Since the late 1780’s, buckwheat has been cultivated in the St. John Valley. Due to uncontrollable circumstances, wheat crops diminished and by 1850, buckwheat emerged as the grain crop leader in the Valley, representing 40-45% of all grain production. Visitors to the Valley commented on the delicious buckwheat pancakes which local farmwives served their families at every meal instead of wheat bread.
From the 1850s until the 1950s, ployes were served in many Valley homes three times a day. Local life has changed greatly over the past fifty years, and inexpensive, ready-made breads, cereals, pasta, and cakes have largely taken the “every meal” place once held by ployes. But the ploye is still cherished as the best accompaniment for a good chicken stew, and a necessity at any meal which celebrates Valley heritage.
In the early 1980's potato farming had endured some extremely hard times. It was during one of these tough years when Claire, the eldest of the 5 daughters, had returned from a trip to Louisiana with a French Acadian doughnut mix called beignets. As the family sat around enjoying the doughnuts one of them asked why no one has ever made a mix for ployes. The seed was planted and soon after the family started working on the perfect recipe for ployes.
Before long the family business moved from their kitchen into the two car garage which was converted into a mixing and packaging facility. In 1997, a 10,000 square foot building was erected to house the entire operation. Alban Bouchard and his son Joe found the dismantled mill in Canada and took one year to piece it together, in order to mill the buckwheat on site.
Today the business has been credited to saving the family farm. Twenty years ago, in the Fort Kent area, there were approximately 40 potato farmers, today there are 5. Farming as an industry has not been easy. Though we have endured some stormy weather we believe that our creativity and determination have been instrumental in maintaining our way of life.
Ployes are a French Acadian flat bread made from a mix of buckwheat flour and wheat flour.
Ployes are made up of buckwheat flour, wheat flour, aluminum free baking powder and salt.
Just add water to the mix. Stir, let set for 5 minutes and cook on a hot pre-heated non stick surface (350-400 degrees). Electric griddles work the best. If using a non-stick pan use medium to medium high heat on the stove top.
Ployes are traditionally eaten as a flat bread, buttered and rolled with every meal. However, they can also be used as a hearty pancake or as an elegant crepe. Check recipes on the website.
No, ployes are not gluten free, but the buckwheat flour we grow on the farm is gluten free. Buckwheat is not a grain, but a fruit and part of the rhubarb family.
Yes ployes are vegan...there are no eggs, milk sugar, or oil in the mix.
Yes ployes are fat free, cholesterol free, sugar free, and lactose free. (3 X 5" ployes are 95 calories)
Buckwheat provides a rich source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and high quality protein. It is digested more slowly, thus a meal containing buckwheat leaves you feeling full longer, curbing the urge to snack.
The buckwheat flour we grow on the farm is called the silver-skinned or common buckwheat. It is this unique buckwheat that gives the ployes there unusual color and delicious flavor.
Yes, anything you can stuff in a crepe you can put in a ploye; a meat filling, fruit filling, or ice cream with chocolate sauce drizzled on the ploye.. That's our personal favorite!