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Old 09-10-2008, 08:47 PM
sarah h's Avatar
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Default Red Fife Wheat

While Caputo sounds like the queen of pizza flours, I've been reading lately about a growing trend toward flour from various heritage wheat varieties in the artisanal bread-baking community and others seeking to preserve genetic diversity in foods.

One that's caught my eye is Red Fife wheat flour, Canada's oldest wheat and the genetic parent to most wheat now grown in North America. It's supposed to be excellent for bread, with a wonderful flavour, and is particularly prized by sourdough bakers.

It originated in 1842 in Peterborough, Ontario, not far from where Canuck Jim is located.

"It is a landrace, meaning there is a genetic variability in the wheat, which allows it to adapt to a diversity of growing conditions. It can be hard or soft, white or red and be planted in winter or spring. Its adaptability and final characteristics are directly related to the genetics and the way it interacts with the environment."

Getting hold of some to try in some breads appeals to me on a number of different levels (as does using heirloom tomatoes for pizzas).

Has anyone else tried any heritage flours?
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

The 100-mile diet, locavore eating, slow food movement - it all seems to be part of a trend toward "roots" eating (no pun intended). The New York Times noted this in yesterday's Dining section: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/di...ng&oref=slogin
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

Great article!

It just reinforces my impression that the loss in food diversity in the last hundred years or so has been ep(idem)ic, and much to our detriment, though we generally aren't even aware of how much we have lost ... just in taste alone!

I only wish my thumb was greener and I had more time (not to mention a longer growing season!) so I could focus on growing forgotten heirloom varieties of all sorts of vegetables and fruits. I've been intrigued for some time by the notion of a back yard where every living thing in it would be edible, medicinal or otherwise useful in some manner. Retirement project, perhaps.

That idea in the article though, of a front lawn replaced by wheat - it's kind of got me thinking ... would that be just one mowing a year, at harvest time ?
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:49 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

I love this kind of thing! I've been trying to get our lawn to be a wild flower refuge for butterflies etc, but the neighbours keep complaining about the "weeds"...

The local shops have a food line with forgotten species of friut and veg. Do any of you have those blue potatoes? They're yummy!!

Sarah, can you get hold of some of that Red Fife Wheat? I'd say go for it! And then tell us all about it.
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:55 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

I love this kind of thing! I've been trying to get our lawn to be a wild flower refuge for butterflies etc, but the neighbours keep complaining about the "weeds"...

The local shops have a food line with forgotten species of friut and veg. Do any of you have those blue potatoes? They're yummy!!

Sarah, can you get hold of some of that Red Fife Wheat? I'd say go for it! And then tell us all about it.
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Old 09-14-2008, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

It's probably easier to get the seeds than to get the milled flour but I don't think sowing or milling are something I want to take on at this point! I'll be looking for some flour though and let you know if I'm successful.
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

PHP Code:
Do any of you have those blue potatoesTheyre yummy!! 
I forgot to say yes, we can get them - organic ones - and I agree, they're delicious - but why does everything organic (nice bonus, but not a must-have for me) or different (more likely to be on the must-have list ) have to be soooo expensive???!!!

I guess I really need a veggie patch ... but I'd need to cut down a few trees to have enough sun ... but then I'd have more wood for the oven ... but then ... hmmm, time will tell.
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Old 09-14-2008, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

I wouldn't like to trade my veggie beds for anything. Not even shade in the backyard... nothing compares to my own veggies, picked right before dinner. But then, I seem to be a frustrated farmer. I also want to have fruit trees, berries, and bees, but I think I'll have to wait for some more room for those! Only so much fits on a city lot, unfortunately.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

It nice here, because Swiss farmers (and consumers) are really into organic, rare species food, so the prices aren't all that much higher than for regular products. I mean they're higher, obviously, but not prohibitivly so. (One good reason for Switzerland not to joint the EU there... might well be the only one, but still.)

I tried growing blue potatoes a couple of years back and guess what? They need far more care than regular ones, and the yield is a lot lower.

Milling your own flour... there's a good idea. Who would have thought that building an oven could cause so much extra work!?
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Red Fife Wheat

This was in the paper this morning, I thought you might be interested, Sarah. It speaks to the larger needs we have for sustainability.

Sustainable farming vision takes root at Catawba Farm - Roanoke.com

I hope they make it work! We need successful models to follow and support!
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