Where wheat comes from is important to me. I have based my business around the specific wheat varietals grown in Washington and milled by Bluebird Grain Farms and Cairnspring Mills. These varieties are: Emmer, Einkorn, Sequoia, Edison, Yecora Rojo and Expresso. A variety not grown in our region is Turkey Red.
Here in the United States, the heirloom wheat Turkey Red is widely grown in the Great Plains region. This hard red winter wheat has been feeding people in the U.S. since immigrants from the Crimea brought it to Kansas in the late 1870s. The grains carefully chosen for the long journey did well in their new home and “established Kansas as a wheat-growing region.” (Kansas Historical Society) This grain was some of the first I heard about in conversations regarding heirloom wheat. I received some berries when I purchased my Mockmill countertop flour mill, but since I had other whole grains to grind, I’ve left this one till now.
To date, Ukraine and Russia are responsible for one-quarter of the world’s grain production. Trade of this wheat has all but stopped with the invasion of Russia into Ukraine. This breadbasket to the world is, for all intents and purposes, empty. The wheat planted last fall is being destroyed by troops. We will see what this crisis does to food availability around the world, but, in the immediate now, civilians in Ukraine are leaving in droves, trying to get their families to safety. Many relief organizations are on the ground providing food and shelter for these war-torn folks. In honor of the Turkey Red from Ukraine, I want to also help.
For the Month of March, at least, I’ll be selling just-milled Turkey Red shortbread hearts with 100% of sales going to World Central Kitchen, an organization of chefs providing meals to those fleeing Ukraine as well as for those who remain in country. In doing so, I am able to introduce you to this unique wheat varietal and provide some meals for a ravaged people. These are available in the Square Store and also for onsite sales at my 21 Acres popup booth. I hope you can join me in sending a bit of relief to Ukraine.