Nicest Place in America -- Locally grown, milled flour makes for tasty treats

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Matt Sehnert not only knows how to create delicious food from the flour he uses, he knows exactly where it is grown and milled.
Jared Muehlenkamp/Acme Printing

McCOOK, Neb. -- Every day, Matt and Shelly Sehnert make decisions affecting their local business, Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe in McCook, from how many employees to hire to the number of apple fritters and creme horns to make. The answer to the last one: There can never be too many.

But the decision to use local resources such as Wauneta Rollers Mills is one reason McCook and Sehnert’s Bakery in particular received the Nebraska nomination from Reader’s Digest for “Nicest Place in America.”

Matt consciously chooses to use flour from Wauneta Roller Mills for all the products in the bakery. And Sehnert’s goes through a lot of flour.

Jared Muehlenkamp/Acme Printing

Between the homemade breads and pizza crusts to the hundreds of doughnut holes - and no, they are not just the leftover centers from the other doughnuts - the bags of flour from Wauneta Roller Mills are piled high in the bakery’s back room.

Matt takes pride in using locally grown and locally milled wheat from Southwest Nebraska. It’s also an opportunity for the bakery to help support the local economy and feature a fellow Southwest Nebraska business at the same time.

Sure, Sehnert’s could get their flour cheaper elsewhere, from some corporate supplier. Instead, they choose to support local friends and neighbors, who are farmers and millers.

“I’m proud of this because our farmers grow great hard red winter wheat and Wauneta Roller Mills does a great job of making consistent flour for us and everyone in our community, Matt said.

Throughout the year, Matt gives tours of the bakery to everyone from visitors passing through town, who are curious about an authentic, small-town bakery, to the McCook 7th graders on the annual Heritage Tour, with the bakery as the perennial top favorite, perhaps because of the doughnut at the end.

During the tours, Matt shares his passion for baking and his reason for using Wauneta Roller Mills.

“Not many bakers in the world can say that they use wheat which is grown by their neighbors, milled by their friends down the road, made into breads, pastries and bierocs and then purchased by those same farmers who grew the wheat,” Matt said.

And while he may pay a bit more to stay local, Matt knows that it’s not just about the money to support fellow local businesses.

Rather, local business owners are the ones who sponsor the little league baseball team and then step in to coach; local business owners are the ones who volunteer on community boards and walk down the parade route on the Fourth of July; local business owners are the ones who say “yes” to every school kid walking through their door asking for a donation for their project or event.

“This is important to our business and to our family’s philosophy,” Matt said. “McCook and the bakery cannot exist on their own, so it’s important for the entire Southwest Nebraska community to support each other.”

That support and staying local is yet another reason to vote for McCook and Sehnert’s Bakery in the 2019 Reader’s Digest contest for “Nicest Places in America.” Remember to vote once a day through July 21 at https://www.rd.com/nicestplaces/the-nicest-place-in-nebraska-sehnerts-bakery-in-... or find the link at mccookfoundation.org.

And continue to send ideas about why McCook is the nicest place to rondagraff@gmail.com.

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