It is time!
The wheat has ripened in Southwestern Ontario and farmers are beginning the harvest. The first harvest of wheat in 2021 would have been planted in the fall of 2020. Wheat planted in the fall is called winter wheat. They sprout after being planted and then they overwinter in the field under the snow. Winter wheat is often the very first crop to sprout in the springtime. Organic farmers like to plant winter wheat because they can outcompete weeds in the spring. Weed control is especially challenging for Organic farmers. They don’t have as many “tools in their toolbox” to combat weed pressure. Winter wheat does tend to have lower protein so they tend not to be as desirable for our bread bakers and is the dominant grain in our cake and pastry flours.
Spring wheat tends to ripen a couple of weeks after winter wheat. They are planted in the spring and have to compete against weeds when sprouting. Spring wheat typically has a higher protein level. This is what we are looking for in a great bread flour!
Some rye cereals have also ripened and are ready to be harvested. Rye can be planted in the spring or the fall. Organic farmers also like to plant rye as they are very competitive and they are great for weed control to new organic fields. Rye can also be planted as a cover crop which will not yield any grain, however will inject nutrients and carbon into the soil. Something never to be overlooked is healthy soil. Healthy soil grows flavourful grains!