to the state, a ride around the wheat field is often one of their favorite memories. Boston-based nutrition consultant Heidi McIndoo, who I met at the 2014 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, is no exception.

Boston-based nutrition consultant Heidi McIndoo said she learned about grain processing, including the differences between grains, how they are milled and their various end products. She even learned how to make a better pizza dough.
“We were all out in the field on a beautiful Kansas day,” she recalled of the combine rides at Ken Wood’s farm near Chapman shared by 25 of the nation’s top nutrition bloggers, freelance food writers, dieticians and health professionals on the 2012 Wheat Safari. The event, sponsored by the Wheat Foods Council, brought these nutrition influencers to Kansas for a three days. In addition to combine rides, participants toured Kansas State University’s Hal Ross demonstration mill, visited the Farm to Market Bread Co. bakery in Kansas City and had a hands-on baking workshop at AIB International.

“It was a great experience hosting this prominent group in Kansas,” commented Wheat Foods Council President Judi Adams. “They are important influencers of consumer opinion and play a critical role in educating the American public about nutrition issues. We as an industry have much to gain by working with them to ensure that consumers have the facts about wheat from farm to fork – production, harvesting, milling and producing a table food.”

McIndoo said she learned about grain processing, including the differences between grains, how they are milled and their various end products. She even learned how to make a better pizza dough.

“I was using the wrong flour and way undermixing,” she said. “Since then, I use bread flour and my bread machine and my pizza is delicious!”

Events like the Wheat Safari help bridge the informational divide between Kansas wheat farmers and consumers. Even experts like McIndoo, who know the nutritional ins and outs of wheat foods, may have misperceptions of how that wheat is produced.

“The Safari helped me to see how the wheat industry is more mom and pop than big industry,” she said. “It relies on small farms, family run/owned farms. And that was very nice to see.”

McIndoo has worked as a registered dietician, nutrition consultant, spokesperson and author for more than 20 years, including as a former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. She is the author of When to Eat What and the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 200-300-400 Calories Meals.

Find out more about McIndoo on her website, Apple a Day Nutrition, including her pizza recipe.

By Julia Debes