Resurgent Grains

Lentz Emmer Farro

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Emmer, Triticum diccocum, originated about 500,000 years ago, a cross of Einkorn and a grass that's since gone extinct. A tetraploid with 28 chromosomes, Emmer is genetically more complex than the diploid (14 chromosomes) Einkorn. From earliest agriculture on, Emmer was particularly revered: it appears on the oldest coin unearthed in Sumeria, it figured in Jewish culture, it ranked high for the pharaohs, the Roman armies marched on Emmer, and the grain's adoration surrounded Roman marriage rituals.

It's fitting that Italy was the first place of Emmer resurgence after its industrialization-induced hiatus. Emmer is the direct progenitor of durum wheats and therefore eminently suited for pasta, polenta, pizza crust, and other Mediterranean dishes.

In Germany the partridge occasioned the return of Emmer. To save shrinking bird populations, a government program offered to pay farmers for wildlife hectares, stipulating organic practices. When industrial wheats performed poorly without chemicals, the German growers remembered the grain their grandfathers had grown, namely Emmer. The height of the Emmer stand especially helped the partridge. Environmental and natural foods organizations successfully introduced Emmer to chefs, bakers and brewers.

On the American west coast, imported Emmer labelled Farro found a good market. At Lentz Spelt Farms we thought it'd be worth raising local Emmer. Adapted to Columbia Plateau growing conditions, our Emmer has proven itself, it's a favorite ancient grain among Northwest natural foods.

A primitive relative of wheat.  Emmer contains emmer gluten.

A natural grain, non-GMO.

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