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Three-Day Farm Tour Visits Valley Malt in Hadley

HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB)- In support of local agriculture, a district-wide farm tour began today. U.S. Representative Jim McGovern joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Edward Avalos, and other elected officials on the tour that includes stops at 16 farms.

The third stop Tuesday was at Valley Malt in Hadley.

Andrea Stanley and her husband began malting grains in the kitchen, then four years ago, their business Valley Malt was born.

It’s a niche in local agriculture.

“We found this was this missing link, that grain needed to be malted in order to be brewed with so we looked around to see if there were any local Malt Houses and we discovered the closest Malt House was in Wisconsin,” Andrea Stanley explains.

The crowd listened closely as they explained the basics of the malt process: apply water, time and temperature to the grain.

“It just undergoes this wonderful process where it becomes this product that is then able to be used by a brewery,” Stanley adds.

Most of the malting is done in large stainless steel bins, but they are one of the only locations in the country to still incorporate old fashioned floor malting.

“Everybody is unique and has their niche in this area farmers are adapting in a way to be successful and I think it’s important for us to support that,” says Jim McGovern U.S. Representative.

The tour will allow elected officials to see first-hand the impact of state and federal programs and to discuss strategies to boost the local food economy.

As for Valley Malt in Hadley, business is going even better than expected.

“We started off producing 2,000 pounds of malt a week now producing 8,000 pounds a week,” says Stanley.

With additional support they plan to grow even more.

The farm tour takes place over 3 days. Tomorrow, they will visit Worcester-area farms.

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