Monday, May 21, 2012


Long-Term Bulk Storage Grains and Preparedness Foods

For most of us, the flat black Type III Mil-Spec finish of an expensive custom billet AR15 is more to read and save for when it comes to survival and preparedness, however making the assumption that most of us are already a but over-gunned, whole bulk storage grains are by far the better investment.  In the two months since picking up these whole bulk grains from Pleasant Hill Grain, prices overall in the market have risen over 20% which means this was an excellent investment.  Bulk storage whole grains offer the preparer versatility, more compact size, lower cost, improved flavor, and in most cases much longer storage... and of course they are far more tastsy than  

With my Pleasant Hill 6 gallon bulk storage nitrogen packed grain buckets stacked, I have a six foot tall 10”x10” footprint which yields 4200 food servings for only $630 or about $0.15 a serving. Now that is pretty exciting for a prepper.

As searched for bulk whole grain retailers, Pleasant Hill Grains kept coming up over and over and at one point also for some gourmet kitchen products so I decided to go ahead and place an order.  Generally Pleasant Hill is a shipping based business, however if you find yourself cruising down I80 in the middle of Nebraska as I did, you can also pick your orders up in person.  
I was in the area anyway on a trip to visit the Hornady Manufacturing plant located in Grand Island, Nebraska which is only 20 minutes from Pleasant Hill’s warehouse.  During my visit at Pleasant Hill what I saw impressed me.  This is a new pristine and clean, food and gourmet products warehouse packed with thousands of different consumer and industrial kitchen products ranging from super premium $500 gourmet rice cookers to $15,000 commercial grain hammer mills, to canned butter and certified water storage containers.  Pleasant Hill’s product categories certainly cover a huge product width. 
Forget Sur La Table’s slick site and instead hit  This quirky site looks like it was designed in 2001, however the prices are the best I could find online and I encourage everyone to support small businesses versus the mega conglomerates.  Pleasant Hill definately gave me better service than the snobby gourmet stores ever have.  When asked about the circa 2001 site design, Carly Reed, Pleasant Hill’s Business Manager, noted that they talked about a site redo over the years, however customers love the old home look and feel.

Unlike many of its competition, Pleasant Hill Grain actually knows about grain and farming.  They 
began as a real third-generation grain farm on the plains of central Nebraska selling grains and various kitchen products. The farm still produces over 4 million pounds of grains under wholesale contracts.
Pleasant Hill Grain’s continual growth in the kitchen and bulk storage foods drove their 2008 expansion into a new very large warehouse and office building which is impressively huge considering it is literally in the middle of a small 500 person Nebraska town.  Today Pleasant Hill Grain is an authorized dealer for some of the top gourmet kitchen products in the industry such as Bosch, Kuhn Rikon, Edgecraft, Berkey Purifiers, Excalibur, Vita-Mix, and Zojirushi, just to name a few as well as one of the largest dealers of commercial kitchen and food processing products.  Luckily their warehouse was in operation by the time the major boom of prepping began and that portion of their business drastically expanded both in sales and the variety of products Pleasant Hill Grains now offers. Although they offer a huge variety of preparedness foods and products, my focus was on bulk whole grains.
In general I am not a huge fan of “prepared survival foods”, however they do have their place if you are not “bugging in”, for those unable to cook, or for things like canned butter which would be tought to get. Prepared Survival Foods are represented in small proportions in my preparedness pantry and bug out bags and I even make my own such as canning extra chili left over from a big batch. Prepared survival foods are not as flexible, generally less energy dense, heavier, and can begin to lose flavor and nutritional value the moment they are packaged.  Conversely, bulk storage whole grains with proper packaging, provide very long-term 20-30 year shelf life with almost infinite cooking flexibility, retain much higher nutritional value and flavor and are lighter and more compact.  

BULK WHOLE GRAIN FLAVORAs with any base food product, as soon as you cut into it or cook it, the flavor begins to degrade exponentially so the longer you can leave grains intact the better they are from a flavor and storage perspective. Flour is not a good long-term storage food, however whole wheat is one of the best and all you need to do is grind it. We have unearthed clay pots of wheat from ancient Egypt which are still good which make a good case for the longevity of whole grains. As someone who cooks I actually get excited about grinding my own cereals and grains. I bake my own bread when I have a chance, have a Round Boy outdoor pizza oven which is used often, and even mill my own grains with a hand crank Country Living Mill (also from Pleasant Hill Grains).  Why do I do this? Flavor, flavor, flavor!  There is a difference between just surviving and surviving well, and great tasting foods will make a bad situation a whole lot better and grains are needed in any diet.

To stock my preparedness pantry with Bulk Storage Grains, I choose Pleasant Hill Grains for several reasons. They were definitely the least expensive, had the broadest options, are a locally owned and operated business, but most importantly provided the grains already pre-packaged for long-term storage.
Almost all of Pleasant Hill’s grains are packed in high nitrogen airtight mylar bags inside sealed air tight 6 gallon food grade buckets.  This packaging method does several things to protect the grains for long-term storage. The bucket and mylar bags are both air tight sealed to protect from all manner of bug and beast from getting into the container such as mice and weevils.  Those seals also protect the grain from additional water getting into the container such as a basement flood or moisture/condensation from temperature and humidity changes.  The nitrogen rich air in the mylar bags effectively puts biological processes on hold greatly extending grain life, flavor and nutritional value. The food-safe O2 absorbers sealed in the mylar bags suck up all the oxygen and leave only nitrogen in the bucket.

All of Pleasant Hill’s whole grain product are all natural (Non-GMO - Non Genetically Modified) and triple-cleaned to ensure purity and protect you and your grain mill from any foreign objects.  I should add that they also taste good as well, which is after all the reason you would go to all this trouble in the first place.

Whether you are buying survival, preparedness, or disaster foods, I always encourage people to buy what they like to eat and where possible buy at the whole ingredient level.  Doing so will provide you and your body with a less traumatic experience should you need to begin preparing that food. Everyone eats grains, beans and rice in one form or another, so it makes sense to have these whole kernel ingredients available. From these components paired with my hand crank Country Living Grain Mill or a food processor run from an AC/DC converter I have the ability to product everything from rough cut grain-meal for cereals to flours for flat breads and baking. Beans and rice add a lot of bulk to diets and the amaranth, oats, and hard red wheat are very high in proteins and vitamins.  So here is what I picked up:

  • Oat Groats (whole) Organic, SuperPail - 36lbs - MSRP:$87
  • Hard Red Wheat, Organic - 40lbs - MSRP:$70
  • Organic Soybeans 25 Lb. Bag - MSRP:$40
  • Rice Basmati Organic, SuperPail - 43lbs - MSRP:$130
  • Corn Yellow Dent Organic, Superpail - 38lbs - MSRP:$68
  • Amaranth Organic - 45lbs - MSRP:$125.00
  • Red Kidney Beans - 40 lbs - MSRP:$110
In total I ended up with around 267 lbs. of compact food which will most likely taste the same today as it will in ten years.  This 267 lbs. of food will net approximately 4200 servings which is a family of four’s meals three times a day for 1 year and that is just these six buckets and the bag of soybeans.  Add in any other dry/canned goods in the pantry and any food I can rescue and can from the refrigerator and freezer and I realistically have about two years of food all without the need for a bunker or without seeming like a total freak.  
The $510 Country Living hand crank Mill, also available from Pleasant Hill Grain, is not a necessity as there are certainly far less expensive mills from Pleasant Hill. I actually use a mill daily to at the very least grind my cereal, I opted for highly durable light commercial mill with and optional corn/bean auger, table mount and electric motor pulley.

I see these folks online and on TV with cases of crappy tasting MREs and I wonder why you would go that route when you could be eating truly spectacular food.  Your body needs bulk intake; a squirrel a day will keep you alive, however your intestinal track will be in knots.  
From a price perspective, $630 is extraordinarily cheap considering that delivers a $.15 a serving cost with high calorie count and lots of bulk intake daily.  For the cost of a Spam can of 5.56 ammo, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal on food than that if you are a prepper.  
Pleasant Hill Grain
1-800-321-1073 toll-free for orders & info

From outside the U.S. call 1-402-725-3835

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