Thursday, March 10, 2011

Growing wheat for bread

At the Organic Grower's School in Asheville last weekend, a speaker suggested that we could grow enough wheat to bake a loaf of bread each week on a 30 ft. X 10 ft. plot.

Hmm, that's 300 sq. ft. -- a nice sized space, and larger than I'd devote to grains in my vegetable gardens, but it still didn't seem possible to me, but what do I know about wheat growing?  Not much, to be sure. 

But, poking around, I found information on breadinfo.com about how a 10 X 10 ft. plot would yield enough wheat to yield between 10-25 loaves of bread, so maybe the speaker wasn't so far off.

But, of course, the grain needs to be threshed (freed of chaff) and then ground, before one makes it into bread.  So it's not a simple process or particularly easy.

It was an interesting revelation.  My gardening companion and I probably eat a loaf and a half of bread a week, more or less, although now I'll think I'll need to keep track, depending on how much extra from dinner goes into lunches the next day.

3 comments:

  1. How interesting Lisa!
    I have been a bread maker since the national bakers' strike in 1978 and have often wondered whether it would be possible to grow ones own wheat.
    Even though we have a windmill in town, I think it could prove really challenging growing and threshing. And would also need more than the space you say if it was part of an organic rotation.
    But thought provoking too.
    Rob

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  2. Fortunately for me, there are local farmers now growing grain and even a grain CSA www.localgrain.org The Wheatberry Farm and BAkery are operated by an energetic, community oriented young couple.

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  3. Rob,
    I bake all of our own bread, too, so this is interesting to me, too. The threshing certainly would be time-consuming, not to mention the grinding into flour.

    In North Carolina, there's a project to encouraging growing organic wheat for local bakers, which underscores how decentralized our wheat-growing has become in the US.

    And, lucky for Commonweeder, that you're in a local-food oriented market. Enjoy!

    Lisa

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