Saving Ancient Wheats
Several varieties of heritage wheat are being grown at the University of Massachusetts Amherst experimental farm in Deerfield. In efforts to prevent the extinction of some of the most delicious and nutritious grain varieties inherited from the ancient world, UMass students and educators hope to reintroduce these varieties to local bakers and markets.
Eli Rogosa of Northeast Organic Wheat and one of the educators at the UMass Amherst Farm says:“Heritage wheat is not that different than an heirloom tomato; it’s old, it’s got extensive root system, it does great in organic farms, and it’s delicious. It’s not bred for yield, it’s selected by traditional peoples for flavor and health.”
Eli continues to discuss that the heritage wheat grown at UMass Amherest has shown to be producing greater yields and more disease resistant than commercial varieties. Plants are selected according to the depth of their root systems (i.e. their ability to absorb nutrients and minerals) and their ability to thrive in local climates.