Wheat of the Future Based in the Past

http://www.organicagcentre.ca/Docs/HeritageWheats_JenniferScott.pdf

This link kindly provided by Mark of http://www.barnyardorganics.ca the farmers providing me with the new (or should I say old) Acadia wheat I tried out for the first time last week.

THis is six pages long, here is the first page:

Wheat of the Future Based in the Past
By Jennifer Scott (902)-757-1640, email:
jen@ns.sympatico.ca
In the past few years, winds of change are blowing through wheat fields. Wheat – a fundamental ingredient in bread and many other foods – contains more nutrients per
weight than meat, milk, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. It is a part of our national
identity. Canada is well known throughout the world for its bread wheat.
The change is not based on transgenic crops, scientists in white lab coats, boardroom
decisions, stock market hype, or millions of dollars in public relations efforts. The new
wheat is emerging from the fields of caring and conscientious farmers, locally-owned
flour mills, artisan bakeries, and the organic farming movement. Consumers seeking healthy food help to fan the flames – particularly those consumers who are having
difficulty tolerating conventional modern wheat. It is a grass-roots, community based
movement – building literally from the ground up.
First, organic farmers began to ask for bread wheat varieties that were more suitable for
organic farms where herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers are replaced with
healthy soil and careful management. They also needed choices of varieties that were
suitable according to the region and soil type. Stricter organic rules demanded that all
organic seed be from organic sources. Conventional wheat from conventional seed
sources was just not cutting the mustard. Clusters of organic farmers in Europe, the US
, and Canada organized field trials to asses wheat varieties – both modern and heritage
– that would be appropriate. In the Maritimes, the Maritime Certified Organic Growers (MCOG) in co-operation with Speerville Mill and the New Brunswick government began such efforts in 1998 with the help of the Heritage Seed Program and like-minded growers and millers in the US and Canada. Organic farmers in the region were recruited to grow
wheat. The price of organic wheat started to rise, making it more worthwhile to grow bread wheat – considered one of the more challenging organic crops to grow because of the quality requirements (minimum 13.5% protein, no fusarium, adequate dryness, and harvested at the correct time to prevent sprouting).
Meanwhile the demand for locally-grown organic stone-ground flour was outstripping
supply. The beauty of stone-ground whole wheat flour is its sweet and nutty flavour, and
superior nutritional value compared to steel-roller-milled flour. It contains the grain components in their original proportions and includes the germ. (Stone grinding distributes the germ oil evenly without exposing it to the excess heat that can cause flour to become rancid and much of the vitamin content to be destroyed.) But stone-ground whole wheat flour needs to be fresh. It shouldn’t be stored for months and months, or transported thousands of kilometers in a hot truck. This is also part of its beauty. It should be processed locally and used fresh. It is the domain of small community-based
business, not large multinationals.”
There is more about farmers in PEI and elsewhere growing Acadia and Selkirk, which are Maritime favorites of yore, and also mention made of how those with gluten issues who prefer spelt also do fine with Acadia (same is said of Red Fife).
In any case, I look forward to working further with Acadia in the coming months – whilst still only using Red Fife for white flour since that is what is provided by Milanaise – and will continue to use only such heritage varieties.
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