Organic wheat

Jim Amaral ’80 His Borealis Breads feature Maine-grown organic wheat

Amaral’s Borealis bakeries in Wells and Waldoboro, Maine, produce some 4,500 loaves on their busiest nights. (And a third location, a bakery-bistro in Portland, opened on Dec. 17.)

Integral to the well-known Borealis line is organic whole wheat from Aurora Mills in northern Maine. The Aurora-Borealis connection came about because whole wheat is perishable: Wanting fresh flour, Amaral worked with farmer Matt Williams in the 1990s to re-establish in Aroostook County a grower network and the wheat-processing infrastructure that Maine lost decades ago. The result, besides good bread, is a reawakened Maine grain industry, benefiting farmers, bakers, consumers, and the environment.

“Every time you buy food, you’re making a political decision,” says Amaral. “Those dollars that you’re paying to a local food producer are going to stay in the community and support many other businesses.”