Olivia’s Croutons has grown from a small, home kitchen operation—where 20 bags was a large order—to occupying an 8,000 square foot facility in a renovated barn in New Haven that ships to stores across the US. While the move to the new facility was prompted by a need for a larger production space, an additional consideration was the landscape. Francie Caccavo, founder of Olivia’s Croutons, recognizes that the way to preserve Vermont’s open landscape is to keep it a working landscape.
Sited on the 50-acre farm is a 1912 dairy barn that would have been lost without a new purpose. Growing wheat on the land is an integral part of the work to save the barn, with forty of the 50 acres used on a rotating basis to grow wheat that makes its way into Olivia’s Croutons. Their locally grown whole wheat flour cannot entirely replace the white flour used in making croutons, but Olivia’s wants to use as much local whole wheat as possible.
Growing wheat can be a challenge, but the hardest part has been figuring out the milling. The bigger mills are simply not set up to mill under contract. Olivia’s has found Gleason’s Grains in Bridport very accommodating, however Francie reports “milling is still a hole” in local grain infrastructure.